Have you passed and parked?


Passed and parked

For some, 17 is the age of freedom and independence, as they race to pass their driving test and hit the open road. For others, not so much. In fact, nearly a million licence holders** in the UK haven’t driven since passing their test, and this can have some interesting consequences when they do finally get back behind the wheel…

As you can see from our video following three London motorists on their first drive in years, driving is a question of confidence. And it needs a lot of practice to maintain the skill as it’s very easy to get out of the habit.

But while so many if you haven’t driven since passing their test, we also found that one in ten of all licence-holders (4.55 million) in Britain haven’t driven in the past year and have become so-called ‘parked’ drivers. This lack of practise can seriously affect your abilities and if you’re looking to get back in the driving seat after a long period away, it could be a good idea to get some professional support before hitting the road.

King of the Road or Road Kill?

What kind of driver are you – King of the Road or Road Kill? Take our quiz to find it if you’re a pro behind the wheel – or if you could do with taking a refresher course!


Why do drivers become parked?

Lack of confidence and financial barriers seem to be the main reasons preventing people from getting back behind the wheel. 37% of ‘parked’ motorists claimed that the “costs of driving are too high”, while a quarter (25%) revealed they “no longer have the confidence to drive”.

A likely factor behind this is that people are starting to drive as early as possible – our research shows that more drivers pass their test at 17 than any other age. However, 21% of young licence holders admitted they hadn’t considered the costs of driving before taking their test. Our latest Young Drivers Report shows just how expensive it can be for 17-24 years to get behind the wheel.

Without the financial means to stay on the road, licence holders get out of the habit of driving and therefore start to lose confidence. It can be a vicious circle.

The gender divide

Despite statistics showing that women are safer behind the wheel, they also tend to be less confident than men. Almost three times as many women (12.5% vs 4.6%) admitted to not feeling confident on the road, while triple the number of female ‘parked’ drivers (22% vs 7%) said they don’t drive because they “fear having an accident.”

This long-term lack of confidence can be a tricky one to fix, with half (50%) of all ‘parked’ drivers admitting that they “wouldn’t feel confident driving again”, while over one in three (36%) stated that they wouldn’t drive again without professional refresher lessons (which may be not bad thing).

Simon McCulloch, our Commercial Director, commented, “It can be extremely hard – and expensive – for ‘parked’ drivers to get back behind the wheel, and as our video shows, it’s a good idea to take it slow and get professional help when you do hit the road again."

** This figure is based on the total number of licence-holders in the UK as provided by the Driving Vehicle Licence Authority and the finding that 2% of all licence-holders haven’t driven since passing their test

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