Bristol’s young Observer, by Hugh Raynor, aged 26

Blog post posted on 24/09/23 |

After passing his driving test at 17, Hugh moved on to complete the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving Course in 2019. A year later, he took and passed his Masters with the Bristol Advanced Motorists group, and since then, Hugh has become a local and national observer, where his passion for driving remains. 

Hugh small pic

Hugh says lots of things have changed in the relatively short time he has been on the road. "Technology has come a long way, with things like matrix headlights, automatic emergency braking, and electronic stability control." Each of these provides great improvements to vehicle safety. 

“One thing I’m slightly less keen on is the shift we seem to be making to the size of vehicles. We’re a nation of narrow country lanes and small parking spaces, and drivers are sitting so high up with such little visibility of what’s in front of them - this certainly makes me anxious in the middle of the school run.”   

Where it began  

In 2019, Hugh ordered a new car, going from a 56-bhp Polo to a 310-bhp Golf R, and soon realised he needed some guidance on how to handle a more powerful engine. After spotting an IAM RoadSmart keyring on his instructor's car keys, he decided he could do more to improve his driving skills.   

“I decided that keeping the car the right way up on the road was a priority of mine. The skills and experience I had from the DVSA test and my every-day driving experience didn’t prepare me for such a big jump in power and capability, certainly not enough to get the most of it! I saw that Bristol Advanced Motorists worked with the police to offer a full refund scheme upon passing the test for young drivers, so it was a really clear choice to sign up.”    

What I know now 

"Don't just look; observe." "It wasn't until I started my Advanced Driving Course that I realised how many valuable details and clues there are on the road if you look to the limit point and beyond; useful nuggets that you can include in your driving plan." 

Hugh says his achievements have encouraged some of his friends to take the course. "The various courses offered by IAM RoadSmart have really helped me to get the most out of my sports car in the safest way possible, and it's allowed me to enjoy it in ways I simply would never have been able to teach myself without the help of Bristol Advanced Motorists."