Wales

Three in four drivers 'would fail,' survey finds

Image copyright PA
Image caption The survey found experienced drivers made an average of three serious faults in a new driving test

A a new survey claims three quarters (76%) of experienced drivers would fail their driving test if forced to take it again,

The figures have been released by Direct Line car insurance, which saw 50 experienced drivers take mock tests at 10 locations, including Cardiff.

The average driver surveyed recorded 16 minor faults - one more than the maximum number allowed during a test.

In a real test, a single serious fault would result in failure.

The survey's drivers recorded an average of three serious or dangerous faults.

So, would you pass your test if you had to re-take it?

Brendon Williams
Image caption Brendon Williams: Putting his driving skills under the instructor's eye once again

BBC Wales reporter Brendon Williams decided to see if his own skills behind the wheel are up to scratch.

I'm not a nervous driver. But sitting beside an instructor who's analysing every aspect of your motoring skills is enough to make even Lewis Hamilton's stomach churn.

It doesn't help when you commit your first fault quicker than you can say mirror, signal, manoeuvre.

No sooner had I revved the engine and started to pull away, than my instructor - Stuart Walker of Wrexham-based Walker Driving skills - delighted in telling me I had forgotten to check my blind spot.

Fault number one.

Number two followed quickly... I forgot to turn on my side lights on what was a wet and gloomy day.

Two mistakes within 20 yards is not the best of starts. Not even my first test 15 years ago (which I failed) went so disastrously.

It was also lucky that these are classed as minor faults - of which you are allowed 15 or fewer to pass your test.

The dreaded major fault wasn't far behind though, at 60mph on the main Wrexham bypass.

"I'm afraid we've got our first serious fault," said Stuart...."not making allowances for the wet road, and we're tailgating on the A483".

Tailgating? Isn't that what angry white van men and boy-racers do? It's also an offence under new laws.

This is not good news. The rules say you can not pass your test if you record any serious or dangerous faults.

Game over. Within less than a mile of driving I had failed my test. Could I really be one of those 76% the survey highlights?

Not to be too harsh, Stuart tells me my distance probably would have been okay under normal circumstances, but on a wet day like this it is, quite simply, dangerous.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBBC Wales reporter Brendon Williams went out with Stuart Walker, of Walker Driving Skills in Wrexham, to see if his driving was up to scratch

My emergency stop wasn't quite emergency enough, but I did keep closely to the kerb as I reversed round a corner.

I drive a lot every day, so it's a bit of a shock to hear my driving skills "have potential".

Thankfully, Stuart explained: "You've either got it or you haven't, and you've definitely got it.

"You've let your standards slip over the years...tailgating, position could be better in places, missing our blind-spot checks moving away... but on the whole, it's not as if I felt unsafe in your driving.

"I do actually feel safe in your driving and I think if you had some training, your standard could be very high."

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