Statistics from RoSPA show young drivers aged 17-24 make up only 5% of UK full driving licence holders, but are involved in more than 20% of fatal or serious collisions in which they're the driver. So, what can be done to help young drivers stay safe on the road?
Practice makes perfect
‘Probationary’ P-plates are just like L-plates, except that they display a green letter P instead of a red L. They show other road users that you're new on the road and may take a little longer to negotiate junctions and obstacles. Most people will show more consideration and give more time and space to cars displaying P-plates.
So, if you want to feel safer and less hassled by other, more experienced, road users, it's worth investing in a pair.
One of the biggest challenges for any new driver is motorway driving.
Joining a motorway from the slip road for the first time can be the most daunting bit of all. Make sure you pick up your speed so you're driving as fast as the traffic already on the motorway before you join the main carriageway. Use your indicator light to signal your intentions, and hopefully vehicles already on the road will move over to the outer lanes to give you more room. Don't assume drivers will make room for you.
Once on the motorway, stay in the inside (left hand) lane until you get used to the speed. If you need to overtake, you should return to the inside lane as soon as it is safe to do so. Don’t use the overtaking lanes for normal driving if there is room on the inside lane.
Be aware that it's easy to drive too fast once you get back on to ordinary roads again, until you re-acclimatise to the new lower speeds, so be sure to check your speed in this situation.
If you happen to get up to six or more penalty points on your licence in the first two years after passing the test, for things like speeding or dangerous driving, your licence will be automatically revoked. You’ll then have to reapply for your driving licence as a learner driver and re-sit both your theory and driving tests.