Many learner drivers face abuse on the roads. From swearing, tailgating, abusive hand gestures – you name it, and learner drivers are subject to it. We want to shed light on this topic and challenge for more to be done to help learners gain the experience and skill needed to pass their driving tests. One young driver who has decided to stay anonymous is sharing her story with us – discussing how it really feels to be on the receiving end of this kind of abuse.
I’m 17 years old and have been a learner driver for just over two months. I’ve witnessed first-hand the abuse that learners face from other road users, and I wanted to share my story to shed some light on the issue. Since being on the roads I have experienced many impatient and angry drivers who all have had something negative to say about the way I am driving. For example, I have been in a car park waiting for a space to become free when a man pulled up next to me to tell me I shouldn’t be on the roads and I do not know what I am doing. I cannot count the number of times people have pressured me into entering a roundabout by beeping, without me feeling confident to do so.
It's affecting my confidence
This really does have a massive impact on my driving – why wouldn’t it! During my private practice with Provisional Driver Insurance, we make sure the L plates are completely visible from all angles as you have to, so it’s completely frustrating when people don’t give me a bit of breathing space. I have had many occasions where I’ve had to ask my mum to drive home as I didn’t feel comfortable driving anymore further on that journey. The extra pressure can sometimes make me really on edge and anxious about just the thought of getting in the car, let alone when I’m practising.
Onwards and upwards
With this being said I am still doing regular lessons with my driving instructor. We go out at all different times of the day (including rush hour) so I can gain as much skill and confidence as possible. I need to try and ignore the people who try to bully me on the road as much as possible.
The crucial bit of advice I would give to other learner drivers who are having these issues is to not let the other users get the better of you! I have wasted so many opportunities to go out because of people being impatient, rude and aggressive, and it just isn’t fair. If you know that you are driving safely and the way you have been taught, you have every right to be on the road and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
What I would say to the people that are causing these issues is to PLEASE be patient. We all must start out somewhere and one comment you make that you will forget will stick with learner drivers for a long time. We are just trying to make the most of our driving experiences and wish people would just be more kind! The main reason I started my leaner insurance was to gain confidence and this hasn’t been the case for me but hopefully, by telling my story people will become more aware of how big of an impact beeping or shouting can be on a learner.
If you want to be a part of stopping the abuse learner drivers face on the roads, sign our petition today!