Which parts of learning to drive do you find the trickiest? 

In 2019 we surveyed a bunch of new drivers - and their instructors - about which driving tasks were hardest to master. The results are in, and it turns out your 'I've-got-this' is likely to be your instructor's 'let's-try-that-again'.

Parent teaching teen to reverse car

What are your chances? 

Want to pass your driving test on your first go? Just under half (47%) of new drivers needed two or more shots before they passed, and a massive 83% reckon they failed because they were nervous.

So here's our (incredibly helpful) advice: Experience helps you develop your skills. So, get your supervised hours up and drive in a variety of weather conditions and at night to help you become a safer driver. Focus on developing all of the skills, but perhaps take into consideration those driving tasks that other drivers - and their instructors - think are trickiest to master. 

 

New drivers say...

It turns out most new drivers think the trickiest driving task is...parallel parking. In fact, two of the top three most difficult tasks to master involved parking:

1: Parallel parking (72% of drivers)

2: Driving near pedestrians, cyclists and/or motorcyclists (42%) 

3: Reverse parking (41%)

 

But what do your instructors think? 

But professional instructors didn't spare much of a thought for parking. Fewer than 1 in 5 instructors rate parallel or reverse parking in their top three most difficult tasks for learners to master. 

Instead, more complex skills that involve making decisions and operating a manual vehicle came up trumps: 

1: Turning right at a priority / give way intersection (62% of professional instructor respondents)

2: Merging (38%) 

3: Use of clutch / gear changes (38%) 

Driving instructor and student in car

 

Fresh tip

Research suggest that between 80 and 140 supervised hours is optimal for improved skills and reduced crash risk, and that the higher the number of hours, the more experience in complex conditions and the better the chance of passing first time. 

To get your license - and be a safe driver - you're going to need to have it all. From being confident about when to give way and when it's safe to go, through to parallel parking on a busy street in front of all your friends...

And there's no better way to build your confidence and skills than to practice. 

When it came to our survey, new drivers that had completed more than the minimum number of practice hours prior to undertaking their first test were significantly more likely to report feeling very or extremely well-prepared and were also more likely to have passed the test first time around. 

 

Looking for more tips on getting your license?

 

Who did we talk to?

373 new drivers, including those still learning through to drivers with up to five years' experience. Plus, we also surveyed 444 driving instructors, professional and 3678 non-professional supervisors and 76 professional driving instructors.