New research from Asda Money suggests there is a need for UK drivers to sit a second driving test once they’ve been driving for a decade or more, with a large majority not understanding basic road signage.
To understand just how well British drivers understand the signage they regularly see on the roads, Asda put them to the test. Staggeringly only 40% of drivers were able to correctly identify the ‘no motor vehicles’ sign and fewer still (16%) understood the road markings that signify a ‘hazard warning’ line. Perhaps most alarming of all was that one of the most common signs seen on the roads of Britain today, the ‘no waiting’ sign, was recognised by just 22% of drivers.
Despite these shocking results, self confidence amongst UK drivers remains very high. The majority (62%) of drivers rank their knowledge of road signs and markings as above average. Even more (74%) are convinced they would pass their practical driving test should they be made to take it again now. While there was slightly less optimism with regards to the potential resitting of a theory test, still over half (58%) backed themselves to deliver the goods.
Despite this disconnect between people’s perceived theory knowledge and the worrying reality, Asda’s research also shows that 54% of UK drivers believe it should be mandatory to retake their theory test. The majority (34%) of drivers called for an obligatory re-test every 10 years in order to refresh their knowledge and keep them up to date with any changes in rules. A smaller proportion (16%) however would like to see it retaken just once, 10 years after they pass first time round.
Although having passed most recently, it was the youngest drivers (18-35 year olds) who displayed the greatest concern on the matter, with a massive 61% arguing the case for further testing. Curiously in stark contrast, almost half (49%) of 55 year olds and over took against the idea, despite the way vehicle technology and infrastructure have evolved since they took their driving tests for the first time. According to the Drivers Instructors Association, there is a need to re-visit road safety rules which have remained fundamentally unchanged over 20 years and has not kept pace with how our roads and driver behaviour has developed over time.
Drivers from the North East had the highest level of confidence in their knowledge of road signs and markings as well as their capability to pass a re-test, yet they actually ranked second lowest when it came to identifying the correct road signs. Yorkshire and Humberside drivers topped the list with an average of 50% accurate road sign identification, whereas Londoners were statistically the poorest with just a 39% success rate at identifying the correct road signs.
Alistair Ball, Head of Insurance at Asda Money says: “Considering the changes in road safety attitudes, vehicles in the UK, transport regulations and roads that have evolved over time, coupled with the length of time many of our regular road users have been allowed to let this knowledge go untested, the case for repeat driving tests is hard to ignore.
“To ensure families are safe and drivers are not a danger to themselves or others while out on the roads, small measures such as re-familiarising themselves with the Official Highway Code is a step in the right direction. This is especially the case for those of us who have been driving several decades.
There is no doubt a sound knowledge of road safety will save drivers a great deal of time and money as well. Simple checks on oil levels and tyre pressure are often forgotten, so a quick refresher is in everyone’s best interest to avoid the inconvenience of breakdowns. It is also important to have appropriate cover to ensure you are not stranded should the worst happen.”
Asda offers three levels of breakdown cover starting from £27 a year. Customers can choose which product best suits their needs, for the lowest possible price. Asda Money’s comprehensive UK Breakdown cover (which includes vans, motorbikes and motorhomes and vehicles towing a caravan or trailer) incurs no call out charges, offers roadside assistance, national recovery and onward travel options and is available for a fixed price of just £75.
For more information visit https://money.asda.com/ or call 0800 202 81524.