Young Driver Experience – A day to Remember

Could you imagine learning to drive before the age of 17?

At Young Driver, a center that gives children from the age of 10 an opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience driving with a qualified instructor. Children can learn to drive at one of the 60 UK centers where they are taught in a specially designed training area. The training area includes; sharp bends, mini round-about, parking spaces, traffic lights, and junctions.

Young Driver follow the Driving Standards Agency curriculum, which means that what 10 – 17s learn at YOUNG DRIVER is exactly the same as they will learn on the road at 17. The children are given a Drive Diary to record their progress and this is one of the most important parts of the programme – moving forward is the aim!

Their personalised Drive Diary charts individual progress and current level of driving and is completed by the instructor after each driving session. The instructor talks them through it and explains where they could do with some more help or whether they can progress to the next step. The Drive Diary can be given over to their driving instructor when they begin their official lessons at the age of 17 and the instructor will then know what their experience level is.

 

My son, who is 14 years old, was lucky enough to be invited along to the Bluewater Center to experience for himself what it is like to drive a car. The center itself, is situated within the blue car park at Bluewater shopping center. There is a section of car park outside that is specifically designed for a  beginners’ zone, that has a full road system with traffic signs, road markings, junctions and parking zones. In this way it encourages responsible driving.

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As soon as we had arrived, he was called up by his instructor and taken along to the car that he would be driving. Before he could turn the key he underwent a safety check and was taught how to use the mirrors, signal and when to manoeuvre. He had full control over the steering wheel and pedals, however the instructor had pedals that would over power his if an accident were to happen. He started off slowly, to get used to the feel of the steering and clutch. Not long on the road and he was soon snaking in-between cones and maneuvering the car into a figure of eight in the parking lot. Whilst, he was driving he was continuously given advise and constructive criticism from the instructor. He spent 60 minutes out on the road, building up his confidence and learning some important skills of control and responsibility. He now knows how to drive safely and properly, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of other 17 year olds.

His instructor was fantastic, professional and made him feel safe at all times.

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Since his experience, he has become more road aware and is definitely more confident and prepared for when he can hit the road.

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We made a video of his experience

My son certainly left with a big smile on his face and is now eager to get behind the wheel.

I would highly recommend the experience for any young child who wants to get ahead of their peers and become a much safer driver. A very valuable and worthwhile experience.

30 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £34.95

60 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £64.95

To find out more about the experience or to make a booking, head on over to their website www.youngdriver.com

We was given this experience for the purpose of this review.

My 2017 To Do List

I am not calling it a bucket list, as I do not want to tick things off of a list prior to kicking the bucket. This is a list of things that I hope to achieve during the year of 2017. Last year I was diagnosed with an illness that has me realise that you need to live for the day. Do what you want and don’t let others stop you from enjoying life.

There are many things that I have not done in the past due to being worried what I would look like or what would others think. I may sound like a cat having a fight when i sing but this year I plan on letting other shear my beautiful voice and not give a damn on what they think or say behind my back

This year I plan on being a year for firsts. I plan on enjoying myself and gaining more confidence daily.

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Top of my list is to Kick Cancers Ass! I will keep fighting for as long as i breathe for the sake of my boys. It’s important to keep my immune system strong and to live a healthy lifestyle. That’s where taking up jogging and entering races comes into it. I want to think about my fitness as well as eating well.

The holidays abroad and to the UK are already booked. We have a holiday to Malta, that we stay in my brothers apartment and the holiday in the UK is to a Haven site that we like to go to. It’s down on the south coast, near to Hastings, called Combe Haven. The children love this site and the location is beautiful.

I am not very good when it comes to entering the sea. It’s the fish swimming around my body and touching me that freaks me out. The thought of even putting a toe in the sea where there is fish swimming makes me cringe. I just don’t like the feel of it. So I would like to overcome my fear and swim with my boys this summer in the sea and try to forget that there are little slimy critters that will swim by. I also would like to join in on the boys fun and jump into the sea from the rocks in Malta. My boys love doing this and Malta has many beautiful places that offer people the chance to do so.

I have no confidence what so ever when it comes to driving the car, so I aim to spend more time behind the wheel and less time on my feet and riding public transport.

By camping I mean in a tent and not glamping that we did last year. Even if it means putting a tent up in the garden and sleeping under the stars there, then that is what we will do. We can light a fire out there and toast some nice big marshmallows for our evening treat.

I enjoy cycling and love my bicycle. It’s a folding bike so handy for me to get on the tube into London. I’ve never entered a cycling race before and it’s something that I have thought a lot of since the summer. I don’t think I could manage a long distance race but I do rather fancy a the London to southend one. Although that is quite far.

This year will hopefully see us move home to a bigger house. We have sold and bought a new home bit just awaiting all the paperwork to got through. I am looking forward to keeping it minimal and uncluttered, unlike our home is now. If all runs smoothly we shall have 4 bedrooms, a bedroom each for the boys and a bigger garden. We have so many plans for the new home, including building a conservatory, a porch and removing the current garage and replacing it with a new brick building for the boys to have as a playroom. 

What will this year bring you?

So you have a ‘to do list’? 

Thank you for reading. Pop a comment below and say hi 🙂

 

 

Why I am not confident at Driving

To whom it may concern

I woke up this morning after not a very good night sleep as i was fretting about having to drive the car, You see i am not a confident driver and it is people like you that doesn’t help my condition.

I see myself as i good driver, i have also been told by passengers of mine that i drive well

  • I have never had an accident with another car, lampost, tree or kerb
  • I drive at a comfortable speed for me and my three young children in the car
  • I have never had a speeding ticket, although i do not drive under the speed limit i drive at a reasonable speed depending on my surroundings and the road that i am on
  • No i do not pull away at traffic lights and junctions very fast, I pull away when it is safe and i will not cut anyone up just so the driver behind me can get a car ahead/2 seconds further down the road
  • I drive safely as not to put my children in danger

Today i drove to my sisters house, 6 miles away, i was slightly nervous in driving but i was also feeling good about getting into the car as i have had a few previous trips out recently and really enjoyed the drive.

As i approached the traffic lights they turned red so i stopped pulled up my handbrake and put the gears in neutral, the car has a problem with cutting out and as i go to pull away on Amber, i stall the car, clearly my fault, i put my hand up to apologise to you behind me and i start up the car quickly and pulled away. You and one other car get through the lights leaving two behind, SO why do you feel the need to call me names, rant and rave behind you driving wheel, waving your arms everywhere and giving me hand gestures? Yes i stalled the car, Yes i apologised for my actions but is it really necessary to behave in such a manner! Did i really affect the time of your journey that much?

If i was walking down the street and you was behind me and i had to stop because i tripped up or maybe dropped my purse would you hurl abuse at me there and then in public in the eye of other adults and children? Would you swear at me and call me names? I doubt it!

I drove along the road for 5 minutes with you tailgating me, bullying me!

Well let me tell you one thing, I am only human and i do make mistakes but I am a good person and I would never do anything to anyone to cause harm or conflict.

RANT OVER!

 

I hope this post doesn’t annoy anyone just needed a little rant 

My Fear of Driving

For those of you that know me would have read my previous post from last year about my fear of driving and how i dread the time when i have to sit in the drivers seat and drive the car.

If i know that i am going to have to drive somewhere i will not sleep and i have to work out my route in my head which obviously winds me up to a point that when it comes to the time that i have to drive the car I am in such a state, I can’t breathe, I shake and end up having a panic attack.

Things that run through my head prior to driving:

  • The route that i need to take to get to my destination, making sure that i don’t have to drive up hills, near big round a bouts, down slim roads and that there isn’t many buses on the route.
  • What to bring in the car to keep the children entertained so they don’t end up disturbing me whilst driving
  • What would happen if i have an accident
  • Where all of the buttons and gadgets are in the car
  • How i’m meant to park the car
  • What if i don’t drive at the correct speed that other drivers want me to drive at
  • What if i don’y pull away from the traffic lights quick enough
  • What if i stall the car

This year so far i have driven the car twice, once at 8am on a Sunday morning when it was really quiet to drop the eldest off to drama band call  and the other time was back from the local leisure centre, both times was only about 1.5 miles away.

Yesterday i received a phone call from the other half, he had cycled the long way home from work and had got a puncture and when he got out his spare he realised that it had a puncture too so he asked me to go and pick him up. The moment i heard those words, i felt sick! He was 11 miles away in a place called Theydon Bois, which i had no idea how to get to, It was 7.30pm in the evening, so i decided to wait a while until the traffic had died down. I packed the children into the car, got the Sat Nav ready for the route, took some of my Rescue Remedy and i was ready to go. As i sat in the drivers seat my legs began to shake, my throat was dry and my heart was pumping away so fast it felt like it was in my mouth. Whilst driving my hands were sweating so much that they kept slipping on the driving wheel and everytime i stopped and had to use my clutch to pull away my legs was shaking so much i couldn’t control it, I controlled my breathing by taking long deep breathes and tried not to panic. I managed to get to the pub where he was waiting in half hour, which wasn’t bad, as i pulled up in the car park and stopped the car, i took a deep breathe, i was shaking all over and my legs had gone numb, but i had made it in one piece!

I was really proud of myself and yes i did come to a lot of traffic lights, a lot hills, a lot of little round a bouts, not much traffic and a couple of country roads but i went at my own speed and i had the eldest in the car helping me with the directions as he was looking at the Sat Nav and shouting out what roads i had turn on to. The boys congratulated when we got there and told me that i drove well, bless them!

Apparently i didn’t have the air conditioning on properly and I didn’t park the car up straight enough in the car park but apart from that i encountered no other problems. The car has so many buttons all over it I have no idea what half of them do and what does it matter if the car is slightly wonky, we wasn’t staying there long anyway 🙂

As my trip didn’t go too bad you never know i may be taking a few more trips during the summer holidays, i would love to just get into the car without thinking about anything and take the children out for the day, visit my mum or even just to go shopping.

Watch this space!

Facing my fear! 76/365

It’s been months since I last sat in the drivers seat and driven the car, I blogged in the new year that my New Years resolution was to face my fear driving and to try and get out in the car.

Whilst out with the family today and on our way back from Costco Paul pulled into Sporthouse (our local sport centre) and he asked me to turn the car round whilst he went into the centre to enquire about something, I didn’t do too bad with the reversing but I couldn’t get it into the parking space. After a few attempts I gave up and just sat there like a numpty with my back end sticking out, luckily we wasn’t on a main road!

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I drove the car back to our house which is about a mile away, I started panicking when I came to a space in the road where two cars wouldn’t fit through and I noticed another car coming towards me, Paul told me calm down and just wait until a gap within the cars became available for me to fit through, I managed to get us back home all in one piece although I hyperventilated all the way back!

New Years Resolution! Face My Fear Of Driving

There could be only one main New Years resolution for me and that would be to face my fear of driving! Although i have had my driving licence now for 3 years now i have probably only driven the car about 20 times, im not kidding i really do not go out in the car unless I’m a passenger! I blogged about my fear back in May 2012 and received some fabulous feedback, some words of encouragement and some from people who also suffer from the same as me. I thought it was just me that feared me hands on the steering wheel but it seems that there are many people out there that feel the same as me and go through hell as well when it comes to sitting in a driver’s seat. I look at other drivers whilst out walking or as a passenger in a car and watch them zipping in and out of traffic like they are on a racing track oozing with confidence. I don’t feel at ease with my car and definitely don’t feel like she is my best friend or that i would be lost without he, yes i call her ‘she’ but that’s not because i am close to her but probably because she emptied by bank account and cost a small fortune. People tell me that i shall become more comfortable in time once driving around a bit more and my confidence will grow but it seems to have gone the other way! I haven’t driven the car for about 3 months now and since buying the new car back in May I think i have only been in the driver’s seat a handful of times. I feel that the car is way too big for me and fear driving such a huge strong vehicle, you see we used to have a Peugeot estate but now we have a Ford Galaxy 7 seater and my fear is not only other drivers and having an accident but it is now that i may scratch it! My legs shake uncontrollably when i know i have to drive into a car park, the thought of finding a space big enough for me to manoeuvre the car in to haunts me. My throat becomes dry and my heart beats in a rapid tempo when i see traffic lights up ahead, i think about stalling the car so much that my leg shakes and it results in me stalling the car more than once and as i have been threatened before by some horrible men in a car for not pulling away quick enough i fear that my lack of acceleration may cause trouble.

I do want to drive and make my family proud of me, i want to pull up at football and let the eldest out and sit in comfort whilst watching him run around the pitch instead of getting wet in the rain, standing in the wind and shivering in the cold for an hour and a half, i want to visit my Mummy who lives 34 miles away (longest 34 miles of my life when im driving!) when i have a day off work with the children, i want to be able to go shopping and buy anything i want no matter the size or weight as i don’t have to think about how I’m going to get it home, I don’t want to sit in an over packed, smelly, rickety bus no more! I want to visit friends and family without thinking about my journey and working it out in my head how i’m going to get there without going over a hill, round a roundabout or hitting too many traffic lights!

Above all and the most important one is i want to be proud of myself for facing my fear and beating it, so this year 2013 i promise i will take more trips in the car even if they are small ones or just a drive around the block they will be done and hopefully by the summer i will be zipping around in my huge MPV oozing confidence and taking my family out on day trips (maybe i shouldn’t push it that far! lol) So if you see me on the road piddling along at a comfortable speed please don’t beep me for being too slow or call me names for not pulling away quick enough or threaten me for sitting at a junction waiting for a big enough space for me to pull out in, please think about what it has taken for me to get into the car and take my children out for a drive! It may be a slow process but it’s one i feel that it’s one that needs to be addressed!

What’s your New Years Resolution?

Thank you for reading my post, i shall update you all on my progress throughout the year