Since 2002, I have worked with private and commercial clients to improve driving skills, knowledge and best practice, with the aim of improving driver safety from motorways to mountains, from ATVs to LCVs.
I specialise in designing effective driver safety management courses for company cars, vans, 4x4s and ATVs, and in developing driving instructors who wish to enter the commercial fleet training market.
Having built and run my own driver training business, both as a director and as a subsidiary of a multi-national company, I understand the pressures involved in all aspects of the business. I’ve coached inexperienced candidates on courses, and ensured the effective delivery of large fleet contracts across the whole of the UK.
I’ve listed my driver training qualifications here, but I know that often a piece of paper doesn’t accurately tell the story of a person’s experience, philosophy and working practices, so I’ll outline a few thoughts:
Driver training is a thing of many parts, all of which need to fit together for it to work best. There is no driving course which can make anyone perfect. By putting things together, systematically, I work to ensure improvement in knowledge, skills and attitude during every interaction, with every client.
Driving courses have many advocates, though often we may feel that it is the ‘other person’ who needs one! When drivers were asked to rate their abilities on a scale from below average, through average to above average, unsurprisingly the vast majority assessed themselves as being ‘above average’.
Now as much as I approve of driver self assessment (an incredibly powerful tool when used correctly) this brought to mind a Douglas Adams phrase:
“All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”
I strongly feel that we need an integrated approach to improving driver safety and efficiency, from early years through to professionals driving specialist vehicles in testing environments. To discover effective solutions requires research and evidence gathering, testing, monitoring and feedback. Things many driver trainers have limited time for.
Unfortunately, there is little use of evidence within the driver training industry. What there is, has often been tested only with learners. Fleet training has had a few breakthroughs, with the advent of Stats 19, but until we have RIDDOR covering road incidents, we will still be making assumptions and extrapolating from home grown and foreign data.
At least this is better than trotting out the same old myths that have been around since the motor car was invented. Which leads me to a final quote, also unrelated to driver training but equally applicable, from Stephen Jay Gould:
“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.”
In 2006, I formed Beyond Driving and Beyond 4×4, and though I have now handed over the business to one of my colleagues, I am proud of the work I did building the brand into one capable of winning and fulfilling large contracts for driver and operator training.
I now work as a freelance trainer and consultant, specialising in 4×4 training for instructors. I write for several websites, and provide advice and assistance to a variety of organisations on driver and operator Health and Safety. I’m always excited by a new challenge, so if there’s a problem you think I can help with, please get in touch.