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Advanced Driving Lessons

Anyone know of anywhere that will do car specific advanced driving lessons?

Im going to be very honest here. In comparison to my previous cars the 172 scares me a bit at speed. Im not quite sure when she will let go of the road, Im not chucking it about like I used to with the CRXs Ive had. Its not that the car doesnt feel capable but Im not used to something with such a hard suspension. For example I was zipping along nicely with a Merc 320E on the motorway, I was matching it and gaining but at 115 I was getting twitchy, the car hits a bump and the feedback can be a bit disconcerting so I tend to back off.

Also Im not yet too sure how much I can ask from the car on tight corners at speed. I suspect that this is because the 172 is deceptively fast and my approach is probably faster than it would have been in the CRX, will the 172 just do whatever is asked of it? Or am I right to be wary?

I love this car and I really enjoy the straight line kick in the back speed but after two weeks I am usually pushing a car to its limits in the twistys but I am yet to master the 172.

Any sugestions?

Do I get some track experience where I can really see what the car can do, or am I just getting old and am now ready for a Nissan Micra or god forbid a Yaris!?



I had an old civic 1.6 16v of the crx era and I stuck it upside down in a ditch! You can push the 172 a long way before it bites back. I havent found the limit yet except for in the wet when I was being silly and I just gathered it back together. But then you maybe push it harder than me!! As for the advanced driving question cant help sorry.

Advanced driving lessons will make you more aware of potential hazards and general road skills. However it is not designed to increase your skills at high speeds its more about safety.

Best place i reckon to learn about your car is on a skid pan and a driving school like for example. I did all my training years ago (HGV1, Bike, Advanced Driving, Rallying Lessons, Skid Pan etc) and loved every minute of it. I dont reckon i am a better driver than everyone else but i hope i am safe.


  Shiny red R32


This sounds similar to what is available near where I live, where ex police drivers take you out and show you how to drive fast safely and how to observe etc etc.


Mid Kent Group of Advanced Motorists
Registered Charity No. 1051416

Affiliated to the Institute of Advanced Motorists

How can the Group help me?
The Group offers Associate Membership, which includes Observed Drives and Classroom Sessions to prepare for the IAM Test. This advice is provided by "Group Observers" - members who have already passed the Advanced test and who have further completed a Special Observer Qualification course. In addition, and as befits a Registered Charity, these Observers are all unpaid volunteers who are keen to share their skills and pass on their knowledge.

How much does it cost?
The main route to the Advanced Test is through the IAM Package "Skill for Life" at £85 which is a virtually all inclusive package comprising membership of your local IAM group (such as this one), the book "Pass your Advanced Driving Test" (or "Pass your Advanced Motorcycling Test" for Bikers), a course of guidance/preparation from the local IAM Group to get you to the Test standard, the IAM Test Fee itself, and your first years membership of the IAM when you pass.

Group Membership for Associates (those members preparing to take the IAM test) cost £30. This also includes a copy of the IAM Book "Pass Your Advanced Driving test". As an Associate Member you will join a four-month Course consisting of four Observed Runs. These should enable you to reach the required Test Standard but additional sessions are available if necessary. Coupled with this, there are the benefits of Group activities and a free Group magazine.

The Mid Kent Group meets on the first Sunday of every month and runs three courses each year. These commence in March, July, and November. Our venue is the Grove Green Community Centre, Maidstone, Kent.

Phone - 01892 834575


  Shiny red R32

Mike I am GirlRacer not Girl Racer!

Mat I am near Edinburgh! Miles away from you!



Just a great researcher and very helpfull then


a great researcher AND very helpfull AND a member of the IAM?

  clio 20v

i think the most important skill is being able to read the roads and predict wot mite happen

most iams will be emphasised on safety not driving fast on public roads they choose the opposite to the racing line i.e go wide into the corner so u comeout on the proper side of the road

well worthwhile doing though

I think I am going to have to find some quiet dry roads and really find out what this car can do.

I think one thing about the issues I am having (this is going to sound strange) is the steering wheel in the 172.

The bloody thing is so comfy with those hand grips that Im probably not giving it as much lock as I could be, Im treating it too gently and not seeing what it can really do. Not being used to the hard ride is a factor too, I think Im getting better but its going to be white knuckle time for a while yet until I know I can trust it not to just let go of the road. It doesnt help its been so wet lately, the screen on the car apears to be a water magnet and the wipers have been on full blast on the motorway over the last couple of days, still feels stable its just I cant see more than 20 feet in front, very disconcerting when all I want to do is race rep-mobiles and see their supprised faces as they get mashed by a Clio!

Cheers for the info though I will defo bear the IAM and the rally course in mind when I have some spare time/ cash


MB - ever thought of taking it on a trackday? Get some decent instruction and you should find out what you and your car can do.

Incidentally, if you are treating the wheel gently you are doing the RIGHT THING. Being rough with the wheel, brakes or throttle will upset the car. It might feel quicker but youll be going slower.

You mentioned hand grips and white knuckles - I hope you werent being literal! Relax your grip and your steering will become more natural and flowing (if you dont believe me, drive by holding your wheel with the thumb and forefinger of each hand, then do it by gripping the wheel as hard as you can).

Thanks Pete

Ill bare that in mind, mind you I would want to try the finger and thub thing in an circumstances where I might be laying down some serious power. If theres one thing Ive learned so far its that tourqe steer can be an issue in the 172. The first day I had it I almost ended up on the other side of the road a couple of times!

Im used to being a lot closer to the ground and I think that has a lot to do with commiting to the corners, Ill tear up some tarmac tomorrow and let you know how I get on. Oh, and Ill try to relax my grip a bit!



  Shiny red R32


Have you still got the original slippy Contisports on your car? I found them to be a bit dangerous at times, causing the back to slide out even when going slowly, and I find that my Toyos are much grippier by comparison, wet or dry.
  Hippys bus of LOVE !!!

Mat, The advance school of motoring, sure is a good idea. I learnt to drive many years ago off road in a tractor, off road driving teaches you lots of skills, rather like a skid pan but much slower thankfully, given your driving a tractor.

I was involved in a real bad smash years ago (dont want to think how many) where I was a passenger in my own car (a Celica at the time) and after that, it took quite a while to get behind the wheel of a car or even a tractor. This was partly due to injuries and in the end lack of confidence and nerves.

I would recommend, anyone should do these courses sometimes you even qualify for a discount on your insurance.

Thanks to my fab instructor, Im a happy confident driver.
  Renault Laguna Coupe

Heres a good way to learn about driving your car at speed. Take a Motorsport Events Driving Academy day. A few of us did this last year and it was a real hoot. The emphasis is on really getting the most out of your car.

The academy days are held at airfields (ours was at Heyford in Oxforshire). You do lots of exercises through cones etc, learn about braking (including finding out what your ABS can do for you), oversteer and understeer. At the end theres a track session which is really good preparation for track days. Cant recommend it highly enough, and pretty cheap at only about £89 for the whole day.

Website :

Calendar: looks like the next Academy Day is Friday March 21st.

This is run by John Lyon, generally acknowledged to be one of the best drivers there is in the whole country. Evo magazine say he is pretty much the king! Ive phoned before and spoken to his other half, but hes more than happy to speak to you to discuss options. I was going to book the ex in for a half-days tuition, which I think was £160.

He takes you out in your own car to show what it can do, and how it should be done, then you go out and he advises you. From what I heard he can be quite, er, blunt when it comes to criticism, but if you can get over that then you should learn a lot!

Ive done the AIM course, and it does help to some extent. Like most places with more than one person teaching though (you get assigned a trainer who usually isnt anywhere near Police Class 1 quality but is still qualified to teach you), I have found inconsistencies in peoples attitudes. The bloke I learnt with said you dont buy an RS Turbo to pootle to the shops with do you? and generally agreed with me that speed limits are a guide rather than a limit, but the top two bods at the Essex group seem to think that a limit is a limit and should never be broken, regardless of the fact it might be the M25 at 4am on a july morning. If you get someone like that, you have to follow their instruction on lessons (it still amazes me how slowly you can drive and people not get annoyed with you!) but I then just interpreted it how I wanted when I was on my own.

Do the course though, and go for the test. Sometimes your insurance comes down! Ive found that I have started to get a bit lax again and slip into old habits, but it did help my driving and observation. You need to practise techniques quite a bit, (like braking before a roundabout THEN changing gear, rather than braking hard, and heel-and-toeing), but its worth it. It helps you feel more confident, and you soon start to be amazed at what some people do, especially boy racers - what they need to learn is that fast driving isnt just about A to B in the quickest possible time but A to B in the safest yet still quick way...

Anyway, I appear to have verbal diarrhoea today, so Im going to shut up! :oops:

Its about time that licenses for performance cars were graded like bikes.

Their are far too many novices driving around in performance cars - hence the insurance premiums being so high.
  Renault Laguna Coupe

But whatever you do, dont even think about praticing on public roads! Ive learnt more doing trackdays etc in the past 12 months than Id ever have thought possible. Think about it - most people pass their test and then never have any more instruction until the day they die. Probably accounts for some of the awful driving we see every day.


  Shiny red R32

Quote: Originally posted by Jase1 on 02 March 2003

Its about time that licenses for performance cars were graded like bikes.
There are far too many novices driving around in performance cars - hence the insurance premiums being so high.
Perhaps drivers under the age of 21 or until they have had 3 years driving experience should stick to 1.2 size cars! Then the insurance shouldnt be so steep for the rest of us and hopefully the roads will be safer.

Every week I read in the papers that 17 and 18 year olds get killed or injured whilst driving or as passengers, where inexperienced drivers are going too fast or driving dangerously in cars like Novas for example. (I realise it happens to older people also).

Last weekend whilst out walking my dogs, about a mile from my house there was a Nova overturned in a field, apparently two boy passengers were quite badly injured , through the driver speeding at 1.30am on the Saturday night / Sunday morning . Only this week in the Edinburgh area 3 young lads in two Novas have been killed. What a waste of young lives.

An example of the inexperienced driving cars they cant handle safely, was a few years ago in Edinburgh, when a 17 year old girl was driving her parents BMW with 3 girl passengers and all 4 were killed when the car lost control on a bend. It only takes seconds, as I know when I witnessed an overtaking nutcase get killed last year. If he had waited until he had got round the bend, then overtaken, he would have still been here, and he was an older guy with two children, not a teenager.
  TT 225

Sorry but I dont agree with that comment GR.

"Perhaps drivers under the age of 21 or until they have had 3 years driving experience should stick to 1.2 size cars! Then the insurance shouldnt be so steep for the rest of us and hopefully the roads will be safer."

Doesnt matter what size engine they have - if they are going to drive dangerously - then they will do regardless. A 1.2 is still capable of 100mph plus these days

I see what the message people are trying to put across is though. Perhaps on buying a car - people should be made to go for a day on a track or airfield to learn how to drive and handle that car properly?

I dont know - its a hard subject because it raises the issues of all drivers being different - and as you rightly said there are bad drivers regardless of age and experience :confused:

But to MatBlack - I would definately recommend a track day. Excellent fun, tuition if you require it (at most days) and you can really push the car to its limits and increase your confidence in the clio :)

I agree with GR, or at least extra training should be given if a new driver (of any age) wants to drive a performance car.

In my own experence I drove 1.3 and below cars for three years and it still didnt prepare me for the xr2 I had when I was 20, I was lucky enough to have a good friend to show me the ropes and I soon learned to enjoy the xr2 safely.

My (much) younger sister has just turned 20 and has been driving fast cars scince she was 17, her first car was an xr2i, and the thought of her and other new drivers being let loose in these cars from the day they pass is scarey.

I bought her a training day for her 18th and SHE cant belive how badly she drove before, she now has a 106gti and Im quite happy to let her drive my 172.....and Im VERY fussy who drives it!!!