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The Richard Spooner Column: Driving force or road to failure?

07 December 2018

Ms Spooner is stepping in, as Mr Spooner is off in a far-flung place, taking a well-deserved rest from delivery drivers and traffic.

And this week, I have a confession to make.

I, Ms Spooner, took my driving test four times.

I should have anticipated trouble really, as I was told by a piano teacher that I should never learn to drive because I could categorically not coordinate my hands and feet.

At the time, it was quite offensive. However, now as an adult it seems horrifying that one would say such a thing to an innocent child who has absolutely no rhythm or musical talent (and never will).

But I digress, back to driving. I’m revealing my flaws as my memories of learning to drive came flooding back, as an in-depth BBC article pricked my attention.

The article ponders whether the driving test is getting more difficult, after changes to the practical driving test were implemented last year.

Fortunately for me, I took my fourth and final test just a couple of months prior to these changes – which included scrapping three-point-turns, 20 instead of 10 minutes of ‘independent driving’ and following directions from a satellite navigation system.

As a quick side note, I am outraged that the three-point-turn is not part of the test anymore – that manoeuvre has been my saving grace more than once and in my opinion the most useful thing I have ever learnt to do.

This shiny new test isn’t producing hordes of new drivers, as the pass rate since the new rules were introduced dropped below 46 per cent for the first time in eight years.

Even more useful statistics were presented in the analysis, including some eyebrow-raising ones about men and women drivers.

On average, the pass rate for men is seven per cent higher than women.

But men are involved in 57 per cent of reported road accidents.

I’m saying nothing.

Back to my failures, I shouldn’t be disappointed or embarrassed – as 45 per cent of people like me, chose to put themselves through hell, otherwise known as a driving test, and pass on their fourth attempt.    

In fact, I should be shouting about my failures, as according to research by Privilege DriveXpert, if you’re intelligent you’re less likely to pass your driving test the first time.

By that logic, I should probably join Mensa.

So, after wading through this mountain of information – is it actually more difficult to obtain an elusive pink license and actually drive in the modern world?

Maybe, it probably depends how much time, money, persistence and how naturally talented you are at pushing pedals in the first place.

The one thing to really take away, though - never let a piano teacher tell what you can or can’t do.

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