Like father, like daughter

Blog post posted on 11/06/20 |

In this week's blog, Kate Tonge, IAM RoadSmart Director of Marketing & Communications, writes about her father's love of Advanced Driving and his commitment to road safety, and the impact these had on her own driving.

This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad. As it approaches I’ve been reflecting on all the life lessons he taught me over the years and I realised my commitment to road safety is definitely part of his legacy.

Dad drove many miles every year on business. He was often driving very early in the morning or late at night.

He had an unerring sense of direction and was forever taking us on ‘Deane’s Detours’ using off-the-beaten-track routes to get us safely from A to B. It never mattered where we were in the country, he always knew how to wiggle round road works, avoid congestion and show us spectacular views and out of the way places.  He made every road trip an adventure, something he shared with his grandchildren as well, when they were small.

I don’t know what inspired him to take his Advanced Driving test but take it he did, when I was in my teens.

Dad loved learning, and that might be why he chose to take the course. He was an infinitely practical man so the hands-on approach of observed drives and in-car coaching that prepares you for your advanced test was ideally suited to his style of learning.

As I was learning to drive, dad’s patience and calmness under pressure when I went out on practice drives was confidence-building. It’s only now I’ve been the passenger for my own children learning to drive, I fully appreciate what a challenge that can be. He would have been a great Observer.

I also remember him using driving commentary which was compulsory when he took his test. We still encourage spoken thought today and many people report that, like him, it helps them stay focused on the road ahead and concentrated on their driving or riding.

Some of these driving principles must have must have sunk in with me subliminally, because when I returned home from university and starting to clock up my own business miles, I took him up on his offer to put me through my advanced driving course.

Aged 21, I learned a good deal to consolidate my driving skills, develop my driving confidence and help keep me, and eventually my own family, safer on the roads.

Road safety has been a recurring theme in my career, culminating in joining the IAM RoadSmart team in 2018.  When I started, dad said he would take his Advanced Driving test again. The business miles may have diminished in retirement but he still firmly believed that the skills he learned were keeping him – and others – safer on the roads.

Sadly, he wasn’t able to do that. But I know he would be supportive of and interested in hearing about our ongoing efforts to ensure the return back to greater driving freedom is as safe as possible for all those who use the roads, as we gradually emerge from our locked down limitations on driving and riding.

- Ends -

For details of IAM RoadSmart's Father's Day gift options visit: