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Motorway nerves affecting young drivers

Young drivers more likely to avoid motorways than older drivers

Young drivers and their friends are the most likely to avoid our fastest roads due to nerves, according to new AA Driving School research

27 December 2017

More than a third (41 per cent) of drivers aged 18-to-24 said they had friends who were so nervous of motorways they avoid using them, compared to a quarter (24 per cent) of over-65’s.

And seven per cent of 18-24-year-old drivers said they were too nervous to use motorways themselves, compared to four per cent of over-65’s.

Motorway queue facing camera

Changes being introduced in 2018 will mean for the first time learner drivers will be allowed on motorways under the guidance of a fully-qualified driving instructor, in a dual-controlled car.

Motorways are our safest roads

Edmund King, AA President, said: “It is ironic that motorways are in fact our safest roads and yet they cause many motorists anxiety.

“We're pleased learner drivers will soon be allowed on motorways and hope this will help combat the nerves many face on these roads once they have passed their test.

Having the confidence to drive competently on all our roads will ensure new drivers can make the most of their new found freedom
Edmund King, president of the AA

“Passing your driving test is a rite of passage that brings independence. Having the confidence to drive competently on all our roads will ensure new drivers can make the most of their new found freedom.”

When will learners be allowed on a motorway?

The decision about when a learner is ready for a motorway lesson will be made by their instructor and ‘L’ plates will have to be displayed at all times at front and rear. Instructors can choose to not to display ‘L’ plates, but only if they have an ‘L’ roofbox on top of their car.

It's the final part of a series of changes to learning to drive that have been consulted on by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency.

Four other changes to the driving test were brought in on Monday, December 4th:

  • independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
  • 4 out of 5 candidates will follow directions from a sat nav
  • reversing manoeuvres will change
  • answering a vehicle safety question whilst driving

The AA Driving School has produced a series of new educational videos to show drivers how to successfully tackle the new manoeuvres:


* Populus received 18, 393 responses from AA members to its online poll between 12th and 19th September 2017. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.