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The speed that bad habits develop in new drivers

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It takes motorists just 10 weeks to become a ‘bad driver’ after passing their test, claims new research.

A study of 2,000 car owners found the average new road user lets bad habits creep in less than three months after ripping the L-plates off.

And one in 10 even admitted they began to forget what they learned two weeks or less after passing their test.

Not holding the steering wheel in the correct ’10 to 2′ position and failing to check their mirrors every time they make a manoeuvre are among the earliest flaws to emerge.

Interestingly, 40% of women believe they have developed bad habits since passing their test, compared to just 32% of men.

The study found women admitted one of their biggest flaws was reaching into their bag to rummage for something while men confessed to tailgating and even running a red light days after passing

David Carter for Accident Advice Helpline, who commissioned the research, said: “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.

“Our study found lots of drivers are happy to admit to bad practices when behind the wheel, most of which are harmless.

“But it’s important to stay vigilant with observation and safety, as letting your guard down for too long could result in an accident.”

The study also found on average it takes just four and a half months to become a “middle-lane hogger” on the motorway.

And drivers will further put their safety at risk by riding without a seatbelt from time to time after less than four months of having their full license.

One third of British motorists also confessed to having chucked litter out of their car window while on the move.

The study also showed it takes just over five months for drivers to feel comfortable fumbling in their bag for something while driving.

The average driver will have run a red light within five months and six days of passing their test, while illegal U-turns become second nature after five months and nine days.

And after just over four months, motorist are more likely to overtake in a dangerous situation, turn a corner without indicating and park on double yellow lines.

The majority of adults passed their driving test at the first try, although one in five had to take three or four tests to get it right.

And 53% of Brits agree that they have more bad driving habits now than they day they passed their test.

In fact, a tenth of the driving population have had an accident due to getting slack with following the rules of the road.

Speed it takes to develop bad driving habits

  • Holding the wheel with just one hand – three months and 27 days
    Giving up on the ‘ten and two’ position entirely – three months and 15 days
  • Stopping checking your mirrors when manoeuvring – three months and 21 days
  • Turning a corner without indicating – four months and 12 days
  • Tailgating someone – four months and 15 days
  • Sitting in the middle of a motorway because you can’t be bothered to move over – four months and 18 days
  • Completing an overtake in a dangerous situation – four months and 24 days
  • Running a red light – five months and 6 days
  • Driving without a seatbelt – three months and 18 days
  • Doing an illegal U-turn – five months and 9 days
  • Throwing litter out of the car window – three months and 21 days
  • Fumbling in your bad for something while driving – five months and 3 days
  • Parking on double yellow lines – four months and 21 days
  • Pulling out in front of someone, cutting them up – five months and 3 days

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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