My eldest was recently given the chance to drive a car.
Yes you read that right, a 10 year old in a car. A proper, fully functioning car.
I must admit initially I was a bit nervous letting her do this as had visions of her crashing straight into a wall or something, but she completely surprised me! (With trained instructors that was unlikely to happen anyway!!)
So why under 17 year olds in cars when they can’t legally drive?
According to Admiral Young Driver research has shown that early driving experience cuts road accidents by 40%. Anything that can cut road accidents by 40% is a good thing!
Peace of Mind
The cars used by Admiral Young Driver are new Skoda cars fitted with dual controls. In addition to this Admiral Young Driver have a child protection policy in place with all their instructors being DBS checked.
You have a choice of a 30 minute lesson or a 60 minute lesson in the Skoda:
30 minutes: £34.95
60 minutes: £64.95
We experienced the 60 minute lesson and could clearly see her confidence building up as the lesson progressed.
To be able to drive the car you must be a minimum of 1.4m. My eldest was just over this but even then she needed a cushion and the instructor also mentioned that she did find it hard to see the cones in the road. On that basis I personally will be waiting until she has grown a bit more before even considering any more lessons. NOTE: although the cars in the pictures/video say 11-17, Admiral Young Driver have recently reduced the age to 10.
Our lesson was held in Leicester at the National Space Centre. It is one of Admiral Young Drivers new venues and they are planning to open 10-15 more venues this year. So it will be worth checking later if there isn’t currently a venue near you.
You have the option to have the lesson filmed for £14.99 with the in car camera. However, as my eldest is a bit camera shy she opted out of this (even though I wanted her to get it filmed).
Once you are signed in and told who your instructor is you head over to the cars and await your turn. The instructor teaches you about adjusting the cars seat and mirrors before you set off and also explains the controls. We didn’t have to wait long before she set off in the car.
With your first lesson you get a Drive Diary which explains all the different levels. There are 6 different lessons which obviously get more complex as you have more lessons.
In addition to that you can record your progress with the instructor signing the page once you have completed the level. There is also lesson diary pages in which the instructor can write down what you need more practice on.
The whole process was very well organised; we had to sign in at the Space Centre and then head over to where the lessons were taking place and await our turn. The instructors already knew who they were giving lessons to so simply called out your name when they were ready.
As my eldest was getting in the car there was a slight disagreement between two of the instructors which I felt could have waited until there were no drivers around. However it did not affect the lesson itself. My eldest loved her lesson, and I could clearly see her confidence growing as the time went on and she relaxed with her instructor. The hour literally flew by.
Would I give her more lessons? She HAS asked if she can have more as she loved the experience so much. However I personally will be waiting as she is a bit taller so she can clearly see out of the car and around her as she did struggle a bit.
A fantastic one off experience for now but we will likely make use of more lessons when she is slightly older.
Disclosure: We were offered a 60 minute lesson for the purposes of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.