My journey to becoming an Advanced Driver
Undertaking an advanced driving course was something that I never thought I would ever have considered. I thought myself to be a safe driver, had been driving for over 30 years and never had an accident. It was my husband however that thought it would make a good Christmas present. He was already an advanced motorcyclist and had gained a 1st pass and Master Distinction with his bike. He managed to convince me that there would be some benefits and in particular the fact that I often ferry my grandchildren around. They are very precious to me and just knowing that I could help ensure their safety whilst I was driving was what made me agree and undertake a course.
I had my first couple of lessons just before the first lockdown. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them, but I could see that I did have areas where I could improve on. I would go out practicing as much as I could, working on my positioning, cornering, gear changes and recognising all the road signs. In the past I was guilty of relying on my car dashboard to tell me what speed zone I was in where now I see those 20 and 30 signs well before I come not them. I also enjoyed reading up on Road Craft which is the handbook which the police use as well as watching videos from Reg Local on topics such as cornering and gear changes.
I found that driving was enjoyable when I was completely focussed and that going around bends and keeping an eye on the limit point whilst ensuring I was in the right gear and the right speed at the right time was very satisfying. I learnt to recognise my own faults and knew when I had done a good drive and where I needed to work on.
I had quite a large gap due to lockdowns and restrictions with my observed sessions, but I ensured that I kept practicing at every opportunity I could when out driving.
After a pre-test check with another Observer, I was recommended to apply for my test. The thought of the test was a little daunting, but I was far more confident in my driving ability and felt ready. The test itself was actually really enjoyable and the Examiner put me at ease as soon as I met him. I ensured that I did some commentary as I wanted to show my Examiner that I also had the knowledge to back up my driving skills. I had spent hours reading books and going through the system of car control and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to share this. I was delighted therefore to be told that I passed with a ‘First’ grade.
I would highly recommend this driving course to anyone young or old. You will learn new skills and would become a safer driver. All the Observers are super friendly and volunteer their time freely with the sole aim of helping you improve your driving skills.