New research has revealed more than a quarter (28 per cent) of young drivers believe they have had a road accident as a result of spending a significant time away from the wheel after passing their driving test.

The study, commissioned by Marmalade, a car and insurance provider for young drivers, found over a quarter (26 per cent) of drivers under 30 have spent six months or longer without driving after passing their test.

This, the insurer warned, is leading to a higher risk of accidents.

The poll suggested the time spent away from the road had an adverse effect on young drivers’ confidence and abilities on the road.

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said their confidence had been knocked as a result of time away from the wheel, while the same number (25 per cent) though they had become a more hesitant driver.

Nearly one in five (18 per cent) are reluctant to drive long distances, while 14 per cent said they were now nervous taking passengers.

One in 20 (four per cent) went as far as saying they were a more dangerous driver as a result of their break from driving.

Figures show the cost of driving is a significant contributor to young drivers taking an extended break from behind the wheel.

Over a third (34 per cent) cited the cost of access to a vehicle, including purchase and insurance, as the main reason for their absence from the road.

New drivers are in agreement that regular driving is essential to becoming more confident behind the wheel, with two thirds (67 per cent) stating regular access to a car after getting their licence is crucial to making them a safe driver.

“This study shows there is a clear – and worrying – correlation between young drivers taking an extended break from the road and the likelihood of having an accident,” said Marmalade CEO, Crispin Moger.

“With more than a third of young drivers citing cost as the main reason for time off the road, insurance providers have a clear responsibility to help more young people get behind the wheel after their test.”

“This time is crucial for developing their confidence and ability, which ensures the safety of themselves and other road users.”