As IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Retraining, I’m in the thick of it when it comes to the commercial side of the business. However, learning about the charity side of the organisation is something I’ve been keen on knowing more about. So when I was invited to my local group’s recent event, I used this opportunity to mingle with members and find out more about what they do.
Lichfield Advanced Motorists held its Young Drivers event on Tuesday 14 August. Curborough Sprint Circuit was kindly offered to the group free of charge, with Baron Davenport making a donation to help fund this event.
The generosity from local businesses was overwhelming, with Sytner Tamworth providing a Mini Cooper S for 17 to 26 year olds to use in their ‘taster’ session of advanced driving techniques under the expert guidance of the group’s qualified observers.
Non-drivers in the 14-to-17 year old category were given the opportunity to experience two other circuits in dual controlled driving school cars with local qualified driving instructors. Not only was this a great way of engaging young vulnerable drivers, it was an opportunity to be able to discuss the importance of road safety and the role IAM RoadSmart plays.
I was surprised when I heard that this was the group’s first Young Driver event as it was so well organised and thought out – and there was a great variety of other businesses who got on board to support the event.
DHL provided a great practical exercise to demonstrate blind spots from a lorry driver’s perspective. This was a real eye-opener for these drivers and their families, as they were able to experience how the position of their vehicle and others around them can seriously affect a lorry driver’s view.
Other driving experts attended the event to talk about electric cars and the technology changes that are happening to the vehicle industry. Continental Tyres and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue also set up displays to demonstrate important road safety messages to youngsters and their families who attended the event.
As well as providing freebies and educational resources such as our new e-learning modules, the group hosted a raffle where five lucky winners won an on-road module, worth £49 each.
Although the prime purpose of the event was raising awareness of key road safety messages, I have to admit that one of my highlights of the day was when I was introduced to actor Margaret Jackman from Game of Thrones! SPOILER ALERT: the one who attempts to kill Aria at the end of season six.
As well as being a villain in the show, she’s actually a member of Lichfield Advanced Motorists! After chatting to her about road safety and (of course) her role in such a massive TV show, I managed to snap a selfie to send to my son who’s a massive Game of Thrones fan.
I have to give credit to Grahame Ottewell, Secretary of Lichfield Advanced Motorists, and the group as a whole for organising this event, it was run professionally and smoothly. Sessions were staggered throughout the day so that everyone had the opportunity to try out all of the activities, and I even learnt a thing or two!It was made even better by hearing all the positive feedback from attendees, their families and our members. It’s important that we engage with young drivers to give them a positive learning experience when it comes to road safety, and I think there should be more events like this one accessible to younger drivers across the UK.