It is a fair summation to say that my first driving test did not go well. I’m fairly sure it was within the first 30 seconds of the test that I was involved in a game of chicken with another car coming down a road that had cars parked either side, and my assumption that he would stop first and pull over proved incorrect; with around two cars’ distance between us and neither backing down, my driving test instructor made use of the dual controls and made the decision for me with a sharp press down on the brakes. A ‘D’ for dangerous driving was duly recorded on the test. Oh, and a couple of other majors, but honestly, who’s counting (other than the driving test instructor, who also counted the many, many minors).
At the time, it really felt like I’d failed. I mean, I had, quite literally, failed, so that feeling was entirely justified. But I’d also failed at life. At being a human. At gaining vehicular independence.
But now it turns out that, in fact, failing my driving test first time was evidence of me winning. It was like a gold star on my CV – and it is for anyone who failed first time too.
Why? Well because new research by Privilege DriveXpert has found a link between qualifications and professional position held, and the number of times it takes a person to pass their practical driving test – and it shows that the higher your qualification, the more tests you were likely to need.
In other words: the more driving tests you fail, the more intelligent you are.
Those who hold postgraduate certificate or above take, on average, 1.9 tests before they pass, with only 48% passing first time. However, people with no qualifications get their licence after just 1.7 attempts, with 59% passing first time.
Additionally, those who own businesses are three times more likely to have taken their test four or more times (22%) than those at lower levels on the professional ladder (7%).
Meanwhile, people who studied science and maths are more likely to take longer to pass than those who studied arts and culture – 2.3 attempts for the former, compared to only 1.9 times for the latter.
Charlotte Fielding, Head of Privilege DriveXpert, comments: “Passing first time isn’t the be-all and end-all of driving ability as many of the main skills we need to equip ourselves for our driving careers are learned over the years as our experience on the roads builds.”
I look back now and, to be honest, it was a good job I also failed that second and third time, just to prove how clever I was. That’s what I was doing really, wasn’t it? Absolutely not being utterly terrible at driving. I was being smart.