A 26-year-old Sue Cole passed her driving test on her third attempt in 1986 and has enjoyed driving ever since.
Now retired, she spent many years working at a girl’s school in Malvern, Worcestershire, where she was often behind the wheel of the school minibus four or five times a week taking students to and from trips. “I used to enjoy driving the mini-bus. I liked the extra height because it offered a great view,” she says, adding that she also felt the immense responsibility of ensuring the safety of “other people’s daughters”.
Then last Christmas, Sue’s partner Paul gave her the opportunity to take IAM RoadSmart’s Mature Driver Review. He was already taking IAM RoadSmart’s Advanced Rider Course, after passing his Advanced Driver Course last year. Paul plans to volunteer for the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers – a country-wide volunteer force of bikers who take blood, platelets, and human milk across the country to wherever they are needed. They only accept Advanced Riders, and just before this article went to press Paul passed his Riders Test. He will now go on to complete more training before joining the Blood Biker’s army of volunteer riders.
Sue also wanted to take the Advanced Driving Course, but Paul suggested it might be a good idea for her to complete the Mature Driver Review first. “That seemed like an excellent idea. While I was working at the school, I used to retake the minibus test every three years and every time it came around, I found it useful.”
The Review took just over one hour with Sue driving her car, a Rover 400 T reg, in and around Malvern with IAM RoadSmart’s Bob Chambers in the passenger seat. “He’s a very experienced, ex-police driver,” she says, adding that Bob was very calm and welcoming, putting her at her ease.
“He started the hour explaining what it would entail and stressed that he wasn’t going to be judgemental. He did make some comments about my use of gears, and allowing myself more time to react, but was happy about my use of mirrors. He also mentioned that I have a habit of leaving my hand on the gear stick a little too long, but overall was confident in my driving and I was awarded my certificate.”
Sue now believes that going on to take the Advanced Driver Course will be a good idea, particularly because the roads are so much busier than when she took her test 36 years ago. “The roads have changed so much since the 1980s. Other drivers can be so selfish and arrogant, even on quiet country lanes around Malvern.” And she certainly recommends the Mature Driver Review to other drivers.
“Everyone should have a review. To think that we go from 17 to 70 without anyone looking at our driving…I certainly think it’s something we should all do.”
What to expect in your Mature Driver Review
IAM RoadSmart’s Mature Driver Review offers the opportunity to have a trusted second opinion on your driving. It will boost your skills and confidence, plus reassure yourself and others about your driving ability.
It is a one-hour session in which an IAM RoadSmart expert will join you on a drive around your local roads and offer guidance, hints, and tips to improve your driving. And don’t worry – it’s not a test, just an excellent way to ensure your driving skills are as sharp as they should be.
For more information about the Mature Driver Review visit: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/courses/mature-driver-review