Here are some of the best places that you can take your kids for driving experience and pre-driving lesson driving lessons:
The AA don’t just offer roadside assistance, they can also be on hand to get your kids behind the wheel. Aimed at 13-16 year olds, the AA Driving School provides a safe, controlled and stress-free environment for teenagers to experience driving for the first time. The lessons only cover the basics of accelerating, stopping, steering, changing gears and manoeuvring, so there will be no tearing it around the track for the overzealous Lewis Hamilton wannabes – but then there’s always go-karting for that.
There’s an old saying in sports that if you’re good enough then you’re old enough but the folks at Mercedes-Benz fail to see what competence has to do with it at all. The motto at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, Surrey, is: “If you’re tall enough then you’re old enough”. By ‘tall’ they mean 1.5m and by ‘enough’ they mean that you have to at least be able to reach the brake pedal. Their 30 minutes and 1 hour courses for under 16s go a bit further than your average conservative introductions to the world of driving. They take the little whippersnappers through the basics and then head straight onto the famous Brooklands circuit for some dynamic handling and skid management lessons. These are courses designed to get young adults introduced to the fundamentals of driving at a young age and perhaps even progress them into the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy.
If you’re after driving experiences then SIlverstone is the place to go. The legendary racetrack is not only the official home of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix but it is also the host of some of the world’s greatest driving experiences, and they don’t only cater for adults with driving licences. Kids too can get the chance to ride around the same circuit that has been driven on by every F1 superstar in the history of the sport. The driving experiences for ‘rookies’, as they call them, cater for ages 13 plus and offer the choice between driving lessons in a Renault Clio 200 Cu, scooter lessons on a Yamaha JogRR 50cc or for the thrill seekers an adrenaline-pumping, high-speed drive around the classic circuit with an expert instructor behind the wheel.
Over at ŠKODA they’re not looking for the new Michael Schumacher with their under-17 driving lessons. ŠKODA’s research suggests that motoring accidents in young drivers can be reduced by 40% through providing under-17s with driver training. This isn’t surprising considering that 20% of new drivers are involved in some sort of road incident within 6 months of passing theirs tests. So in response ŠKODA has helped set up ‘Young Driver’, the UK’s only nationwide driving school for children aged 11 to 17. Motoring expert Quentin Wilson described the lessons as “a road safety revolution” after his son took part in the course. Wilson’s enthusiasm for ŠKODA’s scheme makes complete sense but what doesn’t make any sense is that SEAT’s website claims to be responsible for the exact same driving scheme and link to the same ‘Young Driver’ website. They even both use Wilson’s quote as their own. Watching the video the cars all look like ŠKODAs to me and the explanation is probably that uber-parent company Volkswagen is actually behind the whole thing.
On first inspection one would assume that a company called Drive B4 U Turn 17 were frugal character saving experts (they’ve even managed to get ‘U-Turn’ in there) but under the txt-style title of their website they soon make up for any letters that have been saved by stating “Under 17 Driving Lessons for 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16 year olds”. Well at least they’re thorough with the age specification. I would have gone for 10-16 myself but anyway, moving on through their site their opening gambit is: “If you are aged 10 to 17 and can’t wait to learn to drive”… hang on. Now I’m confused. I thought it was only driving lessons for 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16 year olds? Also I’m very concerned about these 10 year olds out there who are so eager to drive that they are scouring the internet for underage lessons. I’ll let it go anyway, so Drive B4 U Turn 17 also claims that they “can teach young drivers from age 10 provided they can reach the car pedals.” Hang on now we’re just back to “if you’re tall enough then you’re old enough”. You know what, just have a flick through their website yourself.