The research by Spanish car manufacturer SEAT found the equivalent of almost 10 million drivers feel more apprehensive about driving, now that the lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions allows travel anywhere within the UK.
Almost half of the drivers surveyed (44 per cent) who said they now feel more nervous pointed to a lack of driving practice over the last year, while 42 per cent stated the return of high-volume traffic following a year of lockdowns was also to blame.
With the global pandemic causing the UK to go into multiple lockdowns since March 2020, drivers have found themselves covering significantly fewer miles behind the wheel. Of those surveyed, 40 per cent estimated they had covered fewer than 2,500 miles since the first lockdown started, compared to just 11 per cent in the year before Covid-19.
Drivers in London have been the most impacted by the lockdowns, with 44 per cent claiming they are now more nervous about driving. Driving in big cities was ranked the second biggest cause for motorists feeling apprehensive about driving again, with driving at night taking the top spot.
Young drivers aged 18-24 were the most impacted age group, with a third stating they now feel less confident. In particular, 38 per cent feel less confident about parking compared to an average of 26 per cent for all age groups.
SEAT offers an array of technology as standard on many models to make parking less daunting, including Park Assist (which will park the vehicle for the driver), a 360-degree Top View camera or front and rear parking sensors.
Says John French, Head of Product at SEAT UK:
“For much of the past 14 months, millions of motorists across the UK have been confined to their local area, driving on roads they’re acquainted with. Now, following the lifting of most social distancing restrictions, drivers are once again navigating unfamiliar places and faced with high volumes of traffic, tight parking spaces and certain road types they’ve perhaps become unaccustomed to.
“SEAT offers a huge number of technologies which help to alleiviate these concerns, encompassing parking, as well as city and motorway driving.”
SEAT is headquartered in Martorell, Barcelona, Spain and sells the Ibiza and Leon hatchbacks, Leon Estate and its family of SUVs, Arona, Ateca and Tarraco.