Some time ago I was lucky enough to win a Young Driver lesson from The Olivier’s Madhouse. I had never heard of Young Driver lessons before, the lessons allow children aged 11 – 17 to get behind the wheel of a car and learn to drive. The lessons take place on private property and there are 33 venues across the UK. The one nearest me is at the Metro Centre in Gatehead. I wasn’t sure what to expect, it is a long time since I had driving lessons. When I learnt to drive cars only had three gears, the theory test did not exist and parallel parking was not part of the driving test. I have memories of learning on a trading estate and spending ages trying to get the car to move off. It was a bit like a kangaroo at first, jumping up and down as I tried to master clutch control. I was really interested to see what the young driver lessons would be like. It was really easy to book the lesson on-line and when it was time we headed off to drive.
The lesson itself took place in the Metro Centre coach park. A large section of the car park had been cordoned off and there were about fifteen or sixteen cars available for the driving lessons. We had to go into a temporary hut to sign in and then waited a few minutes for the lesson to start. My son was really quite excited to see what was like to drive a real car. He has driven go-karts before and more recently diggers at Diggerland, but a car on a road is a little different. The cars are Skoda Citygo, which are a nice size for learning in and all have dual control. Soon it was time for the lesson to start and my son set off with his instructor.
I expected them to take a while before they actually started off but they were off and driving within a couple of minutes. The track was quite large so they were able to drive up and down with plenty of room. They also had to practice avoiding other cars on the road.
At one point they spent some time going round and round the cones in tight curves which was great for steering practice. The cones were quite close together so it must have been quite hard for a first time driver.
Once the lesson had finished my son received a log book which showed what level he had achieved and what he needed to work on next time. If he goes back for another lesson this will mean he can progress onto the next stage. He thoroughly enjoyed the driving lesson but he was absolutely shattered when he had finished. I don’t think he realised quite how much concentration it actually takes to drive a car. He is now a lot more considerate when I am driving. I think that the Young Driver Lessons are a great idea and may well take my son back for a couple more. You can find more information about Young Driver lessons on their website.