In December my nephew Leo turned 12 years old. For those who don’t know he has Cerebral Palsy so everyday tasks are more difficult for him. Thanks to fundraising he was able to have a life changing operation which enabled him to walk. Leo is a kid that has pretty much everything he wants so knowing what to buy that won’t be put to the sidelines is difficult. A few months back I found out about Young Driver. Driving Lessons for children aged between 5-17 years old! With the 10-17 year olds learning in a proper 5 door car. I knew that Leo would love it and what’s more, he could do it!
Admiral Young Driver
Young Driver encourages 17 year olds and under to drive to help them become safer drivers when on the road. According to them, 20% of newly qualified drivers will crash within 6 months of passing their tests. For youngsters that have taken Young Driver lessons this drop to under 10% – halving accidents. Young Drivers is also fully inclusive! They cater for a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and use automatics cars with hand controls for those who need to use them. So for us, it was great! After speaking to my sister (Leo’s mum) she felt that he was able to use the standard car, but it was great knowing that an alternative would be available for future lessons.
At the moment Young Driver currently has 62 venues all over the country and our closest (thankfully) is in Peterborough. Lessons start at £36.45 for 30 minutes or £67.95 for an hour and there is also the option to add in-car video as an extra for £14.99. If you choose to pay for the in-car video you are given an SD card and card reader to use the lesson is then recorded on a split screen with one camera facing the driver and the other facing the road.
The Cars which are used are Vauxhall Corsa 5 door Hatchback SRi VX-Line 1.4i Ecoflex 5 speed. They have a 4-star Euro NCAP safety rating, 6 airbags and Electronic stability control. They are really low fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions is also quite low.
We were booked in at 10 am for Leo’s half an hour lesson and arrived at Peterborough Arena at about quarter to 10. There is plenty of signage en route to let you know where to go and where to park which made things a lot easier. When we walked in we were met by a really lovely lady (i forgot to get her name) who very quickly booked us in. She handed Leo his driving diary which is a record of his lessons so if he was to come back again the next instructor would know what he has learnt. She also reminded me of the in-car video option which in the end decided to buy.
We ran into a few difficulties in getting the card payment to go through despite having money in my account. In the end, it took over 20 minutes to sort out which meant Leo ran into his lesson time. He was introduced to his instructor Neil (who again, was really lovely) and they left to start the lesson (taking the SD card) and leaving me to finish sorting the payment. It turned out to be a simple address issue which after a call to the head office was swiftly resolved. When booking you do have the option to add it on and I would recommend you do it. It will save a lot of time!
For the adults, there is an option to sit in the car with them, wait outside and watch (as much as you can) or wait inside. I decided to wait outside to try and get some photos. Despite being freezing cold every time I saw Leo as he drove by he was beaming! The rest of the lesson went by really quickly and was great to see Leo reverse into a car parking space at the end!
Driving an actual car!
It is rather an odd feeling watching a 12 year old control a car and I pretty much stood amazed that he was driving. It didn’t take long for him to get the hang of things and he managed a sneaky wave to me once he spotted me watching. His lesson finished at 10.30 so despite not getting out there until gone 10am due to the card issue the time wasn’t compensated at the end. So be warned if for whatever reason you run a little late due to the bookings you won’t get the time back (even if it wasn’t your fault).
Neil did say to me at the end that he had control of the brakes and clutch and let Leo use the accelerator pedal and steering wheel. He gave Leo his driving diary and took him inside to get it stamped. Leo loved it! and couldn’t stop talking about it all the way home.
I am really glad that I got the footage as it gave an insight into what happens without being there. I think I would have probably put him off driving if I had sat in the car with him. We couldn’t wait to get home and pop the SD card into the laptop to see the footage. On the card was 6 videos the first 4 were 2 minutes long and the last 2 were 30 seconds long. The recording wasn’t of all the lesson which was a shame. The majority of the footage we did get was great, but there was a lot of camera movements. Neil was having to readjust and reattach it often. I am not sure how much time was lost with him doing it if any at all.
Take a look at the video below – This is all the footage combined.
Despite the little problems we faced with buying the in-car footage (I so wish I had added it on at the beginning) it was fantastic! Leo really enjoyed himself and came out beaming. He wants to keep coming back for more lessons (Sorry sis!) and is really looking forward to driving!
*This is a collaborative post*