The ‘L’ plates have been ripped away and the open road is yours for the taking.
As you breathe in the new-ish car smell of your very first banger, you vow you’ll keep it dent-free and gleaming forevermore.
And so you navigate your new found freedom with caution, keeping a steady eye on speed cameras and parking with brain surgeon levels of precision.
However, like all the most admirable intentions in life, this roadworthy attitude simply does not last the journey…
Research has found it takes just ten weeks for a new motorist to become a bad driver, with the average road user allowing bad habits to develop in just under three months.
These worrying findings stem from a study of 2,000 car owners, where one in 10 participants admitted to forgetting what they’d learned just two weeks or less after passing the all important driving test.
David Carter from Accident Advice Helpline said:
For many of us, that testing day could have come years or even decades ago – plenty of time for bad habits to creep in.
Our study found lots of drivers are happy to admit to bad practices when behind the wheel, most of which are harmless.
But it’s important to stay vigilant with observation and safety, as letting your guard down for too long could result in an accident.
Check out some of the most savage road rage incidents ever captured on film below:
Apparently, the earliest cracks to appear include failing to grip the steering wheel in the correct ’10 to 2′ position, as well as neglecting to check mirrors during manoeuvres.
There also appears to be a bit of a gender divide on the issue, with 40 per cent of women feeling they’ve picked up bad habits since passing their test, compared with 32 per cent of men.
Female participants admitted one of their biggest driving flaws was rummaging in their bag for something. For men, this was tailgating and running a red light mere days after passing their test.
Every year Accident Advice Helpline helps thousands of road accident victims deal with the consequences of poor driving, assisting people physically and financially.
Bad driving habits can compromise safety and the research suggests it’s all too easy to let our driving standards slip.
After less than four months of getting their license, drivers will endanger themselves by travelling without a seatbelt on.
Within five months and six days of getting their wheels, the average driver will have run a red light, with illegal and dangerous U-turns becoming second nature after just five months and nine days.
After four months, drivers are more likely to overtake during risky situations, and turn corners without using their indicator. They’re also more likely to park on double yellow lines.
These all-too-common slips in driving etiquette do have real world consequences, leading to one tenth of motorists getting themselves into an accident.
It’s super easy to get complacent when you’ve done the same route a couple of dozen times, but slacking behind the wheel can be harmful to yourself, as well as those around you.
Remember the sense of pride you had on the day you passed your test and try your best to hold onto it. Laziness just isn’t worth risking your hard-earned licence for. Or the safety of you and those around you.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.