Kent Group of Advanced Motorists leads drive against 'road rage'
Motorists pick up tips on better driving and steering clear of the perils on the road
Councillor Geraldine Dyer, Mayor of Ashford, joined around 50 visitors this week at a car confidence evening devoted to self-help and safer driving, hosted by Kia, Hyundai and Mazda retailer Ashford Orbital.
There was so much to learn about car maintenance, eco-driving, roadside get-you-home tips, driving safely and how to ward off a possible 'road rage' attacker. Following a recent spate of stories about aggressive driving in the national media, local motorists attending a Drive to Arrive evening at Ashford Orbital in early June turned out to learn more about driving in today's stressful conditions.
There was advice on motoring in today's stressful driving conditions and dealing with behind-the-wheel bullies, explored by Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) driving specialist Mike Lyne, who invited members of the audience to share their experiences - often with dramatic revelations about their own driving behaviour when under pressure. "It's aggressive and angry behaviour behind the wheel that creates the sorts of incidents we have all been reading about in the news. It usually starts with something minor - a flash of the headlights, a sound of a horn, then a bit of verbal abuse and the next thing is there's an ugly confrontation - or worse. Mouthing 'sorry' can often prevent a minor incident from turning into road rage," said Mike.
"In places like the local supermarket everyone's polite. It's 'after you', 'no, after you', but not on the road. I think people mostly get aggressive behind the wheel because of stress and the car becomes an extension of us," he added.
Others were surprised to discover that they were often aggressors themselves. "I'd pip my horn," one woman protested. "Yes," countered Mike, "but that's inviting trouble and will increase your stress level and, if you're wound up, you're going to pay less attention to the road."
Jill Taylor and Linda Davies, group chairman of the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists representatives of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, were on hand to discuss their organisation's various advanced driving courses with interested visitors.
The security tips and safe driving presentation over, the visitors then headed for Ashford Orbital's workshops. Here, volunteers needed no encouragement to try their hand at changing a car wheel under the expert supervision of the Kia, Hyundai and Mazda dealership's service technicians and were given practical advice including dealing with roadside emergencies, weekly car maintenance and checking oil and fluid levels.
Sandra Adair, an occupational therapist at the William Harvey Hospital, welcomed Ashford Orbital's practical approach: "I have to do a lot of driving in my job and I don't think people can afford any longer to ignore the dangers on our roads," she confessed. "Ashford Orbital's Drive to Arrive evening was well organised and great fun too. I feel that I have learned something useful about my car today.
"I certainly found the economy driving and motorists' self-help workshops extremely useful and Ashford Orbital's technicians and staff were very helpful and considerate. I'm sure that classes like this will help people a great deal," added Sandra.
Lydia Norris, who works for Kent County Council, agreed that the practical approach was best: "I thought the advice on dealing with 'road rage' was excellent and I learned a lot. I would recommend this course to other drivers. Courses like these equip drivers to take control in these situations and be better able to cope with today's road conditions," she said.
Mayor Cllr Geraldine Dyer added: "I been to an Ashford Orbital event like this before and they are always excellent. I found the Drive to Arrive course entertaining, informative and very educational. I would certainly like to see other car dealerships following their excellent example."