Oh, those pesky learner drivers!

A SURVERY of Irish drivers has shown that nearly a third of respondents (29%) feel that learner drivers are “just about bearable so long as they don’t get in my way”.

A SURVERY of Irish drivers has shown that nearly a third of respondents (29%) feel that learner drivers are “just about bearable so long as they don’t get in my way”.

On a week when revelations about the pass figures in driving tests made some interesting reading, with Kilkenny bottom of the class, that was one of the key findings from the survey which was carried out by Semperit Tyres Ireland as part of the company’s Semperit Road-user Courtesy campaign.

What irritates

When asked what irritates them most about learner drivers, some 40% of respondents highlighted learners’ tendency to get the basics of driving wrong, for example, stalling at traffic lights, not indicating properly or sloppy lane discipline.

Driving too slowly was another bugbear of respondents. For this reason, nearly half of drivers (47%) say they generally look to overtake a learner driver at the first opportunity rather than be “delayed”.

For a significant minority (8%), the desire to get past a learner has meant that they have in the past driven recklessly to overtake a car with L-plates.

Paddy Murphy from Semperit Tyres Ireland said: “Safety is of paramount importance to us in Semperit and that was the reason we carried out the survey. We would urge all experienced drivers to exercise that bit more caution when they encounter a learner on the road.

“We were dismayed to find that nearly one in ten drivers have driven recklessly to get past a learner. Our advice to drivers is to stay calm and be patient – most often, the time gained from overtaking and driving faster is really negligible”.

Vicious cycle

In what seems like a vicious cycle, nearly three quarters of respondents (74 percent) say that during their time as learner drivers, they found the behaviour of other drivers stressful and / or intimidating.

Tailgating was highlighted as a regular intimidating tactic of other drivers. Nearly 10% reported other drivers shouting abuse or giving hand signals during their time as learner drivers.

The vast majority of drivers would like to see enforcement of the rule whereby learner drivers must be accompanied at all times by an experienced driver. In all, 84% of respondents say that it is obvious that this rule is regularly flouted on the roads.

Murphy concluded: “Life is stressful enough, let’s reduce stress on the roads. If we could all be a little more courteous on the road, it really will reduce stress and improve road safety!”