Eloise Peabody-Rolf - IAM RoadSmart Young Driver Ambassador
I am passionate about driver and road safety, particularly for young drivers, as I am one myself! However I’m not your typical teenager driving simply to get from point A to B, I like to go that extra mile.
Although, as teenagers, we haven’t been on the road long, most of us sadly know a friend, or a friend of a friend, who has been injured or died because of a car accident. This group are vulnerable, indeed 1 in 4 young drivers 18-24 crash within 2 years of passing their driving test.
Although, tragic, I hope this can be channelled into positive energy to improve and better understand driver and road safety.
My passion for driving really began, with the Under 17 Car Club (U17CC). The U17CC, was an enjoyable experience through which I made life-long friends whilst learning vital skills to prepare me for being on the road.The U17CC is a partner of IAM RoadSmart, and a national road safety charity which teaches young people (11-17) to drive to a high standard before they are allowed on public roads. It’s method of learning is based on Roadcraft, and it has over 30 events a year, allowing members to gain experience and have fun.
Throughout our time in the U17CC we participate in a wide variety of activities, and are encouraged to drive a range of different cars to understand their differing dynamics. To date, this has allowed me to drive 342 different vehicles including Aston Martins, Trabant, Reliant Robin, MG TD 1950, double decker buses and trucks and a lot of ordinary family cars! As well as being great fun, activities such as this teach members ‘road safety by stealth’.
Following the U17CC and achieving its final grade, at 17 I began driving on the road. Shortly after I passed my DVSA Test, I had the great opportunity to take part in the MPG Marathon with Honda UK. This annual test of ultra-economical driving, was a really interesting, and potentially useful, addition to my driving experience. Although, we were perceived as underdogs due to our age, Rory Carmichael and myself had, had a lot of experience with the U17CC which really helped us. The result? We came 5th with an impressive 93.8mpg, proving it’s the right attitude towards driving that matters.
The U17CC and IAM’s strong links provides a natural progression for U17CC members who turn 17. They’re used to the club’s structured grading system, and as they gain experience on the road, the advanced test is a very logical step. For me, I jumped at the chance, and took it 7 weeks after passing my DVSA test. I feel that, even though I am one of the younger members of the IAM, I really do share the passion of its members.
As you know there are some great events to celebrate the IAM RoadSmart’s momentous Anniversary coming up in July, on the 2nd for Bikes and 9th for Cars.
I’m honoured to have been asked to be part of the Forum Panel on the 9th of July. As one of my fellow panellists, Sue Baker, said; “it’s terrific to have such a good spread of youth and age for the event”. I hope I will bring a different perspective to the panel. Check out the press release here.
On the 9th too, I highly recommend you visit the U17CC stand which will be in the Drive Zone area. Have a chat, learn more about their approach, and if you have teenagers (11-17) with you, let them have a drive!
The event is free to take part in, but pre-registering is highly recommended as spaces are likely to go fast. To pre-register, email Support@iam.org.uk with details of your young driver.
I am looking forward to meeting many of you on the 9th.