10 weeks: How long it takes after passing our test to become a bad driver

by Brady Myles - 2 Min Read

A new study of 2,000 drivers shows that once we’ve passed our test, we have a horrible habit of adopting bad driving habits within a matter of weeks.

In fact, according to research by the Accident Advice Helpline, it takes some of us only 10 weeks before we start flouting the law on a regular basis, transforming ourselves from model students into lousy drivers. Worse still, one in ten of motorists surveyed said that they started to forget the Highway Code within two weeks of consigning their L-plates to the bin, some even admitting to running red lights within that time.

According to the survey, the top 10 biggest bad habits – and how long they take to be ‘adopted’ – are:

10. Overtaking dangerously: Four months & 24 days before we do

9. Parking on double yellow lines: Four months & 21 days

8. Middle lane hogging on the motorway: Four months & 18 days

7. Tailgating another vehicle: Four months & 15 days

6. Turning without indicating: Four months & 12 days

5. Holding the wheel with only one hand: Three months & 27 days

4. Not using your mirrors when manoeuvring: Three months & 21 days

3. Chucking litter out of the window: Three months & 21 days

2. Not using a seatbelt: Three months & 18 days

1. Stopping using ‘ten and two’ hands position on the wheel: Three months & 15 days.

It means that all the hard work we put in with our instructors could end up being chucked out of the window if we’re not careful. But is there anything we can do to ensure we remain at the top of our driving game?

First, consider going for a single lesson with your instructor every few months after you have passed to see if you’re developing any bad habits. You’ll already have an established relationship with them so the lesson should be simple, easy and hassle-free. Alternatively, sign up to one of the courses that are designed to keep new drivers developing their on-road skills so no bad habits creep in.

For instance, Pass Plus offers six modules that covers driving in town, in all weathers, at night and more, ensuring that you keep pushing yourself as a driver. You can also take an Advanced Driving Course via the IAM, which will help broaden your skills, increase your confidence and could even bring down your insurance costs.

Ultimately, we all need to keep honing our driving skills – and not become one of the 53% of survey respondents who admitted that they now have more bad driving habits than on the day they passed their test.

Passing your driving test is, for many people, one of the hardest things they’ll ever have to do. And for many of us, that testing day could have come years or even decades ago – plenty of time for bad habits to creep in. But it’s important to stay vigilant with observation and safety, as letting your guard down for too long could result in an accident.”
– David Carter, Accident Advice Helpline

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