Rather than seeing resolutions come to a grinding halt by mid-January, why not try making 2011 the year when you advance your on-road skills, to improve your driving, riding or cycling enjoyment and the safety of you and those around you. The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) have some thoughts on this matter…
Peter Rodger, IAM Chief Examiner, says, “Continuous personal development is often top of the mind at this time of year, but our skill as a driver, rider or cyclist can get taken for granted. Whichever way you travel, making it safer and more efficient is a worthwhile goal for the New Year.
1. Research has found that nearly half of women and more than a third of men feel taking an advanced driving course would boost their confidence. Skill for Life, the course for which the IAM is most famously known, is available at £139 for car drivers and motorcyclists, and is a great way of improving confidence, safety, and even gaining reduced insurance premiums.
2. The Department of Health recommends that people should take part in moderately intensive activity lasting 30 minutes at least five days a week. Cycling is a great candidate for this, but if you don’t yet feel confident getting out and about on your bike, take a look at the IAM’s How to be a better cyclist, or take some training, with three courses to suit all levels of riding experience.
3. Motorcycling is fun and offers a sense of freedom that just can’t be found in a car, but it is also potentially a lot more dangerous. For new riders of sub-125cc motorcycles and scooters, Road Rider Plus is a half-day training assessment with a qualified, professional MCITA trainer, designed to build up your experience post CBT, but pre-test.
4. With post-test training in countries such as Austria showing results of a 30 per cent reduction in young driver fatalities, building up experience through education is the way forward. The IAM would like to see extra training made compulsory but in the meantime why not try Momentum, a new young driver product soon to be available from the IAM. The programme consists of two parts; an online assessment that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, and a 60-minute on-road, general assessment by a qualified IAM examiner. With no test involved, this is a great way of discovering how good you already are, and areas you could improve on.
5. Enjoying safe driving into old age is the key to freedom and access to facilities so there has never been a better time to try Drive Check 55, the IAM assessment for the more mature driver.
6. And most importantly? Get out and practise. Research shows that women living with a partner are more likely to let them take the wheel on long journeys together, and are also less confident. Women are quite likely to be left as the primary driver later on in life, so take the initiative now, and gain as much experience and confidence as possible.