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      08.10.2002 18:29

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      I recently went for an intensive three day driving course at john chambers in Blackpool and it was the best £200 I ever spent! If you read my review for BSM you will see that I have had terrible experiences with learning to drive in the past but John was amazing. Even though I have been very uptight and tense about driving he made me relaxed the whole time and completely changed my view on driving. Although I did not pass it was my first test and I only failed on being to hesitant and waiting too long at roundabouts and junctions which If you had seen how I was before could only be described as a miracle! Not only did I have a wonderful time driving but included in the fee was bed and Breakfast at a wonderful little hotel right next to the pleasure beach on the south end of Blackpool, only twenty minutes walk (or £1 tram fare) from the centre of town. Everything is so cheap there I spent very little money and came back with jeans, shoes, tops and some gorgeous bags. I have put in for my test again and hopefully I will remember everything John taught me and I will pass for sure. If you have trouble with you confidence, or your outlook on driving I would definitely recommend this course, he even does 8 day courses for beginners and he has a 72% pass rate.

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      14.06.2001 16:36
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      This opinion, Driving can still be a Joy, has been copied into this new more appropriate forum: Join the IAM. Driving can be a pleasure. The knack is to remove the pressure and replace it with a concentration of the mind on a balance of wits and skill. I have reached this state of affairs after a year's practice in applying the skills learned during the advanced driving course with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the IAM. This involves several hours of driving with an observer who has in turned passed his Advanced Driving, and a final observed drive with a police driving instructor who will recommend full membership to the IAM if you have achieved advanced driving skills. It is then up to you to practice and apply all that you have learned. First trick is to make driving a focused task, a matter of mindset. Put everything else out of your mind and set out applying as much attention to your driving as you would to all the issues you face every day at work and home. This re-focusing must be applied to every journey; whether it is returning home after a long frustrating day at work, delivering or collecting bickering children, leaving the supermarket having stood in endless queues, collecting the car after a long delayed train journey, business trips made under pressure to meet appointment times, any journey. Second trick is planned driving. A basic skill of advanced driving is a combination of improved observation skills and planned manoeuvres. The irritations of driving set in when other drivers cut you up, suddenly pull out, overtake, undertake, tailgate, pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes appearing from know where, etc. 99% of all your driving frustrations will be removed when, through improved observation, you will have anticipated all possible hazards on the road ahead. When driving there should be no surprises in store. The three pieces of information you always have are what you can see, what you canno
      t see and what you might reasonably expect to see. Third trick that removes all your driving frustrations is the sense of smugness. Planned manoeuvres allow you to glide through the traffic. A good example is the roundabout. You, the skilled driver, will have seen the rate of traffic joining the roundabout ahead, you are in the most advantageous lane, you have adjusted your speed, you are in the correct gear, you cruise onto the roundabout into the gap you have already targeted, you are around and away. You have already identified and are planning your path past the next set of hazards. Contrast this with your average fellow drivers who will have approached the roundabout, had to stop and wait. Had to rapidly accelerate, change gear and steer all at once to slip into a gap, get in whichever lane they can, look for their exit, change lane, steer change gear and accelerate again all at once before he is on his way. The average driver will say the volume of traffic frustrated him, other drivers were in the wrong lane, they didn't give way, they cut him up etc, etc. This average driver now leaves the roundabout irritated and even more stressed, his concentration is lost for a millisecond and he is unexpectedly across the next hazard. The badly placed traffic lights just off the roundabaout, the pedestrian crossing, the bus with the pedestrian and dog in front, the car parked half on the pavement, etc. The truth is the driver didn't foresee and plan the manoeuvres. The average driver is a danger to themselves and even more so to every other road user. New found observational skills are continually applied. Correct positioning maximises your visibility around and beyond potential hazards. Controlled rapid gaining of speed puts you well on your way and clears the path for those behind. With the right attitude your driving will continue to improve. Continually criticise your own driving and learn from every misjudgem
      ent. Learn from the mistakes of fellow drivers. Planning your manoeuvres on every stretch of every road becomes an art which you will enjoy, your journey times will seem much shorter, your passengers will get a smoother ride and you will enjoy driving for its own sake. You and everyone around will both be and feel safer. There is a smug pride in the new found skill in being able to cruise through most hazards; roundabouts, roadwork's, double bends, junctions, shopping streets, joining and leaving motorways. Driving is now a pleasure, I am more relaxed, have no frustration, nor do few other drivers frustrate me. I get from A to B quicker, within the speed limits, on less fuel and the pleasures of driving are re-kindled. Admittedly this may not apply to your daily crawl around the M25, for that you must plan your journey times to avoid the known rush hours. Contact your nearest IAM group and find out more.

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