Occupation: Computer programmer
Current Level: Advanced
How long have you been driving?
I had my first lesson on the roads on my 17th birthday, so I have been driving for over 20 years now. I did learn the basics when I was in my early teens. My uncle had some land and an ancient tractor which he let me drive. It was probably about 20-30 years old at the time. It had a hand throttle, no syncromesh and only the left brake worked, so when you came to a stop the front would jump round in an arc. Not at all like the Nissan Sunny I learnt in when I think about it, but the 3-point turns and reversing were the same!
How long have you been an Advanced Driver?
I passed my test a year or so ago. I took my first test earlier that year, but my nerves got the better of me and made a huge mess of it. The examiner was good about it though and with great support from the group and some extra practice drives I took the test again (with the same examiner) and managed to pass this time.
Why did you decide to take the test?
I have been intending to do it ever since I started driving, but somehow it didn’t get to the top of the priority list. I thought that it would help with my confidence, make me a better driver and reduce my chances of being involved in an incident. It has certainly helped with the first two and I’m hoping it will with the last. I should have done it years ago!
I would like to try for the Masters at some point, so who knows?
What do you currently drive & what do you think of it?
I had never planned on buying an automatic because the ones I have driven always seem to take some of the enjoyment out of driving. However, when looking for my current car I ended up going for a test drive in a Skoda Octavia with a DSG gearbox. It has 7 gears, is very smooth, economical and is brilliant in heavy traffic. It also performs well on country drives and is very responsive when accelerating. I was sold on the idea and bought it. It has been great doing the advanced driving in it and I have really enjoyed it.
What bad habits of other drivers annoy you?
Tailgating is probably the thing that annoys me the most. There are so many needless incidents on the road that could easily have been avoided if a suitable stopping distance had been left.
What is your favourite car?
This has got to be a Land Rover. I have never owned one (maybe one day), but I have done 3 off road driving experiences (Discovery, 90 and 110) and have been absolutely amazed by what they can do. Driving them off-road really gets your heart going and is quite demanding, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Come to think of it, it wasn’t that dissimilar to my advanced test!