With a Son having the name of a great racing driver as a middle name, I am perhaps a little worried that in later years he might try to live up to his namesake when he gets behind the wheel of a car. We’ve been trying to teach the children about road safety when we’ve been out walking and recently at school both children have had a road safety lesson. My Daughter was thrilled that they turned the school hall into a road and had the children pretending to be cars. But what about driving a real car, would you let your Child drive a car before the legal age of 17 at say age 5? And can I curb my Son’s inner racing driver?!
We went along to Young Driver who offer driving lessons for 5-17-year-old’s on specially adapted courses. Older children from ages 11-17 have lessons in real dual control cars with qualified instructors learning the skills they would on a road if they had their provisional license, whilst the 5-10’s drive specially designed cars called the Firefly. The Firefly features twin seats, headlights, independent suspension, twin electric motors and a top speed of 10 miles an hour. It’s an experience that gives them a taste of what it’s like to drive and my two children couldn’t wait to have a go.
Each child first had a go in the car with one of the qualified instructors, the emphasis of the lessons is on safety and they were taken around a small laid out course stopping at ‘Give Way’ signs, tackling roundabouts and encountering other traffic! My 8-year-old soon got the hang of it and then he was allowed to have a parent in the car. He chose Dad and off they went around the course.
Next was my 5 year olds turn, she looked so little in the car but the seats are adjustable. She listened intently to her instructor as he explained about the controls and the road signs and off they went in another of the Firefly’s. She took a bit longer to get the hang of it but after a few laps I was allowed to join her in the car. I’d seen that she had struggled a bit with the steering so I knew I had to keep an eye on this and so with a guiding hand on the steering wheel she drove me around. I didn’t dare take my eyes off her which is why I didn’t get any pictures of her inside the car. To say she has a relaxed attitude to steering would be an understatement!! I’m not sure if she just found the weight of the steering difficult or she’s just that laidback about it. The cars all have master kill switches so if we had got into any trouble the watching instructor can stop the power to the car, and we weren’t going fast enough for me to be that worried. We laughed all the way around the course and she made her wiggly way around the roundabouts. At one point she said “Mummy why do you keep saying steer?” and to think it was my Son I was worried about. Our twenty minutes flashed by and we all had a great time with the kids grinning from ear to ear.
Both children said they would like to have a go in the bigger cars when they’re older and it’s thought that younger drivers are more receptive to safety messages than older teenagers. If by having an experience like this can make the roads a safer place when the time comes for my kids to drive themselves then I think that can only be a good thing. Especially if they have the name of a racing driver on their license! Young Driver provided us with a lesson in the Firefly for the children for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are however my own.