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Students get smart with their driving skills

19 March 2020  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

Two students have benefited from advanced training in safer driving thanks to the generous support of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Lee Porter, IAM RoadSmart expert, delivered one-to-one advanced lessons to Hollie Butler and Ashleigh Green, Year 13 students at Richmond Sixth Form College, as part of a wider campaign in college to develop safer driving awareness.

Since November, 120 Year 13 students have taken part in road safety initiatives, working with the IAM, the North Yorkshire Traffic Bureau and local racing driver Max Coates.  On the back of these projects, the IAM kindly offered six students complimentary advanced driving lessons to further their driving skills.

Lasting around 75 minutes, the one-to-one on-road modules were delivered in the students’ own cars. The majority of the time was spent out on the road, where the instructor observed their driving, offering helpful hints and tips to help them improve their skills, focusing closely on their chosen module topic.

Hollie Butler, Year 13 student, commented: “Outside of college, I would never have participated in an extra driving course but I’m so glad I completed the IAM safety course through college as it has given me confidence in my driving and has made me feel more comfortable in the decisions I make when driving.  I think it’s really important to promote safe driving amongst teenagers and, even though I’ve been driving for a year, I learnt a lot from the course that I wouldn’t have learnt from driving lessons or just my experience on the road itself.

“The modules I chose were ‘Driving in towns’ and ‘Distractions. This allowed me to drive all the way to York on a variety of roads (country and motorway) and experience busy city traffic which I had very little experience of in the past. The course has boosted my driving confidence and highlighted areas in my driving that I can improve to make me a safer driver. With the course being provided free-of-charge I think this is an amazing opportunity for other students to participate in as it really shapes you into a better driver and gives you experience that you can use every time you drive.”

Ian Dawson, a teacher at the college and the young driver advocate at the local branch of the IAM, co-ordinates the safer driver programme and said: “We are so appreciative of the incredible support the IAM are giving our students. Hollie and Ashleigh found the training invaluable and it is wonderful that a further four students will benefit from this opportunity.”

The training was carried out by Lee Porter, a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) since 1999 who has worked for the organisation since 2005 and has a wealth of knowledge of road safety and instructing. Lee said: “Having taught learners to drive for over 20 years myself, I know that extra driver training is invaluable, as from my experience of returning to families to teach the next family member to drive, unfortunately I found that some of their older brothers and sisters had been involved in accidents in the first year of passing their test.  I look at good driving as a real skill, like being good at football or music for instance, but the difference with being a great driver, is it might save your life one day!

“I really enjoy working with the students who have recently passed their tests, as they have been taught to drive the modern way, are used to learning, so they are constantly seeking to improve their driving skills. Certainly, the IAM RoadSmart driving modules I have conducted at Richmond Sixth Form College, have shown the students continue to analyse their driving to ensure they don’t slip into bad habits, and understand that these course modules will massively lower the chances of being involved in a road traffic crash, helping to keep their insurance costs as low as possible.”

The courses covered by the IAM RoadSmart Programme include: Driving in Towns, Managing Distractions, Motorway Driving, Managing Speed, Driving on Country Roads, Overtaking and Parking and Manoeuvring. Further information is available from

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