It’s been almost 23 years since the driving theory test was introduced, but how well would you fare if you had to take your test again?
New research* from MoneySuperMarket reveals that men are more confident than women, with 49% thinking they would pass their driving theory test again, compared to 38% of women.
Younger drivers are also more confident, with over half (59%) of 18-24 year olds believing they’d answer the questions correctly, compared to 39% of those aged 45-54.
Despite this level of confidence, when asked a selection of questions from the official Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) theory test, only 11% of drivers answered every question correctly.
The most challenging question related to ‘the colour of the reflective studs between a motorway and its slip road’, with 68% of drivers getting the answer wrong.
Men answered more questions correctly than women – 53% versus 47%.
You can see how well you would do with our quiz later on.
Men vs women
But how do men and women actually fare when it comes to the real thing?
Using data from the DVSA and Department for Transport, we’ve looked at how well men and women perform on both the theory and the practical test.
DVSA and DfT. Great Britain, 2018
DVSA and DfT. Great Britain, 2018
In fact, women tend to have a higher pass rate for the theory test – even though men are more confident about passing - but men are more likely to pass the practical test.
Last year, the average pass rate for the theory test was 4% higher for women than men, but for the practical test men had a 7% higher pass rate.
Did you pass first time?
Taking your practical driving test can be nerve-wracking, so it’s perhaps not surprising that the pass rate for 2017-2018 was slightly higher second time round than first:
DVSA and DfT. Great Britain, 2017-2018 financial year
This applies to both men and women. For men, the first attempt pass rate stood at 50.4% and second attempt at 51.1%. For women, the first attempt pass rate last year was 43.1%, versus 44.5% second time round.
Where do most of us trip up?
The biggest reason for failing a practical test is pulling out of junctions without looking properly first. This is closely followed by failing to look in your mirrors when manoeuvring.
The full top 10 list is below:
1. Observation at junctions
2. Use of mirrors when changing direction
3. Steering control
4. Turning right at junctions
5. Moving off safely from stationary position
6. Positioning of car on road
7. Control when moving off (such as stalling)
8. Response to traffic lights
9. Reverse parking
10. Response to traffic signs
If you fancy having a go at some of the theory test questions, take a look at our short quiz (answers are at the bottom of the article):
a) In the vehicle handbook
b) In the Highway Code
c) In your vehicle registration certification
d) In your licence documents
a) When you keep pumping the foot brake to prevent skidding
b) When you brake normally but grip the steering wheel tightly
c) When you brake firmly and promptly until you’ve stopped
d) When you apply the handbrake to reduce the stopping distance
c) Door locks
d) Seat belts
a) A two-second time gap
b) One car length
c) Two metres (6 feet 6 inches)
d) Two car lengths
Keeping car insurance costs down
Once you’ve successfully passed your driving test, you’ll need to get your car insurance sorted. This can prove expensive, especially if you’re a young driver, but there are steps you can take to keep costs to a minimum:
- Pay upfront: paying annually for your car insurance is cheaper than paying monthly due to the interest charged on instalments
- Pass Plus: if you complete the government’s Pass Plus scheme, some insurers will lower your insurance premium
- Add a named driver: adding an older, more experienced driver to your policy can bring down the cost of premiums – but make sure the person who does the most driving in the car is listed as the ‘main driver’
- Consider telematics: a data-recording device will be fitted to your car and will monitor your driving style so your insurer can base the price of your policy on how you actually drive
- Increase your excess: a higher voluntary excess will reduce your premium – but make sure you would still be able to afford to pay it
- Compare, compare, compare: shopping around and comparing your options is one of the easiest ways to find the right deal for you
You can read more about car insurance for new drivers in our guide.
*Based on responses from over 2,800 UK drivers