Young driver is a driving school aimed at under 17-year-olds. I first heard about Young Driver when I attended Blog On last year. At the time J was only four but I was impressed to see that with Young Driver children from as young as 5 could have the chance to have a driving lesson. Lessons start at £21.49 for 20 minutes for 5-10-year-olds.
Knowing how much J loves cars when Young Driver got in touch to see if we would like to review the experience I couldn’t say no. Young Driver has lessons all over the country with our nearest being at Manchester Etihad. We had to check when the first possible date after J’s 5th birthday was available. J’s birthday is the beginning of March but we had to wait until the end of April to get the lesson at Manchester Etihad Stadium. I told J on his birthday that now he was 5 he would be able to have a driving lesson. This was my first mistake as it was the longest time for him to wait, with him asking me every week if it was the end of April yet.
We had a few interesting conversations in that timeframe with the funniest one being when I realised he thought he would get to choose which car he wanted and that he could keep it. He was going on about putting a card in the window of the one he wanted, that’s when I realised he was on about reserving a car!.
When the day finally arrived he was so excited. I had booked the last slot of the day at 3.50 so I didn’t have to leave work too early on a Saturday. I actually think I was just as excited about the experience as he was. We arrived early to Manchester Etihad so that we could fill out a form, which I think was more aimed at the older children as it was mentioning ‘No using mobile devices whilst driving’ etc. There were already people having a lesson when we arrived so J got the chance to see what he would be doing first. He quickly started with the questions about how do the cars work, where are the exhausts etc.
When it was J’s turn to get in the car a member of staff got in the car with him and explained about the go and stop pedals. As this was the Firefly car it didn’t have gears as its just for the children to get the basic idea behind driving. Stop, go, giveway, reversing, looking the way you are going. J drove around with the staff member for around 5 minutes whilst he got the hang of it. Whilst he was going around the ‘track’ I heard J ask the Young Driver staff member about the horn. The guy pretended to beep when he pressed it but J is quick of the mark and I heard him say that the horn actually wasn’t working. No kidding this guy. I thought it was sweet of the guy to play along though.
The course is set out with plastic cones and there are miniature road signs dotted along the track. Unfortunately, because of the wind, a few of the cones ended up randomly in the middle which kept distracting J at first as he wanted to get out of the car and move them. The course is set out so that 2 cars can travel around at once meaning that at some point you will have to giveway to the other car. This is a great way of learning how to assess the situation when it comes to driving.
When J drove back around to me I got the chance to get in the car with him. The staff member explained to me that he was really good but he may need help with the steering occasionally as it was slightly heavy for him (he’s a small, just 5yr old). He also explained I could turn the car off with the key quickly if I needed to. This led to J asking him about other buttons and what they did. As soon as he knew it had lights he wanted to get out and see them working, the guy was good though and explained he would lose some driving time so he could see them at the end instead if he wanted to.
As we were driving around J kept saying to himself “big turn” which is obviously what the guy said to him. I think there were only a few occasions I had to help him. As D was also with us he got the chance to get in the car with J. Overal I was really impressed with the experience. At the end of the lesson, J received a plastic card driving license with his name on it. He has taken this into school to show his teacher and friends. I did have to explain to him that just because he had a license, it was only for the firefly car, it didn’t mean he could drive my car.
Young driver also offers driving lessons for 10-17-year-olds, these take place in a normal car. We got the chance to watch some people whilst we were waiting for J’s lesson. It seemed like they were really enjoying it and I know that I would have loved the experience of doing that when I was their age.
I think a Young Driver lesson would make an ideal present for a child aged 5-17 with for a birthday or any other reason. Children have so much nowadays that it is hard to think of ideas that are different than they won’t already have. I can see us using Young Driver again when J is older.
We recieved this lesson free of charge in return for an honest review.