It takes motorists just 10 weeks to become a ‘bad driver’ after passing their test, according to research.
A study of 2,000 motorists found the average driver starts letting bad habits creep in after less than three months on the road.
And one in 10 admitted they started developing dodgy driving habits just two weeks or less after removing their L plates.
Before their first six months of driving are complete, many British drivers will have stopped holding the wheel in the ‘ten and two’ position and are unlikely to check their mirrors every time they make a manoeuvre.
Interestingly, 40 per cent of women believe they have developed bad habits since passing their test, compared to just 32 per cent of men.
But while women are more likely to reach into their bag to rummage for something while driving, men are the worst for tailgating and running red lights.
David Carter for Accident Advice Helpline, who commissioned the research, said: “Passing your driving test is, for many people, one of the hardest things they’ll ever have to do.
“And for many of us, that testing day could have come years or even decades ago – plenty of time for bad habits to creep in.
“Our study found lots of drivers are happy to admit to bad practises when behind the wheel, most of which are harmless.
“But it’s important to stay vigilant with observation and safety, as letting your guard down for too long could result in an accident.”
On average it takes just four and a half months to become a “middle-lane hog” on the motorway – sitting in the central lane rather than moving over to the left.
And drivers will further put their safety at risk by riding without a seatbelt after less than four months of having their full license.
A third of British motorists also confess to having chucked litter out of their car window while on the move.
The study also showed it takes just over five months for drivers to feel comfortable fumbling in their bag for something while driving.
The average driver will have run a red light within 5 months and six days of passing their test, while illegal U-turns become second nature after five months and nine days.
And after just over four months, motorist are more likely to overtake in a dangerous situation, turn a corner without indicating and park on double yellow lines.
The majority of adults passed their driving test on the first try, although one in five had to take three or four tests to get it right.
And 53 per cent of Brits agree that they have more bad driving habits now than they did when they passed their test.
In fact, a tenth of the driving population have had an accident due to getting slack with following the rules of the road.
David Carter for Accident Advice Helpline added: “Every year Accident Advice Helpline helps thousands of road accident victims deal with the consequences of poor driving, assisting people physically and financially.
“Bad driving habits can compromise safety and the research suggests it’s all too easy to let our driving standards slip.”
How long does it take to develop bad driving habits?
- Holding the wheel with just one hand – 3 months and 27 days
- Giving up on the ‘ten and two’ position entirely – 3 months and 15 days
- Stopping checking your mirrors when manoeuvring – 3 months and 21 days
- Turning a corner without indicating – 4 months and 12 days
- Tailgating someone – 4 months and 15 days
- Sitting in the middle of a motorway because you can’t be bothered to move over – 4 months and 18 days
- Completing an overtake in a dangerous situation – 4 months and 24 days
- Running a red light – 5 months and 6 days
- Driving without a seatbelt – 3 months and 18 days
- Doing an illegal U-turn – 5 months and 9 days
- Throwing litter out of the car window – 3 months and 21 days
- Fumbling in your bad for something while driving – 5 months and 3 days
- Parking on double yellow lines – 4 months and 21 days
- Pulling out in front of someone, cutting them up – 5 months and 3 days