The first time you get behind the wheel of a car, it can be a little terrifying. In some cases, it can take several days before you’re even acclimated to the mechanisms of driving. And even then, practice is usually needed. While some young drivers pick up the skill easily, others struggle to fully grasp the in’s and out’s of what’s deemed ‘good’ driving nowadays. Aside from learning state traffic laws and important signage, you must also familiarize yourself with defensive driving. A new study published in the UK shows evidence that your driving behaviors may not be all about what you did or didn’t learn. In fact, your parents’ individual driving skills may have one of the biggest impacts on your aptitude for driving.
For this Headlights.com feature, we’ll briefly detail how one UK-based study proves some people are inherently better at driving due to what they observed through their parents.
UK-based study proves driving habits are hereditary to some extent
A recent UK study by Scrap Car Comparison found evidence that suggests bad driving habits could be hereditarily linked. Of the one thousand drivers surveyed, 66% of them who fell in the ‘bad’ category also had been raised by parents whom received traffic violations within a ten year period. In comparison, only 26% of the drivers surveyed who received a road offense were considered raised by ‘good’ drivers.
The conclusion that can be drawn here is that ‘good’ or ‘bad’ driving skills of a parent does have a direct impact on how children later handle the wheel. While younger drivers have less experience, the study found that 42% of those who participated in a speed awareness course for a traffic violation also had parents who had strikes against their driving record. That percentage increased to 51% when comparing the number of young drivers and parents who were both involved in a speed awareness course during a ten year period.
When analyzing the total number of parents who hadn’t taken part in a speed awareness course, the count of children participating in one was substantially less. Just equaling 11% of the young drivers surveyed. In terms of being pulled over by law enforcement, the stats were significantly higher for children of ‘bad’ driving habits too. For example, 45% of children with parent’s who have marks on their driving record were stopped by police. In contrast, only 14% of children with parents who have a clean driving record pulled over.
As seen from the results, bad drivers are likely to share those habits with their offspring. Children who grow up watching their parents make bad choices on the road are going to be more inclined to do the same. Of course, there are exceptions. But the backings of this study give enough evidence to show the legitimacy of such claims.
Can you blame your bad driving habits on your parents? Maybe yes, maybe not
The Scrap Car Comparison survey definitely gave us a greater insight into how driving behaviors are learned. What is now know for certain, your driving abilities are often influenced by your parents, whether you’re conscious of it or not. While it’s only natural for a child to pick up on some of the habits that their parents take part in, it doesn’t always mean those habits are good. If your parent is prone to sloppy driving or disobeying common road rules, it’s likely you’ll participate in the same behaviors, at least from time to time.
Ultimately, it is each driver’s responsible to uphold traffic laws and shy away from reckless behaviors, such as texting and driving or driving under the influence, at all times. If you subconsciously integrated bad driving behaviors into your driving career, make 2023 the year to improve upon this general safety concern.
The UK study also found that 55% of drivers surveyed felt that they were better drivers overall than their parents. While part of this confidence can be attributed to the general invincible nature of younger generations, the study confirmed that younger drivers were actually less prone to traffic violations. Regardless of the research, it’s important for drivers of any age to be cautious of road rules and common hazards that come along the way.
For more information on road safety, read our feature on the Best Car Gadgets for Improving Passenger Safety in 2023.