• Drivers who pass their test first time are more likely to be over-confident behind the wheel and take greater risks
  • People who pass their driving test on the third attempt tend to be safer, more cautious drivers
  • The Department for Transport encourages learner drivers to wait to book their test until they are ‘road ready’

Until very recently, it was considered that motorists who pass their driving test at the first attempt tended to be safer drivers.

First-time passers were seen to be more confident and make better decisions. It was thought that a driving test pass at a first attempt was down to effective tuition and additional driving time, meaning these new drivers were more attentive, responsible and safe behind the wheel.

However, recent research commissioned by LV= reveals that this commonly accepted belief may no longer be the case.

The survey  looked at the driving records of over 2,000 motorists,  revealing that drivers who passed their practical test after the third or more attempt, had been involved in fewer accidents and collisions than those who had passed on first or second attempt. The research also showed that these ‘third-time lucky’ drivers were less likely to be stopped by police for drunk or dangerous driving. 

By contrast, those who pass on their first or second attempt are arguably ‘worse drivers’;  reporting more incidents of collisions, bumps or scrapes, and admitting to being caught for dangerous driving more often. 

Drivers who failed to pass first time round blamed nerves and lacking confidence. Despite that, 32% said that failing their first test had since made them more careful on the road, 29% learned from the mistakes they made in their first practical test and 27% felt they were more skilled thanks to the additional tuition and practice.

The findings of the study echo the sentiment behind recent changes to the practical driving test proposed by the Department for Transport (DfT), which is calling for learner drivers to wait to book their test until they are ‘road ready’ .