On which licence are you most likely to crash? The link between licence type and collisions

Pop quiz: At what stage in your driving career are you most likely to crash?

  • A) When you're learning to drive
  • B) Shortly after you've passed your driving test
  • C) When you've been driving for years

The answer is B - The period shortly after transitioning from L plates to P plates puts you at most risk for a driving collision. But why?

We interviewed Youi Head of Pricing, Andrew White and leading Road Safety Researcher Dr Bridie Scott-Parker to understand the link between licence types and the risk of collision.

Transitioning from L's to P's

Although you might think that fresh new licence holders are some of the safest drivers on the road, Dr Bridie's research and our own Youi car insurance claims data reveals that early P platers are most at risk for a crash. One of Dr. Bridie's earlier studies even found that new drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a crash fatality than other drivers.

A likely reason for this, as Dr Bridie shares in the video above, is that the P plater has gone from a learning period where a responsible supervisor has been by their side the entire time, to a transition period where they no longer have that support in the car. 

As Youi's own Head of Pricing Andrew White explains, "Once someone goes into their Provisionals and is not being monitored as closely, and is maybe a little over-confident in their abilities - that's when we find people have the most claims. So when drivers transition to their Provisional, they go from a relatively low-frequency claims time to one of the highest."

Building experience and lowering risk

Of course the transition phase doesn't last forever. Dr. Bridie shares that 12 months in, a P plater halves their crash risk and it continues to drop over the next 3-5 years as the driver gains more experience. 

If you are a learner driver yourself or if you are supervising one, here are some simple tips for lowering the collision risk during the L to P plate transition:

  • Practice variety: Practice driving different routes, different roads and different conditions to gain valuable risk-aversion techniques
  • Lose supervision gradually: Even once the learner driver gets their P plates, a supervisor should still accompany them from time to time to ensure they haven't forgotten any rules 
  • Don't be over-confident: If you're a learner driver and you pass your P's, don't get too confident in your abilities. There's always more to learn about driving and road safety!

Want to learn more about Road Safety? Check out the rest of Youi's Road Safety Shorts with Dr Bridie series.

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