What do new drivers find most scary?

Find out what the new drivers we surveyed said they are least confident about, and what you can do if you have the same fears!


By Marmalade Author

Updated on May 18th, 2021

We asked 1725 newly qualified drivers, what aspects of their driving do they feel least confident about. The areas we’ve covered below are aimed not only to reassure you that your nerves as a new driver are totally natural (and will soon lessen) but also what you can do to help improve aspects of your driving which scare you the most!

Basic car maintenance

Broken down car
If basic car maintenance is something that you’re not confident about, don’t worry, you’re not alone! 34% of the drivers we asked were either not very, or not at all confident in basic car maintenance.

You can easily keep on top of a number of common issues by following a few simple checks such as checking your oil levels or tyre tread. We have a number of blogs on car maintenance and a list of the top 10 regular car checks you should do!

Driving on motorways

Cars on motorway
Although learner drivers can have lessons on motorways as long as they are with an instructor who has a dual control car, a lot of drivers live too far away from motorways and might not have to drive on them until they have passed their test. It’s partially because of this that out of the 1725 new drivers we asked, 420 of them said they were either not very or not at all confident in driving on them.

If you aren’t confident about driving on the motorway, find someone who is, such as a family member or friend, and ask them to come with you on a practice journey. If you are unable to do this, just remember, they aren’t that different from dual carriageways. The speed limit isn’t higher, and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to use more than the first two lanes. While you build your confidence, most motorways will run alongside smaller roads, which although may be slow, if you feel safer that is what is important.

Driving in poor weather

Car driving in the rain
Even in the summer, it’s impossible to predict the British weather and driving in poor conditions is something that you need to be prepared for. A lot of young drivers are unprepared for this as when you are learning and 21 % of the newly qualified drivers we asked were either not very, or not at all confident in driving in bad weather.

We have written a blog on how to drive in heavy wind and rain but here are the main things to remember. The speed limit is just that, a limit, it is not the suggested speed, and if the conditions are bad, drive slower. Turning your lights on will help other drivers see you through the rain and the spray from the road. On windy days, be careful of high sided vehicles as strong gusts of wind will affect them more and they may have difficulty staying in their lane.

Pulling out onto busy junctions

Give way sign
Once you’ve passed, the idea of facing busy junctions alone can be daunting. One-fifth of the new drivers we surveyed weren’t confident about it either. But, there is nothing to be nervous about it will soon start to come naturally!

When approaching junctions, unless there is a stop sign, you don’t need to stop. Approach at a cautious speed that gives you space to stop if needed. This will help you join the junction with a rolling start to help prevent stalling and make is easier to get up to speed on the new road. You can read our blogs on safely approaching junctions, how to deal with roundabouts and how to join dual carriageways for more tips!


Car trying to park
329 of the 1725 new drivers we surveyed said they are not very or not at all confident in their ability to park. Some people can drive for years and struggle with parking, and some drivers can get a grip on it on day one. If you’re still not confident with parking, don’t worry, here are some quick tips.

Find a style that works for you. If you can forward bay park, don’t try and reverse, stick to what works for you.

If you don’t think the space is big enough, don’t try and park in it. Walking a bit further to the shop is better than a broken wing mirror.

Practice, practice and practice some more. If you aren’t confident in your parking abilities, find an empty car park on an evening or a weekend and practice your parking when there is no one about.

For more tips on parking, read our blogs on forward bay parking, reverse bay parking and parallel parking


Car overtaking
The thought of overtaking is something that a lot of drivers feel uncomfortable about, so as a new driver it is expected that you won’t have much confidence in it. In fact, one-fifth of the ew drivers we asked said they are not very or not at all confident in having to do it! But that’s okay, as it isn’t something that you have to do a lot, and it won’t happen on most journeys. But if you do need to overtake, here are a few things you should know, which will help boost your confidence in the manoeuvre.

If you are overtaking a slow-moving vehicle such as a tractor, be careful, as it can sometimes be difficult to see past the vehicle. As these sorts of vehicles move slowly, the overtake shouldn’t take long, so you don’t have to spend much time on the other side of the road. You always need to make sure that there is more than enough space for you to overtake, and think, if you were a vehicle coming towards you, how would you feel if a car moved out? When moving back in, a good rule to follow is that when you can see the vehicle in your rearview mirror, you have moved far enough past it to pull back across. When overtaking cyclists, always make sure to leave extra space.

Get set for the open road!

No fuss black box insurance helps young drivers stay safe and build confidence on the roads
Join thousands of young drivers enjoying comprehensive cover with no curfews or night-time driving restrictions

Parent advice

Advice and guides for parents helping their learner driver on their driving journey.

black box myth busters

Black Box Mythbusters

There’s a lot of misconceptions around driving with a black box – we’ve got the facts on what’s true and false!

friends happy on phones

Visit the Driver Hub

Check out the latest stories and blogs from young drivers

ICS member logo
Customer Service Excellence Awards
BIBA scheme provider logo
First car award 2019 winner logo