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Driver training: A worthwhile exercise?

  • Should you get more training and tuition?
  • We attend an Ultimate Car Control event
  • Effective course could prevent an accident

There is a tendency these days to not pursue additional training or education.

Many people learn a skill or procedure and simply leave it at that. Now, while they’re no doubt more than capable of carrying out their role, what if something unexpected happens?

The same can be applied to the driving test. Many people pass it and then just simply set about driving around.

Yes, they’ll garner some experience and knowledge as they rack up the miles but there are situations that they won’t experience until it’s too late.

The driver’s reaction at these points, like having to perform an emergency manoeuvre to avoid a collision, is critical.

Many accidents could be easily avoided, or made less serious, if the driver involved had more training and knew the best way to react. After all, the last thing you want to do is hurt someone.

Extra tuition has further potential benefits in that it could make you more relaxed and confident behind the wheel. This can make driving less stressful and tiring, further reducing the chance of an accident.

Consider this too: a company car driver who avoids a collision could also save the company money through reduced insurance, legal and repair costs.

There are numerous options when it comes to driver training. Throughout the UK there are a variety of driver courses and training facilities that are aimed at the company car driver.

These companies can supply the expertise, cars and support required to educate drivers about how to deal with certain situations and scenarios.

We attended a session hosted by a company called Ultimate Car Control, which operates a fleet driver training programme called “Excellence in Professional Driving.” 

Founded by former British Touring Car Champion Robb Gravett, Ultimate Car Control’s training course cover driver awareness, accident avoidance, defensive driving, safety systems and theory such as hazard perception and the Highway Code.

When you attend a course like this it can be a difficult to know what you’re actually going to get. Regardless of any information you might receive beforehand, judging how worthwhile a course can be is tricky.

Fortunately the Ultimate Car Control course is clearly explained right from the start. The driving section takes just one day as well, meaning you don’t need much time away from work.

Training takes place in a controlled environment, with cars supplied by Ultimate Car Control itself. All you have to do is turn up.

A fleet of Volvos are used for training, including the C30, XC90 and S60. This helps build a degree of familiarity with different vehicles and their characteristics. 

Throughout the day you’re provided with constant feedback in the form of briefings, demonstrations and one-to-one tuition in the cars.

Many aspects of car control and emergency avoidance are covered, including how to most effectively reduce your speed when you’re going too quickly without losing control.

You’re also given numerous pointers to help further improve your driving, such as looking further ahead and planning manoeuvres.

Overall, the course proved very worthwhile. It’s not until someone demonstrates the difference between a good and bad emergency manoeuvre that the difference in speeds and distances involved become apparent.

The training also made a marked difference to how we drove with cornering, acceleration and braking being carried out in a more controlled and forgiving fashion.

Should the worst ever happen, we would hopefully react in more appropriately too. This could potentially reduce the severity of any incident if it could not be avoided altogether.

Ultimate Car Control additionally states that companies whose employees have been through the scheme have seen up to a 47% reduction in accidents and a subsequent 37% drop in insurance premiums.

The company follows up drivers who have been on the course as well, helping them to retain the knowledge they’ve gleaned from the event.

While the courses can be expensive, it’s worth thinking about investing some money and time in driver training. It could just prevent an accident.

For more information about Ultimate Car Control’s courses click here.