30% of UK Drivers Would Fail Driving Test

Survey reveals 30% of UK drivers lack safety knowledge to pass driving test

While garages are on hand to sort out serious problems, drivers are expected to be able to take care of some of the simplest vehicle issues.

UK Knowledge Under the Bonnet

So much so that the UK car driving test now ‘show me tell me’ questions about the car’s engine, safety issues and checking the vehicle.

We surveyed 1000 people to see if their car safety knowledge was up to scratch. The findings were somewhat surprising.   

The Findings

  • 3 in 10 UK drivers would fail their driving test again
  • 46% admitted they didn’t know how to check brake fluid
  • 40% of people struggled to check the coolant level
  • 76% could identify whether the engine oil level was right
  • 66% said they could check the windscreen washer reservoir level under their bonnet

There were mixed responses as to what people would do if an engine warning light came on when driving:

  • 58% of participants took the safe option of taking it to a garage
  • 11% admitted that they would do nothing
  • 21% would have a go at fixing the problem themselves
  • 1% said they’d ask their dad

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Survey Results Breakdown

What would you do if an engine warning light came on in your car?

  • 75% in Northern Ireland would take it to the garage
  • 25% of English respondents would try to fix themselves
  • 25% of Welsh respondents would do nothing

It was the older generation who were more willing to ignore it as well:

  • 17% of those who said they’d do nothing being over 65
  • 10% were between 55 and 64

The younger generation appear keener to have a go themselves:

  • 25% of 18-24 and 30% of 25 and 34 year olds would investigate and try to fix it.

UK Driver KnowledgeDo you know how to check if the engine oil level is correct?

  • 100% of respondents from Northern Ireland knew how
  • 90% from Wales
  • 75% from Scotland
  • 73% of English were also up to speed

Those between 45-54 years old were the best with 91% of them claiming to know how, while 40% of over 65s admitted not being able to.


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Do you know how to check engine coolant level?

  • 75% of respondents from Wales answered no
  • Only 40% of those from England didn’t know

It was the older generation more able to perform this check too:

  • 82% of those aged over 65
  • 62% between 55 and 64 knowing how to check correctly

At the other end of the spectrum:

  • 58% of participants between 35 to 44 years old didn’t know how to check properly

Do you know how to check if the windscreen reservoir level?

  • Over 80% of those who polled from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could
  • English respondents let the side down, 34% of whom said they couldn’t check correctly

Do you know how to check the brake fluid?

Seemingly a tougher task:

  • Only 61% of Scottish respondents said they could
  • 51% of English participants were positive

Age-wise, 60% of 18 to 24 year olds admitted to not knowing how to do this, while a large majority of 90% of over 65s said they could.

On the whole nearly a third of those surveyed lacked sufficient safety and maintenance knowledge to pass their driving test. Hopefully this survey provided a good insight into how well or as often the results showed, how little the public know about their cars.

Image courtesy of iStock.

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