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Why British motorists might struggle to parallel park post-lockdown

Why British motorists might struggle to parallel park post-lockdown

With UK motorists limited to making essential journeys only and being asked to stay close to home where possible, many drivers have clocked up substantially fewer miles behind the wheel in the last 12 months than they usually would.

As the old sayings go, ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘use it or lose it’ – meaning skills can soon get rusty when not regularly put to into action.

The country’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, questioned 1,000 UK motorists to uncover which skills they think they most need to improve behind the wheel. Although 12 per cent of men and six per cent of women think they are a perfect driver, many were quick to admit that parking was the area where their skills were lacking. Others felt low levels of patience or confidence were an issue – with the latter particularly likely to suffer through a lack of time spent driving.

Women were more likely to doubt their parking skills than men, or to want to work on confidence or nervousness. Although parking still took the top two spots for men, they were more likely than women to also want to work on reducing their speed and remembering to indicate. Becoming more patient ranked highly for all motorists.

The top seven motoring skills men would like to improve in 2021:

  • Reverse parking (30%)
  • Parallel parking (30%)
  • Being more patient behind the wheel (17%)
  • To drive in a more environmentally friendly way (13%)
  • Always remembering to indicate (13%)
  • Always checking blind spots (12%)
  • Reducing my speed (11%)

The top seven motoring skills women would like to improve in 2021:

  • Parallel parking (39%)
  • Reverse parking (32%)
  • Overcoming nervousness of driving on a motorway (20%)
  • To be more confident behind the wheel (18%)
  • Being more patient behind the wheel (14%)
  • Always checking blind spots (12%)
  • To drive in a more environmentally friendly way (12%)

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, which specialises in teaching 10-17 year olds how to drive, said: “No matter how long we’ve held our driving licence for, it’s easy to lose confidence or worry about skills when they’re not regularly being used. Hands-on experience is so important and the only way to build up that confidence – which is why we believe so passionately that the more experience drivers can get before they even reach 17, the better driver they will be in the long run. Our research shows there are many aspects of driving where people feel their skills are lacking or bad habits have crept in, so getting that thorough grounding at an early age can be really important.”

Young Driver was set up on the back of research which shows that learning before 17 can halve the accident rates for new drivers in the dangerous first six months after passing their test. Young Driver has delivered more than 900,000 driving lessons to 10-17 year olds at 70 private venues across the UK. Youngsters have lessons in a brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa SE Premium with a highly qualified driving instructor. The emphasis of the lessons is on safety and fun, allowing youngsters more time to perfect driving skills such as gear changes, braking, parking and steering without the pressures of public roads. For more information go to

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