THERE are something in the region of 45 million drivers in Britain, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and many of them use their car each day for commuting to work, transporting their families and carrying out social activities.

This should come as no surprise given the state of congestion on so many of the UK’s roads.

However, what may come as a surprise is the number of drivers who don’t know the basic national road rules and signs.

A recent survey by young driver insurance company ingenie shows that 80 per cent of those taking part didn’t know the basic rules of the road and more than one third of drivers couldn’t answer half of the questions.

Ingenie is now calling for schools to teach the Highway Code to their pupils in a bid to help them absorb this vital information early.

The firm conducted an experiment to find out if experienced drivers could pass a test 20 years after passing their driving theory tests. A separate driving theory test was introduced in the UK in 1996.

As part of the experiment a woman aged 45 and a man aged 51 failed their road quiz spectacularly, according to ingenie. The quiz was filmed and can be seen on youtube by visiting

The pair both struggled with general road rules and frequently used signs. Both of them failed to answer correctly questions about the national speed limit and commonly used road signs.

This lack of knowledge was reflected in the results of a quiz hosted on the ingenie website and the assessment, based on a selection of questions taken directly from the modern theory test, showed how young drivers are at risk due to a lack of knowledge.

As a result of the findings, ingenie is calling for parents and schools to introduce under-17s to the Highway Code, along with hazard perception and driving theory, to give them a head start with their grasp of road knowledge.

Currently, award-winning online training resource Drive iQ has been adopted in 1,300 schools for 15 and 16-year-olds, enabling the improvement of their awareness and hazard recognition across numerous engaging modules. The modules are also easy to do at home.

Richard King, ingenie CEO, says, "It’s worrying that even experienced drivers aren’t showing basic Highway Code knowledge, which every driver should have to keep themselves and other road users safe.

“If schools introduce the Highway Code and hazard perception to pupils before they even reach driving age, we can build an entire generation of better, safer drivers.”

The experiment marks the second of the five gears in ingenie's Parent Manifesto; a robust series of activities that aims to educate parents on how to get more involved when their child is learning to drive, in order to complement the learning process and promote safer driving amongst young people.

The manifesto will be made up of five stages released over the next few months – with each stage aiming to educate parents on another way they can help their child drive safely and save money.

Communications manager for the Warwickshire and West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership Anna Higgins said: “All road users have a responsibility to keep their knowledge of the Highway Code up-to-date and this applies to all age groups.

“Many of the rules in the Highway Code are legal requirements and knowing and applying them could significantly reduce road collisions and casualties.

"Introducing the Highway Code within schools can only help to improve road safety further, however the results from ingenie's survey highlights that drivers of all ages need to regularly refresh their understanding of the rules of the road.

“With the Highway Code available online, it's easy to check your knowledge every now and again. Drivers who don't understand, or choose to ignore, road signs and rules are putting themselves and other road users at serious risk."

The Department of Transport statistics show 186,209 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2015.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Great Britain now has one of the best road safety records in the world - but with around five people still dying on Britain's roads every day there is much more to be done.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: “We are pleased to see that fatalities and injuries have dropped since 2014, but the longer-term trend seems to be showing stagnation, so they are not falling steadily as they were before 2011.

“This means that we need to do more to get back on a long-term downward trend – these accidents don’t have to happen.”

According to the European Commission, there are simple things every driver can do to help keep the roads safe. It's believed that, if everybody fastened their seatbelt, respected speed limits, and didn't drive under the influence of alcohol, more than 12 000 lives could be saved a year on European roads.

Speeding greatly increases the risk of accident and is a key factor in around 30 per cent of fatal road accidents.

Drivers also need to keep their attention focused on surrounding traffic at all times – not just for their own safety but for the sake of their passengers and other road users too.