Autumn has arrived in England and the scenery is changing. The trees are turning from green to gold, letting go of their old coat of leaves in anticipation of the winter.
We’re just starting to experience a few colder starts which I’m sure are what’s changing the mood of the morning greetings from a cheery “hello good morning” to the hurried “morning”.
My mornings are changing too, in response to my surroundings however what’s not changing is my love of coaching drivers. I still wake up each day with the excitement of meeting others and helping them on their ‘driving’ journeys.
I meet so many interesting people that no two days are the same.
Last week I had an interesting encounter which I would like to share with you.
I met a lady, who I will refer to as Jane (name has been changed to protect confidentiality) for refresher driver training.
She was someone who had passed their test over 35 years ago but had not driven for over two years.
She was a tall elegant lady who appeared very confident and independent, she lived in a picturesque village where door numbers appeared to be taboo, every residence had a name.
We started the session with a discussion about Jane’s hope and fears for the training. Straight away without hesitation she said “I’m so scared of driving in the town, it’s too busy!”
It turned out a change in Jane’s circumstances meant she was going to be moving to a bigger town. She told me it was to live with her daughter, in order to help out with her grandchildren so driving again would be essential.
After our conversation I understood that Jane had been involved in a situation on a busy in town road, where she had felt intimidated by other drivers.
Partly because she had been on an unfamiliar road but also because she was driving a smaller car than the other road users ( smart car). I reassured her that I was here to help support and guide her to overcome some of the barriers she felt were stopping her from driving.
We made a plan for our drive and set off. We covered her favourite routes, ones that took her to the shops in neighbouring villages, one that she used to take to get her hair done and lastly we tackled the town.
Now, I’ve not mentioned to you that she had got a new car in preparation for her move, a top of the range VW Golf. And our training was taking place in this car it was very comfortable, but I had noticed that Jane liked the accelerator and the speed it gave her!
Much of the session so far had been focused on speed awareness. Anyway we were approaching the town when a tractor came into view, nothing out of the ordinary on a country road but something else was, a motorcyclist who was speeding and trying to overtake blocks of traffic. We could see his behaviour in our rear view mirror.
We had positioned ourselves to account for any issues through some forward planning but the motorcyclist hadn’t. He was veering left and right partly due to his speed but also the bumps on the road.
He went past us and misjudged the tractor nearly taking out the oncoming car. I prompted Jane to respond appropriately so that we were safe. The motorcyclist went over a bump and skidded across into a field.
We stopped after checking our mirrors and position to see if he was ok. He had taken a jolt but was still in good spirits able to move just concerned about his bike and about how silly he may have looked. After being reassured he was ok we left him and continued on.
I thought to myself that this would definitely have put doubts into Jane’s mind about driving again, but when I looked to see her expression, her eyes were twinkling and she was grinning.
We continued our session and Jane became more chatty and confident as we went on. At the end of the session in our debrief I told her that her driving was fairly sound she just needed to pay attention to the speed requirements.
I advised her to start driving with her daughter sitting in to help build on her confidence, and I wished her good luck with her move.
She turned to me shocked and said Kenny “I want to have more training with you”, to which I replied that it was not necessary but why did she feel that way.