We’re campaigning to help learner drivers up and down the UK who are the victim of bullying on the road, simply as they are learning to drive. According to a recent survey of over 600 Driving Instructors, Two thirds (66%) of learner drivers have been subjected to abusive hand gestures from fellow road users, whilst half (49%) have experienced verbal abuse. This kind of behaviour can really impact learners. Not only can it massively knock their confidence, but 22% of learners have also been left in tears after the abuse they’ve faced, and 8% have stopped learning to drive altogether.
What’s happening on the roads?
If you’re a learner who has dealt with this kind of abuse, here are our top tips for you. We know it’s difficult, and whilst we do what we can to put a stop to this behaviour, we hope these tips will help you.
Listen to your instructor
They are there not only to teach you how to drive but also to help you gain confidence and to keep you safe. If you feel like you’re losing control of the situation, ask them to step in and take over. There’s no shame in feeling too intimidated to carry on when you’re learning.
Try your best to ignore them
Of course, we’re not recommending you pay zero attention to what is going on around you when you’re behind the wheel, but if you know that another driver is intentionally trying to make your life difficult and bullying you on the road, panicking can lead to mistakes. Try to focus on what you’re doing and what you know – you’re not the one in the wrong.
Get out of the way
If the abuse becomes too much, pull over. Getting out of their way will often help – let them pass, take your time and when you’re ready, carry on. It’s especially best to get out of their way if they’re driving dangerously. It’s not worth risking an accident!
Keep your cool
It’s easy to let dangerous and abusive driving around you start to impact your own driving skills. If you find you’re the victim of road rage, the last thing to do is let it make you angry because this can cause you to drive erratically, which will likely make the situation worse. Try to keep calm, take your time and stick to what you know.
Get up and try again
If you experience road rage aimed at you and your confidence is knocked – try not to dwell on it. It can be very scary, and some learners even decide they don’t want to learn to drive anymore! It’s important to remember that lots of drivers will give you the time and space you deserve when you’re learning. Don’t let the inconsiderate few stop you from getting that magic pass!
*The research for brand was carried out by Marmalade in September 2019 amongst a panel of 610 independent UK driving instructors. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.
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