Below are a few case studies, from customers that have taken a refresher driving course with us. We have tried to outline the broad range of clients we work with, to help them become safer, more confident drivers.
Mrs A, Surrey – A Promotion at Work & Motorway Fears:
Mrs K approached us as she had a promotion at work, which would involve a lot of traveling and motorway driving. She always avoided the motorway if possible.
“I would often take the longer rural non-motorway route if I had to travel a distance. But with work this would not be possible, especially if I have colleagues in the car with me. Motorways terrified me. I had to address this issue”
We arranged a full day session for her, which involved initially a chat about her driving history and why she found motorways so scary. It turned out that some years back she was involved in a near miss with a HGV, which pulled out in front of her, which really knocked her confidence. From that point she really didn’t like motorways, and the longer she left driving on motorways, the worst the fear became. During the session, we introduced her to motorways during a quieter time of the day. This gave her time to really get used to them again, without the added pressure of additional traffic. Our tutor, Chris reassured her, and put her at ease from the start.
Initially Chris noticed she was not looking that far into the distance, and her driving was rather reactive. Observation and planning are huge factors in making a safer more confident driver. Chris set about helping her improve her observation through commentary driving, and using a funnel type approach to her observation, expanding her observation field and scanning and asking “what if”.
She was amazed how much she could see and plan for – often seeing and preparing for hazards long before drivers in front saw. The session also looked at blind spots on HGVs and why it is vital not to sit in them. It was concluded that the near miss with the HGV, which triggered her motorway fears, was possibly down to her sat in the blind spot of the vehicle, which she had no idea about.
Improved observation and planning, using the system of car control really helped boost her confidence. She was not suddenly “reacting” to things (which compounded her anxiety) but seeing them well in advance, and planning. With rest breaks they covered around 250 miles of motorway driving. During that time they covered a huge amount of different situations, traffic types and a number of busy junctions, exits and merging traffic. Chris also outlined safety tips and what to do in the event of an emergency or breakdown on a motorway.
“Although I know I won’t ever be the worlds most confident driver, I certainly have really rediscovered my confidence in not just motorway driving but also on all types of roads. It’s amazing how you can apply advanced driving techniques to all elements of driving. I feel much happier now about using motorways thanks to this course and Chris”
Mrs M, Kent – Not Driven in 10 Years:
Mrs M came to us as she passed her test in 2007 and had drove for a few months after, then due to various reasons did not need to drive. Come 10 years later and she found herself needing to drive again.
This refresher driving course was bespoke to the needs of Mrs M. She didn’t suffer any form of driving anxiety, but she knew it was vital that she took a refresher course, split over 2 x 3.5hr sessions to regain her skills behind the wheel. The session started off as more of a learner session, where our tutor, John took her to a quieter residential area. For this session she decided to use a tutors car with dual controls. Initially the basics were covered, a familiarisation with the controls, and also an introduction to the features of modern day cars, such as “start-stop technology”. After some basic driving covering clutch use, steering, braking and mirror use, she was ready for more complex, busy roads.
The session was in two parts – to help her get up to speed with the basics of driving again, and then to learn more advanced techniques, which will make her safer behind the wheel – things she could take on board and further develop after the sessions were complete.
Having not driven for 10 years meant she was initially like a learner, but then very quickly advanced to that of a qualified driver. Having not driven for so long meant that she had not been subject to deeply engrained bad habits. A blank canvas if you will. John worked maximised this and introduced her to things like IPSGA (Information, Position, Speed, Gears, Acceleration) – a safe and systematic was of dealing with hazards. At the end of the session she has not only regained her “driving head” but she learnt some great skills to use for the rest of her driving career.
“I started out wanting someone to re-introduce me to driving, after so long. Not only did John do this, he give he some fabulous tips and techniques that I have taken away and will use when driving. A great help and much more than expected too”
Mr A, Yorkshire – Highly Experienced Driver, With Bad Habits:
Mr A booked a full day session to have a refresh of his driving. Over the years he felt he had picked up a number of bad habits and felt it was worthwhile to invest a day to help address these issues.
“I have drove close to 1 million miles in my 50 years of motoring. Whilst confident and not generally phased by much, I had started to realise there were some bad habits, which needed addressing”
The session was delivered by our tutor, Phil who has many years experience in driver training. The course started with an initial chat about Mr A’s driving history, and what he wanted to achieve from todays session. Phil started with an initial assessment drive, which lasted 30 minutes, so he could see the current level of driving being displayed. The results were recorded on one of our bespoke marking reports. The results were typical of an experienced driver; speed a little excessive, observation could be better, and an overly relaxed use of car controls, i.e hand resting on gearstick, whilst the other hand positioned at 12 o’clock.
The findings of the initial drive were discussed at some length and objectives for the training were set. For Mr A this was speed awareness, increasing his powers of observation, anticipation and building a driving plan, and also looking at more effective and safer use of car controls.
The coaching took place on a wide range of roads (motorway, town, rural), where he was introduced to commentary driving (speaking about what he can see), which really helped with planning. Over the session his driving style become more proactive, thanks to the commentary driving, and much less reactive. Better use of gears helped him with his speed, especially in urban environments, where 3rd gear in 30 limits was introduced. Perhaps the hardest part for him was remembering to keep two hands on the steering wheel. This was a badly engrained habit and would take some time to shift.
“The day has really been an eye opener. I became aware more of my bad habits, but most importantly I learnt how to undo them. The advanced skills I was introduced to has made me more skilful, and I feel driving is less stressful than it was before. I feel a certain pride has been put back into my driving.”