A few weeks ago we were invited to review the Admiral Young Driver experience. My sister is 15 and has been really looking forward to learning to drive since she was about 10 years old. So when I was given the opportunity to review for Young Driver I know exactly who would be the person for the job.
We were given the option of several local driving centres, one of which is 5 minutes from my house so an ideal location. To book our session all they needed was my sister's name and date of birth which we provided and were good to go.
On the day of the experience we went out for a cup of tea and a bit of lunch before heading to Towcester Racecourse. Unfortunately it was quite overcast that day and very windy but that wasn't going to stop us. We went into a marquee and were greeted by a very friendly young man who checked us in and handed Ellie her own Young Drivers log book. We went and took a seat whilst we waited for her instructor to arrive and help me and I help myself to a nice cup of tea.
A few minutes later the instructor walked in and introduced herself she was called Mandy which just happens to be our Mum's name and put my sister is at ease straight away. Mandy explained which car they would be in and how the experience would go before taking Ellie out of the car and I followed to see how they got on.
In the car where they sat for 10 minutes as Mandy went through the initial controls explain the basics. It took a while for Ellie to get used to the car and it's biting point but when she got the knack of it she was off! I watched as they circled around the track carrying out a number of different manoeuvres including reverse parallel parking which is something I still struggle with myself and driving in and out of cones which is quite tricky for a beginner.
There were lots of other young drivers having the experience as well so I stayed and talked to some parents who had nothing but good things to say about the experiences. Most of the children there of a similar age to Ellie or a little younger as the experience is aimed for children aged 10 to 17.
When her hour was up Ellie was guided back to the start point by Mandy where she reversed next to the other cars and they even had a little high five because she done such a good job. She got out of the car she was beaming from ear to ear, the nerves that she had earlier on in the day had vanished and she seemed really pleased with herself.
We were also able to get a video from inside the car which you can buy for £14.99. This allowed us to see things from Ellie's perspective and was great for her to watch back later, if a little bit embarrassing (nobody likes to see themselves on camera).
Overall we thought that the Young Drivers experience is great for getting to know the ins and outs of the car and the basics before starting official driving lessons. I wish I had had it when I was her age and if you complete the full training you can get a high discount on Admiral Car Insurance which is a bonus in itself. I must admit I think the lessons are quite high highly priced at just over £60 for one hour, definitely not a teenager could afford to pay for themselves but an ideal gift for birthdays and Christmas.
When you think the average person needs 40 hours behind the wheel before going for a driving test most lessons are about £20 an hour so if you can reduce that cost down by learning beforehand and then reducing your car insurance then it is well worth while. I would recommend this as a confidence building exercise too because Ellie was very anxious before getting in the car and was buzzing all afternoon because she was so proud of herself and what she had achieved.