The other day one of my pupils rather sheepishly asked me if it was OK if her dad came along on her next lesson as he wanted to see how she was doing. When I said yes of course she looked a little surprised. I explained that It's an unusual request but one that I was happy to accommodate especially when the pupil is having private practice between lessons. It's very common for a parent to (wrongly) assume that learning to drive is still the same as it was when they took their test back in the 1970's or 80's and teach their offspring the same way, including all the bad habits that they may have picked up through the years. Apart from the current driving test being longer, a lot more involved and certainly harder than the 'old' test, we as instructors are also looking to teach our pupils more than just vehicle control but also to instil the wider aspects of safe driving such as attitude to other road users within our lessons. In seeing and experiencing a lesson first hand it enables the parent to work 'with' and not against the instructor by offering their kids confusing or conflicting advice. There is also the added benefit that parents who sit in on a professional lesson can judge for themselves the quality of the tuition being provided which is important when you consider the investment of time, effort and of course, money. Next lesson dad did indeed come along and both he and my pupil enjoyed the experience with dad saying he would try to carry on the same level of tuition when he took his daughter out practising. Result!
Over the last couple of years I have been exploring the world of in-car dash cams as a way of recording the spurious 'goings on' in front of my car while out teaching. I originally settled on the 'Mobius' action cam for about a year as this gave good results at an affordable price. However, the 'Mobius' suffered from something which is common to all dash cams, reflection of the cars interior in the windscreen glass which quite often would spoil the recorded picture. In an effort to improve things I have recently been testing the 'Next Base' range which includes the 402G awarded the 2015 'Which Magazine' Best Buy, a great camera but one which still suffered from the pesky windscreen reflection problem. I then tried the next model in the range, the 512G which comes with a 'anti glare' polarising filter over the lens, a worlds first for a dash cam. This small addition makes a world of difference to the recorded picture quality and I now have one installed in my tuition vehicle. The video AND audio from these little camera's is simply amazing and means that I can constantly monitor and record the road ahead and should I have an accident the video would provide proof of liability to my insurance company. Some insurance companies now offer a reduction in premiums if a dash cam is fitted in your car.
As with most things in life, there are cheaper options BUT if you want a fantastic quality picture and sound from your dash cam I would highly recommend the Next Base 512G which is readily available from Halfords, Amazon and other good retailers.
In the 'olden days' when everything was in black and white, the only place a driving instructor could advertise was in the local paper or the yellow pages, both of which are all but extinct these days. Luckily after over 25 years of teaching I'm in a position to not need to advertise any more, but it doesn't do any harm to get your name 'out there', so I have occasionally offered a few 'half price vouchers' via my friends at Yorkshire Coast Radio. My latest batch of 5 vouchers went on sale at 8am this morning (Thursday) and had sold out by lunchtime which is great news and shows that there is a demand for such things. The vouchers get 5 new learners on the road at a reduced price but just as importantly get me some extra exposure on-line, on air and also some great free advertising on the Yorkshire Coast Radio website as we head into what is traditionally a quiet time of year. It's a very different world to the one I started in back in 1988 with a 8x1 classified advert in the Top Trader each week, but you have to move with the times. Looking forward to welcoming my 5 new students and the journey to making them into safe drivers.
These are the musings of Kevin Jewison ADI owner of this driving school and website.