ALMOST 70 per cent of drivers in the south east have never used a P plate after passing their driving test, new research has shown.
The study, by the Co-operative Insurance, revealed that out of 2,000 people surveyed the most common reason for drivers not wanting to use a probationary plate was being unaware they exist, with some 40 per cent not knowing about them.
Likewise, other reasons for not using the P plates included drivers feeling embarrassed of displaying the green signs (11 per cent), and not wanting other drivers to behave differently towards them on the road (13 per cent).
Steve Kerrigan, head of telematics at the insurance group said: “The research clearly shows that there are a number of misconceptions when it comes to the P plate, with many drivers simply unaware they exist, or not wanting to use them out of fear of embarrassment.
“For drivers who have just passed their test, they can be a useful tool in providing confidence and helping the transition to driving alone. They also serve to provide warnings to other drivers at particular hazard points such as junctions and roundabouts.”
In the south east the study also highlighted that almost three quarters of drivers in the region (72 per cent) don’t actually know what the letter ‘p’ in P plate stands for.
Just over a quarter (29 per cent) of motorists correctly identified that it stands for ‘probationary’.
Incorrectly, more than half of motorists believed it stood for ‘just passed’.
Almost a third of new drivers used the plates because their parents insisted, with 18 per cent incorrectly believing.
Response to using the green plates was mixed, with almost half the respondents in the south east claiming they felt more confident having them on display.
Likewise, two fifths felt other drivers were more courteous and patient towards them and almost a fifth felt that other drivers kept their distance (18%).
However, a fifth also felt other road users were discourteous, just wanting to get past them.
Other negative experiences included other drivers heckling them (nine per cent) or tailgating them (12 per cent).
Conversely one in ten new drivers started to feel silly with them on and so removed them.
That said, over half (57 per cent) of drivers believe that new road users should have to use a green P plate when they pass their tests.
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