The Goodyear Driving Academy has three main parts, each giving children and their parents, the opportunity to learn important road safety information and preparing young people to become tomorrow's drivers.
The Goodyear Driving Academy Parent Pack is a booklet of ideas, activities and information for parents to use with their children. It covers everything from crossing the road as a pedestrian; speed limits; driving conditions; the highway code and vehicle maintenance. The booklet is very user friendly with illustrations throughout and includes ideas for games to play with children to raise their awareness of road safety. You can download a PDF version here: www.parents-matter.co.uk
The Driving Academy is a great online resource at drivingacademy.goodyear.com where children can learn the vital information and knowledge that they will need as future drivers. The basics of the highway code are presented as fun facts for kids to learn (also useful for polishing up road knowledge as an adult) plus there is a hazard perception game to give kids a taste of what it is like to be in control of a vehicle. It's fun as well as being educational. For car mad kids to teenagers about to sit their theory test, this is a great site. The girls have enjoyed trying out the game and have learned some useful highway code knowledge.
The Young Driver scheme gives children as young as 11 the chance to get behind the wheel and learn the basics of driving for real in a safe off-road environment. Youngsters get to drive a Skoda Citigo, fitted with Goodyear tyres, with a registered instructor, where they will learn the basics as well as manoeuvres such as reversing and parking. These young driver lessons take place around the country. Kizzy and Ella were invited to have a go at a Young Driver driving lesson at Crewe. Although Ella is now 18, she has been reluctant to start driving lessons and this was the perfect way to introduce her to driving a car for the first time. Kizzy is 11, which seems so young to take control of a vehicle, but is the perfect age to start learning the necessary skills and building confidence!
The Young Driver site in Crewe was situated in a huge car park area for Bentley Motors. Cones and road signs were laid out to create a road system where the cars could drive around. The girls checked in and were assigned their driving instructors. They headed out to their cars along with the other youngsters. After some preliminary checks and instruction, the girls were off, driving around the course independently.
The girls both did brilliantly. Kizzy (in the white car) was a natural at steering and completed a slalom course during her hour's lesson. Ella (in the red car) took really well to driving and even ended up parallel and reverse parking during her lesson. The instructors were really lovely, patient and friendly, giving good, clear instructions and advice. After just one lesson, Ella is now confident enough to take to the road for real and has the advantage of her experience. We plan to keep up Kizzy's driving lessons over the next few years and preparing her for when she is 17 and able to take her driving test.
Not only was this a real learning experience for the girls, they also had a lot of fun. It was brilliant watching them. They both received a Driving Diary for them to record their progress in, which can be handed over to their future driving instructors, who will then be able to tailor their lessons accordingly.
I was lucky enough to jump into the backseat of Ella's car to film part of the lesson. I was very proud of how cool and calm she remained, even with the pressure of having a passenger sat behind her, recording her every move.
The Young Driver lessons are a great investment in a child's future and would make a fantastic birthday gift. I still can't believe my 11 year old drove an actual car...what a fantastic experience!
Prices start at £31.99 and you can find out more at: www.youngdriver.eu
You can join in the conversation about the Goodyear Driving Academy and Young Driver on Twitter @goodyear_uk and @youngdriver