Yesterday our 13 year old twin daughters got to do something that most kids their age can only dream of. It was also something that made me the coolest mother around, which is no mean feat in of itself!
They had a driving lesson!
If you cast your mind back to my teen girls stocking filler post back in December I mentioned driving lessons for 11-17 year olds. I think I was just as excited as them when Young Driver offered us two lessons for the girls to give it a go and see what they thought of the whole driving thing.
The closest Young Driver venue to us is in Cardiff. When I had a look to find out where it was I was surprised to discover that it is on top of a car park that we have used a hundred times before! Yup, the driving school is on the roof level of St David’s Shopping Center. They certainly kept that one quiet. There are 27 other sites around the country, there might be one near you and you didn’t even realise!
As advised we arrived a little early and were greeted by the lady at the reception desk. She told the girls who their instructors were, gave them their Driving Diaries and the company’s magazine. We then set about waiting, which probably would have been a nicer experience if we didn’t have a toddler that was set on running outside. Luckily there were barriers that he couldn’t get past and there was enough of us to keep him vaguely occupied inside, away from the freezing cold!
E&Ff were a little apprehensive but also very excited during this wait. In E’s own words afterwards ‘I thought I was going to drive off the edge and die’ (talk about being slightly over-dramatic!). They read through their diaries to find out what they were likely to do during their lesson.
Stage one: Starting and stopping the car, moving away, changing gears and steering.
Then it was finally time! They each made their way to their car. E was in the white and Ff, the red. There was at least 10 brand new, dual control Skodas that I could see.
So they both managed to start their cars, they pulled off and turned left to follow the route laid out with no stalling, although slightly iffy steering! They didn’t come out of first gear themselves, but I expect the instructor used the dual controls to put them in second. Saying that they were going VERY slow, so maybe not!
From the spectators area you can’t see the whole of the driving route but according to the girls there was just a stretch of ‘road’ with places to pull over at the sides to practice maneuvers. From what we could see there was a route laid out with cones and this is where they practiced steering, plus giving way to traffic.
Due to being quite high up and with the low winter sun I struggled to get many decent pictures. The kids all seemed to be squinting as they drove past so the first few weren’t very good, full of squints, nerves and deep concentration! But I managed to get some toward the end with more relaxed, even smiling, faces.
After 30 minutes, and quite a few laps around the track, they reverse parked their cars and came back grinning from ear to ear. They’d had a fantastic time! They have already made plans to ask for a lesson for birthdays and Christmases too!
E&Ff had a 30 minute lesson each which would cost £31.99.
You can also book 1 hour lessons at a cost of £59.99
There is a special offer on at the moment to buy six lessons for the price of five, which is a great deal if you are planning on block booking.
I asked the girls whether 30 minutes was enough and they said that although they would have liked longer it didn’t feel like they were rushed or that it was too short a lesson.
Young Driver also offer birthday parties,there was one going on when we arrived and the kids all looked extremely happy, you can find out more details about booking parties here.
I think these Young Driver lessons are a brilliant idea! What I really liked was that it was all very serious. I mean the kids had a LOT of fun and the instructors were obviously experienced with teenagers and were lovely, but it was a real driving lesson through and through. It wasn’t a ‘come and have a go in a car’ session. What they learnt was exactly the same as you would learn in a normal 17+ driving lesson.
The cost is quite high, but I expect the company’s insurance premiums are exorbitant so this is understandable. Also, research shows that it is a lack of driving experience that causes 1 in 5 newly qualified drivers to crash, within 6 months of passing their tests. These lesson’s can only help youngsters gain that extra bit of experience and make them safer once they do pass their tests!
What do you think about these driving lessons for teenagers? Do you think they are a good idea?
***disclaimer: We were provided with the lessons for the purposes of this review, however, all thoughts and opinions are honest and our own.***