Almost half of the drivers aged under 25 (44 percent) think learning to drive is such an important skill, it should be added to the school curriculum. With the number of youngsters choosing to learn to drive in steep decline, falling by 20 percent in a decade*, a new study from Young Driver asked 1,000 motorists how important driving was to their lives.
According to the research of pre-17 driving lessons, 39 percent of under 25s think that not driving closes avenues of opportunity for you. Young Driver’s research also found that one in five motorists (19 percent) would be unable to do their job if they didn’t have a driving license – the equivalent of 6.25 million people**.
But the study also revealed another important benefit resulting from being able to drive – a boost in confidence and self-esteem. Forty-four percent of drivers aged under 25 felt that driving gave them self-confidence they wouldn’t otherwise have, with 53 percent saying passing their test gave them a ‘huge’ confidence boost. That was felt to be important for teens against the backdrop of the one in four parents (25 percent) who worry about how difficult it is in the modern day for youngsters to feel self-confident. Just less than half (44 percent) thought social media negatively affected teens’ self-confidence, whilst one in three (32 percent) thought celebrity culture was to blame.
Laura White is a marketing manager at Young Driver, a scheme which has delivered more than 600,000 driving lessons to 10-17-year-olds across the UK. She said: “Driving is a useful skill, which can open up a world of opportunities which might otherwise be impossible. But even beyond that, it also has the ability to give people a sense of freedom and confidence. Sixty-five percent of the drivers we questioned said they enjoyed the feeling of freedom driving gave them, and our research also showed it gave people self-confidence they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“At Young Driver, we see it all the time – we’re teaching those who are not legally able to be on the road yet, sometimes as young as 10, but they get a massive boost when they know they’re controlling a car safely and can tackle a manoeuvre that even parents might struggle with. As our research shows, it can be hard for young people to get that self-confidence in the modern world, but this is something they can feel a real, genuine sense of achievement at. If they’re learning before 17, there’s no pressures to pass their test or get on the road asap – they can do it to have fun and to improve for their own sense of success.”
Young Driver lessons for 10-17-year-olds take place on specially created road systems at private venues, with traffic lights, junctions, and roundabouts to negotiate. Tuition is given by highly qualified approved driving instructors in dual controlled Vauxhall Corsas. Research shows that those who have lessons before they’re 17 are half as likely to have an accident when they go on to pass their test.