Are Left-Handers Better Drivers?

Press release from The AA

AA Driving school reveals Left-Handers are best drivers in UK

Left-handers ten per cent more likely to pass their driving test first time

When it comes to driving, left-handers have a natural advantage according to the AA Driving School. A study commissioned by the school indicates that being left-handed makes for a smoother driving test. According to the findings, almost six out of ten (57%) left-handers passed their driving test first time, making them 10 per cent more likely than right-handers to pass at the first attempt.

The news comes as millions of left-handers around the world will be celebrating 'Left-Handers Day 2008' on Wednesday 13th August.
The study also reveals that only five per cent of left-handed drivers believe being left-handed made learning to drive more difficult than if they were right-handed, although a quarter (27%) believe that cars are designed with right-handers in mind.

It should come as no surprise that left-handers appear to be the more accomplished drivers; some of the best drivers in history have been left-handed, including:

  • Ayrton Senna (deceased Formula 1 driver and three times world champion - considered to be one of the best ever)
  • Valentino Rossi (Seven times MotoGP champion - considered  to be one of the best ever)
  • Buzz Aldrin (Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11 - the first manned mission to the Moon)
  • Chewbacca the Wookie (co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon - Star Wars)

Simon Douglas, director of the AA Driving School, comments: "Scientists have hypothesized for years that left-handers are quicker to learn than right-handers and, looking back through history, some of the most important drivers in the world have been left-handed.

"We wanted to see if we could find some evidence to support the theory. Some of our instructors point out that left-handers tend to be left-footers too and, as one of the hardest things to learn is changing gear and clutch control, they tend to pick this skill up more quickly.  So we've taken a deeper look into the phenomenon of left handed drivers."

Douglas adds: "Although fewer students are left-handed, some of our instructors have commented that it's the left-handers that seem to pick up skills like clutch control much more quickly than the right-handers.
"Changing gears with the left hand can also sometimes be a challenge for right-handers but it's an easy thing to overcome and, with a good instructor, anyone can learn to drive."

Survey based on YouGov poll of 2000 people between 6th and 8th August 2008.