Elephant.co.uk, an online car insurance provider and member of the Admiral Group, has announced new research which reveals how quickly people forget the Highway Code after having to memorise it for their driving test.
Since the theory test element of the driving test was introduced in 1996, memorising the Highway Code has been essential for anyone wanting to lose their L plates. However, new research suggests the rules of the Highway Code don’t stay with motorists once they pass, with half of those surveyed saying they hardly remember any of it and only a third saying they have bothered to refer to it since they’ve passed their test.
Elephant.co.uk surveyed 3,000 motorists on the Highway Code to see just how important they think it is to being a good driver and how much they remember. They also decided to test them on some typical Highway Code questions to find out exactly how much motorists do remember, with mixed results.
Seventy per cent admitted they only learned the Highway Code to pass their driving test, and half said they remember none of the Code or just the odd bit of it now. This could explain why nearly half those questioned don’t think they would pass the driving theory test if they had to sit it today.
When taking a simple test, the 3,000 people surveyed they got the right answer 55 per cent of the time, but some questions proved easier than others. Thankfully 88 per cent knew the speed limit on motorways is still 70mph, but only one in five knew that drivers should not use their horn between 11.30pm and 7.00am. Other questions which proved difficult were to name the correct stopping distance at 30mph, only 39 per cent knew it was 23 metres. Finally, only 30 per cent knew that red cat’s eyes mark the left hand side of a road.
In response to the research, elephant.co.uk managing director and car insurance expert Brian Martin said: “The results of our mini test suggest the Highway Code is something most motorists only read in order to pass their driving theory test. The results were hit and miss, and it is concerning how few drivers remember some fairly basic rules of the road.”
Regionally, motorists in the West Midlands were the least confident they would pass their theory test today (63 per cent) compared with those in the South West who were the most confident (80 per cent). This self confidence from motorists in the South West could be justified, as they answered the test questions correctly more times than those in any other region. Most regions scored very similar results for questions on the Highway Code, around 55 per cent. However those in the South West scored best with 58 per cent. The worst scoring region was the East Midlands, with 51 per cent.
However, with few motorists remembering much of the Highway Code today, elephant.co.uk’s research did find that a large majority (68 per cent) think it is important to know it in order to be a good driver. A large section of those questioned (46 per cent) also think motorists should be retested on the Highway Code on a regular basis.