posted 5 years ago

Millions of Motorists Unfit To Drive?

Millions of Qualified Drivers Might Not Pass Resit

Seventeen million motorists think they would struggle to pass their driving tests if they had to resit, according to the Automobile Association (AA). As such, twenty-five percent of the poll's respondents in eastern England say that parallel parking is the hardest manoeuvre to perform to standard. This falls to sixteen percent of Londoners where parallel parking is common. Four percent of these city dwellers, in contrast, say that keeping a safe distance is the “hardest thing”. Perhaps there are too many aggressive people in the capital. Furthermore, reversing around corners concerns nine percent of drivers in Scotland and the west Midlands, but only five percent in Wales. Also twelve percent of youngsters - specifically those aged eighteen to twenty-four – say they would struggle to use their mirrors correctly. This figure falls to one per-cent of over sixty-fives.

AA Responds To Its Survey

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “It is alarming that so many drivers think there is at least one aspect of driving that they would struggle to do to the standard required to pass a driving test. Being able to manoeuvre correctly, making proper observations and keeping a safe distance and speed are all very important parts of driving safely”. Mr King added: “Driving is a skill for life and - although it is easy to let bad habits form after your test - drivers should make sure their skills are kept polished.”

Thousands of Motorists Not Sure Of Speed Limits

The AA has also reported that two-hundred and fifty thousand (eight percent) of motorists struggle with national speed limits. As such, only ninety-five percent of eighteen to twenty-four year old drivers know that the speed limit for cars on motorways is seventy miles per-hour. This falls to eighty-nine percent of those aged sixty-five plus. Furthermore, only seventy-four percent of youngsters correctly said that the speed limit is seventy on dual carriageways and sixty on single carriageways. For older drivers these figures fell to sixty-four and fifty-nine percent respectively. Worrying.

Director of the AA Charitable Trust Comments

Edmund King said: “It is astonishing that two-hundred and fifty thousand qualified drivers don’t seem to know the motorway speed limit is seventy miles per-hour. Some confusion about the motorway speed limit for cars could well be down to the previous Transport Secretary floating the idea of raising the limit to eighty. He concluded: “There is no reason why drivers shouldn’t be able to correctly identify the speed limit of dual carriageways and single carriageways."

Motorists With Bad Eyesight Lose Licences Quicker


Ok you win! The third time on the .gov site and the limit is now 70. God knows what happened there.

30 seconds ago that site stated (as before) 60 mph speed limit on dual carriageways. But then again, go for it - and contribute to your local police funds!

to PETER BEESON, the national speed limit on a dual carriage way is 70mph unless otherwise stated see

The stated dual carriageway speed is still wrong! It's 60 not 70! Get it right AA and read your article Mr Turvil. This is a public service comment. Please do not delete (again)!

"Furthermore, only seventy-four percent of youngsters correctly said that the speed limit is seventy on dual carriageways and sixty on single carriageways " Since when! And this is from the AA! Come on people check with the DVLA and the Highway Code - not to mention the police. 60 for dual and single carriageways; 70 for motorways. Wake up at the back there!

I've never understood just how parking a car is anything to do with driving one ... parking is something you need to learn when you have already learned to drive.

A person who drives fast might be considered unfit to drive, but I would sooner trust a driver who knows how to drive safely at speed than one who drives slowly because they are nervous and know that they are unfit to drive.

I have a part time delivery job [midlands]and cover a fair few miles a week,, I dont know whether im lucky or what,,contrary to most comments i dont encounter much bad driving,,sure one will always encounter some,,as in any walk of life ''bad apples and all that''..Cant believe that someone has had a go at the police on here as well,,seems to me any platform will do for these ''cop haters''??

Sadly the example shown by some Police drivers leaves much to be desired. There is one such driver who will obstruct the middle lane on the M20 for mile upon mile at 60 mph. Others share an ability to drive on no lights or just parking (side) lights. There many other drivers who do not show that they have the mental attitude required to safely drive a ton of killing machine. Most "accidents" are caused by tailgating or playing with the toys (phones and SatNavs)in the car. LOOK OUT OF THE WINDSCREEN. It works wonders. One word sums up all the failings: "INCOMPETENCE" Enough said for now!

If you have any concerns about your driving, I can recommend a chat to your local Institute of Advanced Motoring branch. They are a charity and are very willing to do an assesment of your driving and for a fee advise on errors, corrections and if required prepare you for the advanced driving test, which can lead to lower insurance premiums- a win / win situation!

Six years agoI took a young lad out on a trail, when I asked why he never bothered to signal, he answered you don't need too when there is it doesn't effect other traffic, two years later he was killed by a car that didn't know he was turning !!

I was brought up and learned to drive in South-West London in the late 50's and have since driven over a million miles mainly in the SE of the UK and I have lived in Cyprus. Driving standards in the UK are worse than I can ever remember - I think it is because of the volume of traffic and the fewer Police in the UK. Lack of indicators, reversing out of private drives onto main roads, driving whilst on a mobile phone, sloppy parking and general bad manners are some of the basic problems - much of which is ATTITUDE! I think that the driving test should have to be re-taken after every driving offence and for us oldies every 3 years! Like Theresa Tanner, I too was an advance motorist, which should be a compulsory thing! I live in the West Midlands now and I am sure that we have have the worst drivers in the UK!

I fail to understand why any driver is unsure of the speed limit on any given road. I have been driving, accident free, since I was 18, that's 53 years. In that time speed limits have changed considerably. I also was an advanced driver, and perhaps I should consider being one again. All skills are apt to rust. There are lots of bad habits out there, not indicating (I live in Lincolnshire and am convinced that 75% of vehicles have no indicators), pulling out into another lane without paying proper attention. Don't even get me started on drivers who refer to the "fast lane" on the motorway. Drivers should be taught to observe all around them and I think it would be a great idea to have a section of the driving test explaining to the examiner why you are making a certain manouvre. We all need to be taught self awareness. Be honest with yourself, if you think your driving skills are slipping, arrange a driving Lesson and ask the instructor to be brutally honest. After all, a car is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands!

I fully agree with Keith Burns; nice to have a properly reasoned and thoughtful comment. Earlier comment is rather unfair on the older driver. Yes, some are perhaps overly cautious but that's adapting to their own circumstances. Most are excellent motorists, often less likely to drive carelessly or aggressively than many of those younger. Driving in Europe's way better than in UK? Depends where you are. I drive a lot over there and come across many discourteous and careless drivers too so generally I reckon similar standards. Though in Germany, maybe because they are used to high speeds and the authorities , unlike ours, aren't obsessed with pointlessly low limits and using all possible means to frustrate, extract money from, and confuse road users with over-signing I think the standards there are generally better. However, they still have their fair share of impatient drivers who think they own the road and tailgate, much the same as over here. Perhaps it's the German car effect.....

Dom Hart: generally, the problem is not one of age; I think there are as many low standard young drivers (and even worse they think they know it all and are good drivers) as older drivers. & Keith: why wait for 3 accidents then re-test. We want NO accidents. Much is to do with competence and then with attitude. I would agree with commentary driving; a way to help ensure you are constantly aware of situations developing around you. You shouldn't 'react' to events, you should respond in advance.

As you indicate, many drivers are unaware that the speed limit on a de-restricted single carriageway road is sixty miles per hour. Some seem to think it is higher but around here in south Norfolk, many people seem to think it is fifty, or even forty!! Consequently they build up a 'tail' of increasingly frustrated drivers who, in some cases, are tempted to take stupid risks in order to get past. Why don't the Authorities get rid of the 'De-restricted' sign and post the actual speed limit for the stretch of road? Likewise, if mobile speed camera vans are for 'speed enforcement' rather than making money, why does the van not 'wear' a sign showing drivers the speed that they OUGHT to be sticking to along that stretch of road? After all, if the signs have a magnetic backing then they can very easily be changed according to the stretch of road that they are on at any one time!

I recently took a minibus test for my local Authority, and part of the test was to provide a commentary on the drive. Maybe instead of a re-test every 10 years, a single lesson should be mad compulsory with this as part of it. It is surprising how many drivers don't contiously think about what is around them, and react to a situation rather than prepare in case of an incident. Try doing this in your everyday drive - you might be surprised at how much more relaxing the drive actually is, not to mention more efficent.

I think a lot of the problem is older drivers who dont know the rules of the road at all! there in the wrong lanes, dont know the speed limit ... when you get to a certain age I think there should be a retest license to remove all the bad driver. driving in europe is way better then the uk ... better tests in certain places as well as driving awareness

Most of the confusion I see on dual carraigeways is not from people exceeding the 70mph limit but from people who think the limit is only 60mph... so perhaps the confusion should not be attacked! But, we should raise the limits for trucks on limited access roads so that they are not targets for abuse!

The driving examiners are far too busy to keep up with learner drivers. If they had to retest every 10 years, they would be totally swamped. Why not a compulsory retest after 3 accidents? Or a compulsory lesson with a recognised driving school every 10 years? You would then be given a form with a score out of 20 and everyone who scores below a certain level would have to take further lessons until they reached an agreed 'pass' level. I am an Advanced Driver but feel it is necessary to have a lesson every 5 years to ensure I'm up to 'speed' (no pun intended). I learn something every time. Judging by what I see around me, people seem blissfully unaware they should indicate left on leaving a roundabout, should give way to buses indicating right at bus stops, or how to use rear fog lights (poor visibility use only and switch them off when cars are clearly visible behind you. And don't start me on middle lane hoggers on motorways.

I think everyone should have to re set their driving test every 10 years so that bad driving habits can be eliminated!