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Newly Qualified and Teenage Drivers

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 26 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Young Drivers Teenage Drivers Motor

So you've just passed your driving test. You've ripped up the L-plates and you're going out on the road for the first time alone. It's exciting and it's fun but for some it can be terrifying. It's often said that the driving test is the 'easy' part of learning to drive - it's the bit that follows when you're driving on your own for the first time that's harder - navigating car parks and motorways and driving a car that only has controls on your side of the dashboard.

Young drivers are traditionally treated as high-risk drivers and often have to pay higher premiums than older drivers. This is because when statistics are analysed, it has been proven that young drivers are more likely to claim on their insurance - particularly young male drivers, who are typically stereotyped as 'boy-racers' who drive quickly and carelessly to show off to their friends.

It is of course, exactly what it seems to be - a stereotype, but it is one that has enough evidence to mean that as a demographic group, young male drivers will pay more for their insurance policies as they do make more claims than other groups. Worse still, statistically speaking, are male teenagers - they have significantly higher claim frequency and more expensive claims. If you've ever wondered why this demographic has to pay more for their car insurance, it's because the average loss ratio for their insurers is 120% which makes them high-risk and unattractive to insure.

Do Young Drivers have More Accidents?

In July 2005, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) launched a campaign against the rise in teenage death on the roads, and their Director General, Stephen Haddrill, explained the situation:

"Reducing accidents involving young drivers should be the number one road safety priority for Britain. Research carried out by the insurance industry shows that teenage drivers are 10 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured while driving than motorists in their 40s. And, while road deaths and serious accidents are falling on average for the majority, they are going up for young people - by a shocking 12% last year. We need a massive effort from everyone to end this tragedy."

The ABI carried out a survey into motoring costs and the risk of accidents involving younger drivers.

They discovered that accidents involving young drivers had different characteristics from those that involved other drivers. Young, usually male, drivers were found to be more likely to have accidents driving at speed or around bends on weekend nights without any other cars being involved, but while carrying passengers. Young males were found to be more frequently at fault for their accidents than either females or older drivers.

In order to reduce the risk of young drivers being involved in accidents, there are a number of areas that need to be addressed:

Technical Skills:

Young drivers tend to have good vehicle control skills because they have had driving lessons more recently than older drivers; also their reaction times are faster - however it's more likely to be peer pressure or carelessness that causes accidents in this area. Young drivers should not feel pressured or pushed into driving faster than they are comfortable with, and shouldn't carry out dangerous manoeuvres because they are being 'egged' on by their friends.

Road Awareness:

Young drivers do not have the road knowledge or experience that older drivers do. Many accidents involving younger people happen during bad weather, which suggests they are not able to adapt their driving style appropriately to the conditions. Always take your time to 'read the road' properly, and remember that experience can only come with time. If you're unlucky enough to have an accident, it can dent your confidence and set you back months, even years - not to mention increasing your insurance premium.

Road Attitude:

Young drivers are suddenly propelled into a position of empowerment when they pass their test and they are likely to drive for pleasure and thrills until the novelty wears off. When surveyed, young drivers viewed breaking the speed limit as a less important factor in causing road accidents than older drivers did. Don't get cocky - just because you have a licence doesn't mean that it won't be taken away again if you drive like an idiot.

Drive Safely:

As obvious as a pig in a dress, the most effective way for young drivers to reduce their chances of being involved in an accident and bring down their motoring costs, is to drive safely. Insurers can only base their estimates of future risk in part upon your past driving experiences. If you've had an accident free few years, you'll see your no claims bonus start to climb and then you'll start to see a difference. In 4 or more years, it's not unusual to get a 60% reduction on your premium with some companies offering 75% discounts for the 'safest drivers'.

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