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Basically the best advice that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) can offer is to “Pump down the volume, concentrate and drive safely.”

All this is due to new research that has been carried out by the ABI which shows the distractions that young drivers face whilst driving. 55% of young drivers admit to being distracted by passengers, 45% by the scenery and 44% by the radio or other music player. It should be noted that in that research, 24% said that they think it is OK and acceptable to speed at night, and 26% said the same for country roads.

And in the current, and future, bad weather great care needs to be taken by these youngsters.

James Dalton, the ABI’s Head of Motor, said: “Many young drivers who are not yet experienced behind the wheel find it hard to concentrate when driving, let alone during the bad weather we are experiencing throughout the UK. At this time of year the driving distractions and dangers come thick and fast: driving in the dark and in difficult weather conditions such as in heavy rain, snow or ice and often with friends or family in car. That is why the ABI is urging young drivers to be alert and stay safe especially when driving with friends at night. The ABI is leading the campaign for Safe Young Drivers to bring down accident rates on the roads.”

And it should be remembered as well that a lot of new and young drivers will never have driven in snow and ice before so need reminding that it is extremely important to slow down on cornering, especially when going from a main road to a side road, and also to slow down on approach to a junction way before getting to it, checking the brakes before it is too late.

But here are the tips that the ABI suggest for the young ‘uns. Whether or not they’ll listen to parents who tell them this or not is a matter of conjecture.

  • When going out driving, if possible try to plan a route that avoids dark, winding country roads, as these roads offer a higher chance of an accident. As the research showed, nearly a quarter of young drivers think it is acceptable to speed along these roads, even though “young drivers driving on rural roads are 37% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to young drivers driving in urban areas.”
  • Think about whether or not you need to have friends in the car. Over half of drivers find it distracting and there is also the peer pressures that they can impart. But these distractions are magnified when travelling on dark and unfamiliar roads. Think about other options such as taxis or dad-cabs
  • Turn the music off; especially if you have passengers, are driving at night or in bad weather. You need to concentrate and music can distract you.
  • Never drink and drive. Most breath test failures after accidents involve under-25 drivers.
  • Don’t use a mobile phone to call, text, or use apps, and never ever answer it whilst driving. It is illegal and can cause an accident.

According to figures produced by The Campaign for Safe Young Drivers, the single biggest cause of accidental death of young people aged 15-24 is death in a car crash, so the Campaign wants some radical changes to the driving test to make the roads safer, not just for the under-25s but for everyone else too. These include a minimum one year learning period, limiting the number of passengers allowed in a car with them, a curfew on night time driving and zero tolerance on alcohol.

A good friend of mine aged 19 managed to smash up the front of his mum’s Kia yesterday when he took a corner too fast (but legally) into a snowy side road, lost control of the car and slid into some posts on the side of the road. If only I had written this article earlier and if only he had read it!


Image borrowed from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Younger_Women_g57-Passed_Driving_Test_p81940.html