What do learner drivers fear the most?

In a recent survey, 1675 learners shared what they were least confident about behind the wheel.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Jul 29th, 2021

Whether you have passed your test or partaking in driving lessons, driving fears can get to the best of us. Our latest research has shown that the most common fears when driving include driving on motorways (66%), overtaking (52%), pulling out at busy junctions (47%), and parking (46%). But do not worry, because we have found the best ways of overcoming your fear of driving through all these tough situations… even the Parallel Park!

Driving on motorways


Although learner drivers, in a dual control car, have been able to drive on motorways since June 2018. Our survey revealed 66% of learner drivers listed motorways as one of their biggest driving fears.

If you are feeling particularly nervous about driving on the motorway, ask your driving instructor if you can practice during a lesson. Remember, you are not permitted to learn how to drive on UK motorways without a dual controlled car. Even if you have to book a double lesson, the skills you will learn would help to build your confidence in a safe environment with a professional. Throughout your driving lifetime, there will be occasions where you must drive on the motorway, here are Marmalade’s top tips:

The speed limit is the same as dual carriageways. Chances are, if you’re comfortable driving on the dual carriageway, you’ll be absolutely fine on the motorway too!

You do not have to use more than the first lane, however, you may need to use the second one to overtake slower moving vehicles.

Most motorways run alongside smaller roads, which may be slower but should help you to feel safer whilst you build your confidence.



Overtaking cars

Over half of the respondents in our survey highlighted having anxiety surrounding overtaking other road users. If you are worried about overtaking other road users, speak through your concerns to your driving instructor, they will more than likely have some great tips and tricks up their sleeve. Alternatively, you could purchase cover on a parents’ car through Marmalade and squeeze in some extra practice in between lessons.

Here are some top tips for when you need to move from the left-hand lane to the right-hand lane.

Only attempt to overtake when it is safe and legal - if you have full visibility of the road ahead and there are not any ‘no overtaking’ signs, hazards such as pedestrians and bends or dips in the road, it should be safe and legal to overtake.

When you cannot overtake - if someone else behind is trying to overtake, you are approaching potential hazards or driving in poor weather conditions, stay back from the car in front and do not attempt to overtake.

Overtaking horse riders - lower your speed as soon as you spot them and keep a good distance from the horse and rider. Turn your volume down, do not sound your horn and keep your revs low to avoid spooking the horse.

Overtaking cyclists - make sure you reduce your speed when gaining on the cyclist, when it is safe to overtake, leave a large space to reduce the chance of colliding with the cyclist.


Busy junctions

Busy junction

Over half (52%) of learner drivers in our survey responded that pulling out of busy junctions was one of their biggest anxieties. Busy junctions can be scary for many people; however, your instructor will be able to talk you through the process beforehand as well as during and after. Private practice in a parents’ car will also help to build your confidence, try practicing after rushhour using the quieter junctions until you are ready for the slightly busier ones. Try to mix up your routes too - once you have passed, you will be driving in all directions so you will need plenty of experience! Between your lessons, why not have a read of our super helpful guides on safely approaching junctions and joining dual carriageways!




Parallel, forward bay and reverse bay - there is a lot to remember when it comes to parking! Over 770 learners in our May 2021 survey said they were not confident with their parking ability. This is a key skill within the driving test so you will need to make sure you are confident with all parking manoeuvres.

Practice makes perfect - so your instructor will allow plenty of time within your lessons to focus on perfecting those parking skills. If you’re still feeling unsure, try booking in some more lessons to focus on the parts you’re struggling with. If you’d like to get some private practice ! Between lessons, you may want to check out our helpful videos on the 4 parking manoeuvres.


Driving in poor weather

Cold weather snow car

The British weather is impossible to predict and driving in poor conditions is something you need to be prepared for - even in the middle of summer! A lot of young drivers do not get to experience every single weather condition during lessons, so it is understandable that 46% of respondents stated that they were not confident when it comes to driving in poor weather.

If you’re feeling uneasy about getting behind the wheel when the weather isn’t as nice as it should be, here’s some tips to help…

Learn how to avoid the dangers of black ice in our top 10 tips for driving in winter

Read the pros/cons for top 10 tips for driving in winter driving in all seasons

Do some extra reading on how to prepare for winter lessons

Read our blog on driving in heavy wind and rain


Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance

Knowing how to care for your car is just as important as knowing how to drive it - 743 out of 1,675 (45%) respondents told us that they are not confident when it comes to giving their car the TLC it needs! During your test, the examiner may ask you to talk them through or show them some basic car maintenance.

As you may be learning in someone else’s car, before your test, make sure you have been shown where everything is and how to perform basic car maintenance. On the day of your test, spend some time familiarising yourself with the car and what’s underneath the bonnet. If you’re reading this before your test and you are nervous about this topic, why not check out our blog post on car maintenance?


Driving at night

Driving at night

Similarly, to driving in all weather conditions, driving at different times of the day is not something that learners often get to experience - especially if you have set lesson times or practice during the summer months. If you are anxious about driving at night, you are not alone - 43% of learner drivers in our survey reported feeling this. As you may not have had much driving practice in the dark, make sure you speak to your driving instructor to address your concerns and book some later lessons in!



Reversing a car

Which way should I steer, do I turn left, or do I turn right? Does that sound like a familiar line that you ask your instructor when reversing? If so, you are not alone - 43% of respondents said they were not confident when reversing. Here are 3 pieces of advice to help you wrap your headaround reversing:

Get to know where your reverse gear is - it might seem obvious but if you have recently passed your test and bought a new car, figure out where it is before you set off - it’s in a different place on a lot of cars

Which way to steer - a lot of people struggle with knowing which way to steer when reversing. It is easy to get confused, however, just think about which direction you would like the rear of the car to go and steer towards it

Practice, practice, and more practice… - the more you reverse, the more accustomed you will become to performing the manoeuvre and, eventually, it will feel like second nature! Ask your instructor to spend some time with you working on these skills throughout your lessons in order to build your confidence




Roundabouts can be daunting for everyone - especially when you are not familiar with them! Even Chloe, our social media marketing executive, admitted to this being her fear when learning to drive. There is a lot to consider when approaching a roundabout, such as: the size, how many lanes there are, whether there are traffic lights and how many exits are situated around the roundabout. No wonder why over 34% of respondents listed roundabouts as a fear!

Marmalade also has some great tips on how to deal with roundabouts which you can find on the driver hub. We have everything from mini roundabouts, choosing the correct lane to enter the roundabout and leaving the roundabout! Our favourite articles include: how to deal with roundabouts and how to tackle roundabouts on your first driving lesson.

Get set for the open road!

Get covered on a parents car and start practicing today - with no risk to their No Claims Discount!
Build your confidence as well as your No Claims Discount with our Learner Driver Insurance policy.

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