CHARLES GRAHAM - Salute for determination of drivers

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I was a lucky PFT after a great many lessons. My grandma took six goes before she was allowed out on her own. But for sheer dogged determination we all have to take our hats off to the poor Wigan blighter who needed 17 attempts before passing her driving test.

Lesser mortals would have long since resigned themselves to an adult life of public transport and cadging lifts off family and friends.However this unnamed local, who is now finally permitted to take to the streets unaccompanied, just refused to give in.

At the going rate it must also have cost her the best part of £1,000 to achieve her goal.

The startling but in some ways admirable statistic was unearthed by my colleague Natalie Draycott via a Freedom of Information inquiry about recent Wigan driving test statistics. They also reveal a local man had to take his theory test 24 times before passing.

In some ways that’s even more amazing, given you can learn the Highway Code inside out whereas the practical test can at least be subject to the vagaries of other motorists and prevailing conditions.

But as instructor Pat Caulwell said: just because you don’t pass first time doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver. Nor would I say that those who do it at the first attempt are superior either.

And after a number of failures, the panic and resignation must be setting in before the candidate has even taken to the wheel.

To this successful pair of motorists: I salute them although I suspect neither is the most confident road-user to this day! PFT is passed first time, by the way.