LEARNER drivers are terrified to get behind the wheel after getting abused in road rage incidents, a new study has revealed.
Verbal abuse, intimating driving and vulgar gestures are turning away some of the UK’s youngest drivers from getting their licence.
A recent study by Marmalade has revealed one in ten learners have quit driving following abuse from other motorists.
Shockingly, a third of driving instructors have witnessed road rage aimed at learners on a daily basis, while a quarter claimed their students have been left in tears due to threatening behaviour.
Just under 70 per cent of learners have been subjected to threatening hand gestures, while half have experienced verbal abuse when practising their driving.
And male drivers aged between 25 and 40-years-olds are the most common offenders, according to the study.
Chris Cox, who recently went for his licence, said: “Anyone who has ever been a learner driver knows that it can be stressful at the best of times.
“However, in the short period that I’ve been learning to drive, I’ve been shocked at the attitude of other drivers towards learners such as myself.
“Many of these abusive drivers are people who should know better.
“On one particular incident, my instructor actually took another driver to court after he dangerously overtook us at a set of traffic lights.
“As you can imagine, I was left pretty shaken by the experience, but the consequences could have easily been a lot worse if we hadn’t reacted quickly.”
Currently, drivers who make a “rude hand gesture” behind the wheel can be slapped with a fine of 75 per cent of their weekly wage, which is capped at £1,000.
But some driving instructors are now calling for tougher penalties against road users who abuse young drivers.
Rebecca Radbourne, a driving instructor, said: “It’s getting more dangerous on the road for both the driving instructors and students each day.
“A driver has even tried to physically pull me out of my car whilst my student was reversing into a car parking space!”
“Many of my students have broken down in tears over incidents of abuse, which has consequently resulted in them not continuing with their lessons.
“This has a huge knock on effect, especially in the rural area I teach with so many young people having to rely on driving for their jobs.”