Older, wiser and driving for love: diary of an advanced driver

Blog post posted on 14/02/17 |

I took my first advanced driving test in September 1976 at the age of 30. I had thought about doing this for so long as I was a professional driver at the time but like so many people I thought: “Why should I volunteer for this when I have a license to drive?” I did however want to prove that I could drive better than. Mr. Average and be able to discuss the finer points of driving with at least some authority.

The big day arrived and my VW Beetle was checked over and sparkling clean and there I was waiting in Old Windsor to meet my examiner. Sadly the weather forecast was not ideal with heavy showers and bright sunshine in between.

My examiner was a really nice chap and I found my nerves settled quite quickly after some reassuring words from him that emphasised the fact that a pass or fail would not affect my right to drive; failing however was not in my mind on this day.

After a journey around A roads, B roads, towns and motorways for what seemed like a lot longer than an hour-and-a-half we arrived back in Old Windsor. The delight I felt when I was told I had indeed passed is hard to describe but it has proved to be the turning point in my attitude to driving.

Since I started driving at the age of 17 I have driven for a living for many years, this has included HGV's, Luton vans, a vast array of cars and many, many others. I am an avid motor racing fan and have raced karts in and outdoors.

I can credit Jackie Stewart and his brilliant way of explaining how to drive a racing car to get the best out of it for my seeking to be able to drive better, not faster as such: but to be able to make good progress swiftly and smoothly. Jackie’s favourite saying was: “If you just slow down a bit you will go faster.” My miles driven are now in excess of one million.

I am now 70 years old and over the years I have done many driving courses which have included skid control, circuit driving as well as road craft and advanced assessments.

When browsing through the IAM RoadSmart website one day I noticed the F1RST register and I felt this was something I really wanted to try, so in 2013 I applied to IAM RoadSmart for a re-test, taking it in the September - 37 years after my first.

The Beetle that I used to take that first test has well gone and I was now in my Audi A4 with a variable ratio automatic gearbox, much more relaxing to drive. I am very happy to say that not only did I pass but I achieved a F1RST and in so doing now have my name added to the register, a truly great feeling.

Roy Craig, High Wycombe Group of Advanced Motorists