Those who brag about passing their test first time are likely to have their confidence dealt a rather swift blow following a report as it emerges that they are among the least safe drivers on the road.
A recent study published by insurance company LV shows that drivers who pass their test on their first attempt are, on the whole, more complacent and more likely to be involved in accidents.
"Are first time passers confident because they pass first time? Or did they pass first time because they 're confident?" asks LV = Car Insurance 's MD, Selwyn Fernandes. Whichever it is, what has become worryingly clear is that excessive confidence on the road is not just something that might annoy those struggling to pass their test, but actually results in increased levels of accidents and convictions.
Drivers who passed first time have been shown, unsurprisingly, to have "the highest level of self-assurance" on the road, describing their driving as "perfect" more than any other demographic. The problem is that this leads to many "rash decisions" and, somewhat ironically, some of the highest levels of accidents on the road.
First time passers were also more likely to be pulled over and/or convicted for driving under the influence of drink or drugs ñ 18% of those who passed on their first or second time had been pulled over, compared to just 9% of those who took three or four tests.
LV looked into the records of more than 2,000 drivers, and found that of those who did not pass first time, 66% found that their initial failure actually made them a better driver, allowing them to listen to their natural caution and use it to make them generally more careful and less accident-prone drivers. A further 27% said that the extra practise they had to undertake after failing improved their driving skills, and 29% said that they had explicitly learned from the mistakes they made that caused them to fail first time. All of this, said LV, "may ironically mean they are safer once they finally pass."
"If you fail first time," said Fernandes, "you could take comfort in the fact that your natural nervousness or caution will serve you well once you get a license.
"But what this study underlines," he went on, "is that no matter how good a driver you are, care and attention behind the wheel is the most important factor if you want to avoid any incidents and stay safe."
Whether or not this new study will have a knock on effect on average pricing for insurance policies for those who passed first time remains to be seen but if it does, it is likely to cause something of an uproar undoubtedly.