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If You Failed Your Driving Test, You’re Probably too Smart to Pass

If you failed your driving test, you may have something to celebrate.

According to new research from the UK, smarter people are more likely to fail their driving tests – so, if your bus pass has you down and out, you’ve got that.

Conducted by insurer Privilege DriveXpert on a nationally representative sample of 1,564 people with a full British driving license, the research found that those with higher levels of academic qualifications are more likely to fail their test the first time around. Conversely, the less educated set is more likely to pass after fewer attempts.


Specifically, 59 per cent of those with no academic degrees passed the test the first time, while the same could only be said for 51 per cent of those with a college education. This pass rate drops even further for those with higher-level academic qualifications: Just 47 per cent of those with a postgraduate degree or higher, and 39 per cent of company owners, passed for the first time.

It makes sense if you think about it; those who excel in more procedural, hands-on motor skills as opposed to academic skills may easily feel more at home during a driving test. It’s also interesting to note that the artsy type of right brain-leaning creatives are more likely to pass than are their counterparts in science and math. The latter took on average 2.3 tries to pass, whereas those who studied arts at the A level took 1.9 tries on average.

So, what’s the reasoning behind this all?

According to experts, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to overthink what you are doing rather than take a more practical and intuitive approach. Overthinking is often associated with anxiety, which could also play a role in bad driving, in my opinion. My more anxious friends – all high achievers with careers, accolades and checked boxes – just so happen to be the worst drivers. Couple their lack of skills with Toronto traffic and you’re in for an anxiety inducing ride yourself as a passenger.


Naturally, it’s safe to assume that the longer you wait (and become set in your perpetual passenger status), the more difficult it may be to learn how to drive. This is particularly interesting in cities like Toronto, where many born and raised young people may wait until it’s absolutely necessary (i.e. kids are on the way) before they even contemplate getting behind the wheel. Assumingly, this group has had less time or need to practice their skills in the first place and likely has accumulated high levels of education (living in the city isn’t cheap, after all).

Therefore, when it comes to taking on driving school, some 30-something wannabe drivers may be in for a rough ride.

The good news for those who have all but given up on the idea of driving is the fact that things like Uber now lets others do the driving for you and self-driving cars are now on the fast track to becoming a reality. And if you are a skilled driver, you may want to think twice about making fun of your friends who aren’t.

Alex Richmond

Alex Richmond is a social media and contributing writer at Notable Life.