At first when I heard that children could start driving at specialised courses from as young as 10 in a full sized car, I could not quite believe it. Part of me thought the idea was crazy and how on earth could children manage to drive a car being that small – then I realised, I am actually the height of a 10 year old and have no problems what so ever. Nathan was excited to be chosen to go along to the Young Driver School in Salford, Manchester to have his first ever lesson earlier this year. Though slightly nervous, he donned his lucky cap and gloves in an effort to make him not crash.
Our instructor, Oliver, put Nathan at ease right away with some jokes and let me keep watch from the back seat of the Skoda’s which they were using to drive around a track laid out with cones (Cars on the Young Driver sites are now Vauxhall Corsa’s). The track included junctions and roundabout layouts so it could give learners a sense of what it is like driving on a real road system and not just going round and round in circles.
The lesson lasted an hour, and Nathan got to grips with driving a manual car, something I don’t even do as I only passed in an automatic, and he jumped ahead to level three in the training book which at the end of the lesson was signed off by Oliver and given to Nathan so when he comes back again his instructor will know what level to pitch the lesson at. Nathan took on roundabouts, left and right turns, an emergency stop and even reverse parking into a bay! Much more than my first lesson when I was just learning to drive which seemed to be an hour of the instructor telling me how to use an indicator.
Nathan settled into his lesson and loved the full hours worth of driving time though he did say that he can understand how I can say that I am tired after a long drive because he did find it very exhausting because of the level of concentration needed. From a parents point of view I was really surprised at how quickly the kids pick up on the basics and it did give me food for thought as to at what age should lessons start and is it good knowledge and road safety knowledge for kids to have. Nathan did agree that the driving lessons helped with the road safety test when he recently completed his Bike Ability as he was more aware of road dangers and hazards.
Many parents are scared that their child may think that as they have driven a car on a track day with Young Driver that this will mean they will think that its ok to take the car keys and go off joyriding, when in fact I think it gives children more of a clear understanding of the dangers of driving as discourages reckless driving.
We were very impressed by the Young Driver course and Nathan would very much like to take further lessons with them, at least a couple of times a year as he is already keen to pass his test as early as he can. Lessons start at £34.95 for a 30 minute lesson, but prices differ across the country with special offers available so it is worth checking for you local lesson site and also the birthday party offers that they have available too.
We were gifted a one hour lesson with Young Driver and provided the video footage from the in car dash cam which we will be uploading to our YouTube Channel very soon. All thoughts are our own.