Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, has welcomed a new fleet of adapted vehicles, making the scheme accessible to even more people.
Five brand new and specially adapted Vauxhall Corsas are now available to give lessons at various venues across the country. The automatic cars operate by hand control, so are suitable for people with a range of disabilities. With cars stationed in the South, North, Midlands and Scotland, lessons can be provided at sites including Bluewater, Brent Cross, Manchester, the NEC and Edinburgh.
Young Driver is a driving school with a difference, with tuition available to anyone over the age of 10. Because lessons take place on private property, at more than 50 venues nationwide, the rules of the road do not apply. This means it opens up the experience to people who may not otherwise, legally, be able to get behind the wheel of a car.
The scheme regularly works with people who have disabilities including those who are blind, deaf, have prosthetic limbs, are in wheelchairs, or have learning disabilities, or development or neurological disorders. There is no upper age limit – the lessons aren’t restricted to under 17s – so Young Driver can provide the opportunity to try driving to people of any age.
The specially adapted vehicles have a manual push/pull device next to the Corsa’s steering wheel, allowing drivers to control the speed of the vehicle. This is combined with a steering ball to allow the vehicle to be steered with one hand, freeing the other to operate the speed controls. The vehicles are dual controlled, ensuring an instructor is always able to take charge of the vehicle quickly and easily if needed.
The lessons mirror those you would take on the road at 17 and are given by fully qualified and experienced Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). As well as the specially adapted cars, standard manual Vauxhall Corsas are also available. A road system is set out at venues, allowing for two-way traffic, and with special areas for practising skills such as parking, reversing, steering and emergency braking.
Laura White, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “We aim to be as inclusive as possible, so we want to allow those who may not otherwise get a chance to try driving the opportunity to get behind a wheel. Sometimes this can be a precursor to having on-the-road lessons and getting a licence, and sometimes it can be just a chance to experience driving as an activity. It can be hard for teens to see their friends learning to drive, and this gives them the opportunity to see what it’s like for themselves. If they will eventually be allowed on the roads, it also gives them the opportunity to gain confidence in a safe environment, building up those skills by practicing for longer – which is how everyone improves!
“All of our Approved Driving Instructors are well equipped to deal with all learners, no matter what their age or what special requirements they might have. We get lovely comments from learners and parents about how patient and calm they are, but they just love bringing a smile to someone’s face as they realise they’re actually in control of a vehicle!”
Young Driver launched in 2009 and has since delivered more than 500,000 lessons. The aim of the scheme is to create a safer next generation of drivers. One in five young people have an accident within six months of passing their test, but for Young Driver past-pupils this falls to one in 10.
For more information about Young Driver go to www.youngdriver.com or call 0844 371 9010.