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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year


2015 is final upon us. And since it's the start of a new year many may be making New Years Resolutions today.  Whether it's 'be more organised' or  'lose weight' I bet not too many people will be adding 'improve my driving skills' to their list. As an observer with IAM and the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists, driver improvement is something of an ongoing project. I advise from experience, training and resources like the ‘How to be a Better Driver - Advanced Motoring’ handbook and ‘Roadcraft’. It wouldn't be right telling others, often many years senior to myself - better ways to drive without consistently looking at my own driving. 

We all make mistakes and one of the skills on an advanced motorists is self evaluation. When we make a mistake (and we all do at some point in our drive) we'll analyse it later. It’s something that we could all do if we where to step back and think for a moment. After all we have all passed a test to qualify to drive on the UK roads.

So why not add an advanced driving course to your list this year. We carry out the IAM'S ‘Skill for Life’ programme. At the Kent Group we hold sessions on the first Sunday of the month at Maidstone and Kingston Village. At Maidstone, your have around an hours lecture covering The System, Driving Plans and Motorways over a four month period. You'll head out in your own car with an observer each month who will advise and guide you through the process of becoming a better driver. Most will then go on to complete a test whereby an examiner who holds or once held a class one police driving licence will assess your skills. 

These examiners are arguable the best drivers in the UK. They are not out to catch you out, they want the same as you and I. For safer driving around the county and across the country. 

If this interests you why not join us in fulling your New Years Resolution and take up the challenge of becoming an Advanced Driver. 

My New Years resolution is not only continue evaluating my own driving skills but to also be more organised.  And since I am not only an observer with the Kent Group, but also the Social Media and Website co-ordinators it brings me neatly onto some of the group's plans for 2015. 

Our Vice Chairman and Events secretary has been busy filling the places available for a range guest speakers for our evening social events. We have David Larkin from the Highways Agency talking about the Dartford Crossing and the new toll system. And throughout the year examiner Lester Parsons Will be reciting some tells and stories during his time in the police force. We’ll also be going to the dogs… by way of Greyhound Racing at Sittingbourne. Our Annual Dinner will be towards the end of the year as will (dare I say the C word so early on in 2015…) The Christmas Quiz. All our events are posted on our website right here.

These events are open to those who have just joined us, associates who are at present becoming an Advanced Driver, full members who have passed their test and observers. 

If your still not sure about joining us and wish to speak to someone, Our Outside Events Team will be attending a number of public events throughout the year. Bearsted Classic Car show, The Kent County Show and the Maidstone Mela to name just a few.  And since we now cover the whole of Kent, we'll be visiting events right across the county to promote Advanced Driving. We also making a number of visits to the Kent Safety Store at Bluewater throughout the busiest weekends of the shopping year. So please come and meet us and feel free to ask any questions you may have. 

If you can’t wait to ask however, you might find some answers on our website. Re-vamped in October you might just find what your looking for. You’ve already found our blog. Here we’ll have regular updates, with general motoring news, group news, congratulations on those who have passed their Advanced Test and of course driving tips.  We are also on Facebook and Twitter where short driving tips are often posted.

2015 is already shaping up to be a busy one.  But that’s no excuse not to join as and become an Advanced Driver. After all, we welcome those who wish to be safer on our roads.


Happy New Year. And safe journeys throughout 2015


Graham Aylard has been an Advanced Driver for around 10 years, has been a local observer for the Mid-Kent and Kent Group for four years and recently passed his National Observer test. He is  also the Website and Social Media co-ordinator for the group. If you wish to contact him, feel free to do so at online@kentiam.org.uk

The views in this post and others made by Graham are of his views and not necessarily those of the IAM or the Kent Group of Advanced Motoring. 

Image from www.christmasstockimages.com and used under the Creative Commons licensing 

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