Young driver risks

Risk factors and young drivers

Young drivers (aged 17-25) are most at risk of being killed or seriously injured on our roads. Here are some of the contributing factors of the most common accidents.

Young driver accidents often feature:

  • Older cars with less Euro NCAP-rated crash protection.
  • Three or more casualties in the car.
  • Accidents at night and at weekends.
  • Driving on wet roads in fine weather, or in rain, fog or mist.
  • Minor roads in rural areas with a 60 mph speed limit.
  • Single vehicle accidents with no other road users involved.
  • On bends, particularly on rural roads.
  • Skidding and, in some cases, overturning.
  • Leaving the road, and in many cases hitting a roadside object or entering a ditch.

It’s thought that these accidents happen because of:

  • Inexperience and poor judgement in more difficult driving conditions (e.g. poor weather, poor visibility, poor quality road environment).
  • Inadequate control of the car (e.g. single vehicle accidents, skidding, overturning, leaving the road).
  • Lifestyle factors (e.g. social driving particularly at night and at weekends, when factors such as alcohol and peer pressure affect where and how young people drive).
  • Economic factors which result in young drivers being more likely to have cheaper older cars which offer them less protection from injury than newer cars would.

How to help reduce accidents

Young people are at risk because their experience of driving is limited, and to get the experience they require they need to be open to extended learning after they have passed the test.

Making young people aware of the risks and providing them with strategies to take positive actions to remain safe are important parts of their development as drivers.

The aim is to give young people the skills that build competence and the experience that builds knowledge whilst ensuring that risk is minimised.