Bournemouth’s Longest Driving Lesson

Bournemouth’s Longest Driving Lesson

By acclaim driving team on 31st August 2011 in News

Bournemouth’s Longest Driving Lesson

Aug 14th 9am on a sunny Sunday, Sea side at Poole Quay. Dave North and I merrily chat to passers bye as we wait for the rest of the flock to arrive. We watch with great interest the RNLI driver attempting a turn in the road with Land rover, towing 14foot boat. Well done! We praise.

Next to arrive was new team member Ken Merrick from Weymouth who will be the 1st acclaim instructor for the Weymouth area. Ken received a warm welcome from the rest of the Bournemouth team as they arrived, Bill Shaw and his daughter Sheridan, Duncan Anderson, and Kathy Whitehead.

At 9.40am I take a call from Sheena Damen from local radio station Hope FM, for a brief interview live on air. With team intensely listening in cars, (no pressure guys) I explained to Sheena that we were the 1st driving School in Dorset to have contemplated driving six learner cars in a convoy whilst having a pupil at the wheel. That this was a unique and fun idea to raise the profile for a fresh new brand that aspires to be different than the rest. Sheena is a great interviewer made me feel very comfortable and said was very excited and wished us well. Thank you to Sheena and Hope FM team for a great opportunity to speak to the public.

  1. Introductions done! It’s now time to head off on our journey. Our Team leader Dave organised the convoy order in colour coordinating fashion, nearly confusing him-self and Kathy in the process. With that done and a brief word and road safety etiquette in the event we should get separated, it was mirror,   signal, blind spot, manoeuvre and away .

With Dave leading the way followed by Duncan, Bill, Ken, and Kathy. We took a slow drive along the Quay to baiter point, waving at people passing by. A smooth uninterrupted drive so far as we enter Poole Park, only to be halted by two geese waddling across the road. Come on Dave you know the rules, human life only! Softy!

Onwards then to Lilliput and Sandbank s around the peninsular we double back for our 1st stop in a safe convenient place.   Along- side the harbour at shore road, we marvel at the site of people hanging off the end of giant kites heading skyward to Brown sea Island.   At this point Dave deems it appropriate do address a fault he spotted with Duncan’s drive. Dave; I’ve noticed that you keep dropping behind a long way Duncan, separating me from convoy. Why is that? To which Duncan replies. I’m well aware that I should be Keeping the correct following distance which is two seconds in dry weather, and don’t want to get too close to you. Dave; But you are aware that we’re traveling at a speed below 30mph. Ah Yes! So I chip in. So what distance should we follow at for that speed then Duncan?

  1. So all safely out and in line off we head for Canford Cliff, down through the village past Branksome Chine, up the steep hill climb, Duncan now making much better progress. Well done!   That’s better Duncan!   We turn right at the cross roads following the signs to Westbourne, where I notice the second driver fault. This time it’s the turn of newbie Ken Merrick, as he straddles the right turn positioning road markings for oncoming traffic. Oops! But no other road users were affected on this occasion. I was the next one in a slight predicament, as I was the last car to cross the junction as the red light came on whilst waiting for a gap to cross. Oh no! I decided it was clear and continued. All safely through we head towards Bournemouth town centre. It’s clearly evident at this point that Dave is not only really getting the hang of the independent route driving task, but really shining through in his leadership skills.

As we descend down the hill from West cliff, taking the 1st exit left then 1st   road on the right and then 1st left into Exeter road car park, we encountered our 3rd driving error. As Dave took the final left turn into the car park, Duncan missed the exit and the others followed suite, like a flock of sheep. What hasn’t been established yet, is what caused this fault. Did Dave show a signal in good time? Or was Duncan’s approach speed to fast? (unlikely) given his previous driving fault. The enquiry continues….?

What was came next, amazed me! I’ve never ever seen before and probably never will again. In rectification of missing the exit, Sheridan, Ken and Kathy all carried out three perfectly synchronized and safe Turns in the road. Utterly brilliant! Well done all!

After our brief half way appraisal at the car park we set off for the final leg, driving past Bournemouth pier and down through Westover road. No time for taking in the great view’s as we concentrate our observations towards a few holidaying pedestrians with suicidal tendencies. All good as we turn right past the Bath Hotel up towards East cliff, smooth sunny uninterrupted drive along the English Riviera to Boscombe Pier where I capture Dave leaning out the window blowing me a kiss as the comes off the roundabout. Isn’t that against the driving instructor’s code of conduct Dave?

  1. Happy days!

Congratulations to everyone on a successful lesson without any serious driver faults, and also staying in convoy all the way.

Thank you all for a great morning, it was fun.


Trevor Hartley

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