Posted: June 18, 2016
An Introduction to Driver Training for the uninitiated Employee & Employer through CAT’s Eyes
Who Might Be Interested? Fleet Managers; HR Departments; Health & Safety Officers; Company Directors; Team Leaders; Sole Traders; Small Medium & Large Businesses; the Private Sector; the Public Sector; and anybody who drives for business as part of their working day.
Fleet driver training has been with us now for several years. It has been a valuable tool in helping untrained drivers to reduce their occupational driving risk. By untrained, I mean drivers who have had no further training since they passed their driving test. However, despite industries best efforts, a third of all fatalities on UK roads will be someone simply going about their daily business. It is a statistic that I find hard to grasp and struggle to accept.
When I wake in the morning I follow a well worn path around the house. I pull the curtains, fill the kettle, turn the radio on, feed the cats, make the tea and head back up stairs to carry out my shower and dressing ritual as I get ready to leave for work. Driver training is my life - I live eat and sleep driving skills. For that reason I often find the traffic report on Radio 2 perhaps a little too engaging. At 06:40 hrs it is not uncommon to hear “the air ambulance has landed” or “it is a major incident – the road is likely to be closed for some time”. Is that one of the statistical thirds who has not even made it to their place of work?
It’s true that we don’t leave the front door in the morning with the intention of having an accident. But do we leave the house in the morning with the intention of NOT having an accident? Do you prepare to drive for work in the same way a Pilot may prepare for a flight? No? Then read on. Just as my waking up and getting ready procedure is now firmly embedded in my subconscious, so is my driving technique. But what if my driving technique is leaving me exposed to unnecessary risk?
Driving for Work can be as short a trip as going to the bank or the stationers, to as long as visiting clients hundreds of miles away. If you or your staff drive for work, then you and they fall under the umbrella of several Health and Safety Laws that simply treat the motor vehicle you drive as an extension of your work place.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to:
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that:
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to:
This recent law introduced in April 2008 has placed the responsibility of Health and Safety issues within the work place firmly at the door of the business hierarchy. There is now a realistic possibility a director through to team leader could find themselves facing prison sentences for breaches of Health and Safety procedure and law that results in a loss of life.
Laws are made to protect us, but what if you are not aware of the laws in the first place? Ignorance is not an excuse, but I do have sympathy for all of those small businesses out there struggling to keep up with all we should be doing to stay on the right side of the law. Company Driver Training is not something to be placed at the bottom of the pile. Do some research and I am confident you will discover you could be genuinely helping to save a life, simply by giving employees a few hours of advanced driving tuition with a qualified instructor.
When selecting your Driving for Work training provider (and I hope you choose CAT) it is important to choose a company that has experienced instructors. The path an instructor has to follow to obtain a Fleet Training licence is that they must first become an Approved Driving Instructor - an ADI. Once he or she has qualified as an ADI they then take further intensive training to qualify to be included on the Fleet Training Register. This can be provided by DSA (Driving Standards Agency) accredited companies, RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) and DIA (Driving Instructors Association). Once qualified, they are then in effect licensed by the DSA to provide advanced driver training on the public highway.
I will only employ instructors that have more than the entry-level qualifications. I am looking for supplementary qualifications such as: are they a member of an advanced driving club; or perhaps trained in the police force. It is important to be trained by enthusiasts who have a genuine interest in your driving development. If instructors have taken the trouble to develop their own skills then I find they are more engaging with clients and the content of their tuition more enlightening.
Company driver training combined with structured vehicle maintenance and management can in many cases pay for itself - a very relevant consideration for the smaller company struggling to come to terms with the cost of outsourced advanced driver training.
Apart from the obvious savings to be found in the reduction of petrol and diesel consumption, lower insurance premiums, lower at fault accidents and the reduction in service and maintenance costs can all be proven benefits of advanced driver training. Taking insurance premiums as an example, our partners at Towergate Insurance provide fleet policies to business with premiums reflecting significant reductions once a driving for work risk reduction policy is put in place. These often more than cover the investment made.
Training is tailored to the needs, objectives and importantly the budget of the client. It is not all about driving! Saving fuel is often more about journey planning and time management than driving technique. I found it interesting to find after a recent visit to a small delivery company using Ford Transit vans, that none of the 5 drivers knew vans had a lower legal speed limit on certain roads than cars. When was the last time they had looked at a Highway Code? All admitted it was when they took their driving test! For one driver that was over 30 years ago!!!
As driver trainers we are here to offer a professional service bringing your staff up to speed with modern driving practices and road law. We are not here to chastise or judge. Training can begin on line with a driver assessment or in house with classroom presentations. Higher risk drivers can be selected for on road training from the acquired data. You may select drivers who cover more than 20,000 miles per annum, or perhaps those who have had an accident in the last 3 years. The options are many and varied. Many companies favour on road training for all of their staff, I happen to agree with this approach. I am always surprised at the amount drivers can download from a good instructor in just a couple of hours of advanced road tuition.
The last 15 years has seen a regimented approach to fleet training. A typical day would take the form of a classroom or in car presentations followed by an on road “Driver Risk Assessment” with time allocated for remedial training if required. The industry moved with the times and introduced “on line” driver profiling which is now used widely. But what of those drivers who have served with a company for several years and been through the fleet training mill many times? Could their enthusiasm be waning, is it time for a new approach?
Modern vehicles have many active and passive aids to help keep us safe, they also behave in a more predictable manner if we understand the basic function of some of the mechanical happenings taking place when, for example, we drive around a corner. Read a handbook for a modern car and you may find a bewildering array of 3 letter acronyms explaining a variety of technological wizardry.
Add to the mix modern tyre technology for example, and how we can optimise the grip from the tyre with modern driving techniques, and it is not difficult to see we may have some homework to do. Choose a training provider who can bring you up to speed with the technical and dynamic aspects of the modern motor car and your Driving for Work programme will be more interesting, motivational and subsequently more beneficial.
To discuss your answers with an instructor, please email or phone the office on 01234 757633 to request an instructor call.
At CAT we can combine advanced road training on the public highway with off road training via the awesome circuits at the Millbrook Proving Ground. Businesses and their staff are encouraged to mix driver education with team building and fun – it has a longer lasting and beneficial effect. If you just want to tick your health and safety box, a conventional advanced driver training day with CAT will do that - but you now have a choice. Having succeeded in moving away from the perceived standard fleet offerings, our feedback testifies we are “hitting the spot”. In fact it has become a personal crusade of mine to change people’s perception of advanced driver training days. Driver development can be and is: fun; exciting; empowering; enlightening; engaging; and quite simply, a great day out.
CAT Driver Training will be hosting several open days in 2011 at the Millbrook Proving Ground to show case our Driving For Work services. To be included please register for our newsletter where dates will be announced and inform us you would like to be included in an open day. You might also like to review our digital Driving for Work brochure.
How many of you drive forwards onto your drive at the end of a journey? Yes, go on, admit it. It seems like a bit too much effort to reverse on! But what happens when you start your next journey? The car starts with a cold engine and a process that will require a reversing manoeuvre and then moving off in a forwards direction.
A trained driver reverses onto their drive. They then move off in one forward motion for their next journey. The engine warms up quicker and you have reduced the amount of fuel going into the engine whilst it is cold and running less efficiently. Over the course of a year you have just saved on average a tank of fuel. One of the small changes you can make that will contribute to reducing your rising costs for driving.
Safe motoring through the winter months and I look forward to seeing you in 2011.
These courses are designed to make the most of the driving skills that all of us aspiring (performance) drivers hope we have lurking within us. Colin (and his team) seem to have acquired a vast range of skills and experience to tease this out of even the tardiest of learners. He is keen to see potential problems from the individual’s perspective rather than his own. The courses involve discussion of the forces, vectors, and accelerations involved and their effects on the tyres, suspension and car both in theory and on the track. These aren’t always as obvious as I had previously thought. Colin also seems to be well aware that the learning of ‘new’ motor skills requires repetition, repetition and more repetition till it becomes innate. This differs from other courses where you are shown once or twice and then expected to be able to reproduce it for evermore, both an unrealistic and naïve expectation. The repetition was far from boring, quite the opposite because when I finally was able to reproduce what was required without much effort again and again it was a Hallelujah moment. Progress. Colin is an uncommonly modest bloke whom you have to press to share his credentials for the job which turn out to be impressive and include engineering, test driving, racing as well as teaching for luminary individuals and multinational motor companies. The delivery of his instruction was neutral even though he might have been telling you the -----ing obvious for the nth time which I know I certainly would not be able to do. What I failed to understand at the end of the courses was why this was so little known about. It should be mandatory for all drivers irrespective of their apparent knowledge base or experience. For those who have invested heavily in their offspring who have recently passed their driving test it would seem short sighted not to see this through by enrolling them on the TL1. It could save their lives and seems a small price to pay for the absence of much potential heartache. Highly recommended.
"Cat Driver Training - September 2021 If you want to understand and explore the dynamics of your car then this is the team to help you whatever your level of knowledge. Personally I learnt many things about the dynamics and capabilities of the Porsche 911. Things that had not been explained to me in such detail even on Porsche factory tours and track events. The level of instruction out on the handing circuits and tracks is of the highest standard and brings to life the theory discussed in the classroom. My driving skills were taken to the next level and I will continue to work with CAT to further develop them. The facilities available at Millbrook are outstanding and it is a privilege to be able to access them via CAT Driver Training."
"Do you think you know it all? Well set up, well briefed and spendidly delivered. This training covered technical aspects of driving skills and then followed (and backed) those up with practical exercises. The learning was continuous and developmental. Whether it was simply understanding what your car could do (or what you might be able to make it do) or what you could do, there was a whole range of skills, techniques and aids that would enhance anyone's understanding of motoring. Whether it was how ABS could be triggered (or not), understeer/oversteer, trial braking, dynamic forces, on-limit driving; you name it, this course covered it. Delivered by people who clearly knew what they were talking about, but in a friendly, clear and accommodating style. I learned something from every session."
"The best decision I ever made! I have trained with CAT Driver Training twice now & looking forward to coming back in the future. I trust in their expertise & there is always something new to learn, a habit to be explored & an exhilarating experience that pushes me to my limit & builds confidence in myself & the car. The knowledge, experience, understanding, patience, compassion & professionalism of the team are just some of the qualities that make them unique & I highly recommend them."
"Performance Driver Track Day Course I participated in the course arranged by Porsche Club GB and very happy to give 5 stars all round. The team has put a huge amount of thought and effort into making the facilities and training Covid-secure, which is indicative of their professionalism. I found the whole day both fascinating and a lot of fun, in briefings, on the various driving segments, and chatting with the team and other participants. I was genuinely in awe of how much Colin moved my theoretical and practical driving on, and what he got me to get the car to do in the space of one day - always building confidence, encouraging me to explore my limits, while not pushing me beyond them. Can't wait to return!"
"I have had a reasonable degree of driving training over the years as am ex police officer and advanced police driver. I took the performance driver driver training to learn about track driving, and found it excellent. My instructor was Paul who was fantastic. The training built up during the day and I learnt so much about the capabilities of my own car and although I was nervous about using my own car realised afterwards it was the best thing for me to do. The instruction was extremely informative from an engineering perspective coupled with driving, friendly and tailored to your individual needs and abilities. At no time was I encouraged or pushed to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. It was extremely professional throughout. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone whatever your standard of driving."
"Truly exceptional In my experience, driving instruction has generally consisted of being repeatedly told that you are 'doing it wrong' accordingly to some unknown standard or principle that you had hoped to learn about by taking said instruction. Then there is Colin. It is not that common to find an individual who genuinely understands both people and engineering. It is incredibly rare to find one who can actively apply both to deliver a sustained behavioural change. Colin adapts his teaching style to the way you learn. For me, he lead with the WHY of the learning point, grounded in physics and engineering. We'd then put it in to practice, often doing several variants of an excercise to explore how the car reacts to differing inputs, providing valuable context for what good feels like and reinforcing the learning point. Each point built on the previous ones, layering up and coming together in to a whole, one far greater than the sum of it's parts. Subtle changes to huge effect. I was concerned on the day that the learnings would rapidly fade, but I have found that because Colin has taught me an understanding the lessons have persisted, even if I do still need some more practice (48 laps of the Silverstone GP circuit last Thursday definitely helped!). Add to this the fact that Colin is great company and an absolute pleasure to spend time with, and you have one of the most positive learning experiences I've ever known. Truly exceptional. I could not recommend more highly. Thank you!"
"Superb day with calm knowledgable and professional guidance from Paul. Thank you Paul. The course is so well structured consistently building ability and knowledge in complete safety. I fully recommend anyone wishing to increase their knowledge, confidence and experience to attend."
"Far better than any track day you can imagine! There is a massive difference between a typical driver experience or track day events and CAT driver training. The main difference is that you drive your own car to the full extent of it's capabilities, and your own, while being given expert one to one tuition by brilliant trainers Colin and Paul, who come from a Motorsport and auto engineering background. Their combined domain knowledge of engineering and competitive Motorsport allows them to explain the physics of why the car behaves as it does and how you can exploit the cars characteristics for maximum performance., in a safe fun environment. The frankly brilliant experience on the track is matched by the quality hospitality hosted by Jo, and classroom training, which prepares you for what you will experience on the next stage. These stages include such delights as the ring, where you will drive with no hands on the wheel at 100MPH, providing you with a clear understanding of the fact the car finds its own balance , and my personal favourite the alpine stage, with hairpins a plenty and 'character building' drops and rock faces. I have to admit to being slightly 'corner shy' before the training, however after some brilliant coaching from Collin urging me to 'stay on the gas, stay on the gas!' I am now far more confident and safe in the twisty stuff!"
"I don’t want to make this review too long and detailed, so I think the best way to summarise it is this: I think I possibly learnt more in one day that I’ve ever learnt before and the skills are relevant to all driving and can be practised daily. On the way home, I drove the ‘long way’ just to practise and feel the difference in the attitude of the car. I used to do this now and again because there are a few good straights and it’s nice to give the car a ‘blast’. This time, I drove that way home because I wanted to drive round the corners properly."
"Extremely professional driver training. Period. I wanted a course that would deliver a very high level of training, in an organised and professional manner. The course exceeded my expectations in every way, I wish I had started working with CAT Driver training years ago. There is no doubt that if you are looking for absolute top level training, there isn't anywhere else to look. Somehow they manage to follow a very tried and tested course structure, yet it is tailored all the way along to meet your requirements and current skill set. very impressive. I cannot rate this company highly enough. I have more dates booked already."
"Very structured training Paul was very clear and methodical in his coaching. The training technique was built up in various sections during the day and all came together like a jigsaw puzzle in the end for a great result."
"It's hard not to be enthusiastic about the lasting impact CAT Driver Training will have on your approach to driving. I spent a day with Paul exploring the potential of my new vehicle. The coaching is clear, methodical and structured to allow you to go on learning for a full day without overload. The training venue is superb and quiet enough (on the day I attended) to allow uninterrupted driving. Brilliant admin team too. Absolutely 5 Star!"
"Everything you read about these people is true and i cannot really add anything apart from clicking these five stars and to say they are truly incredibly knowledgeable, professional and nice. I did the Performance Driver Track day in my amazing six-month-old 911 GTS 4 and I now know so much more about my car and myself. I was in a group of six people all with different driving skill levels from the complete novice (me) to regular track day enthusiasts and the day was a journey of discovery for everyone. I am so pleased to have done it."
"First class performance car training day. Many thanks to Paul & your great team for a really enjoyable training day at Millbrook on Friday. I learnt a lot more about the capabilities of my F430 and found many new limits! The attention to detail in the delivery of the training was exceptional. I would recommend this to anyone with a performance car who wants to fully understand and enjoy their vehicle."
"An amazing day. If you drive you should go to CAT. If you have a performance car you MUST go to CAT. A day with CAT will transform your driving, you it be safer on the road in any situation and it will be the biggest performance upgrade your car will ever get. I learned so much in one day without any pressure, effort or stress. Colin's coaching is world class, he makes it simple / interesting to understand and easy to absorb / remember. The whole day and and everything leading up to it are well organised by the team. They REALLY care that you have a great day and TOTALLY deliver. You owe it to yourself to go."
"Absolutely Brilliant! The best advice I can give: believe every one of the glowing reviews on CAT! I approached CAT because I wanted to feel more comfortable with my newly-purchased BMW, the first rear-wheel drive car to be used for every-day driving after decades of FWD cars. I wanted to find out what the car's capabilities are, what it would feel like in extreme conditions, understand what it was telling me at the limits and, generally to get advice on my own technique. I wasn't a novice, having done plenty of track days and laps of the Nordschleife but I just knew that there's always plenty more to learn... A day's Performance Driver session met every one of my targets, and then more! Paul was a patient, logical and technical instructor who took time to explain what would happen in each manoeuvre and then fully debriefed that stage so that I not only knew what the car was doing but also understood what effect on the car my own actions were having. The proof of the pudding was in the final stage - setting consistent timed laps of the handling circuit. I'd worried a little about this all day as I'd have described my driving as enthusiastic but perhaps not consistent. The results were close to unbelievable to me! By remembering all that Paul had demonstrated and explained to me I surpassed my wildest dreams. Fantastic! As a result of this day, I now have more belief in my ability to read what my car's saying to me which brings confidence and relaxation. The car and I are now a team, rather than me just sitting there making it go down the road. I can highly recommend the whole CAT experience. Professional, friendly, patient, technical when required and not afraid to challenge when necessary. Oh, and the lunch is good too! I wish I could afford to go back every month..."
"Achieve your driving goals here! Can't ask for more than that! The entire experience was a positive and pleasant one. Everyone I met at CAT Driver Training contributed positively to the day, regardless of the role, so thank you to Jo, Lynne and of course, Colin! CAT have existing programmes for teaching anyone the fundamentals and advanced techniques of how to drive fast, but Colin can identify really quickly what you can and cannot do, and is quick to understand how to best use your time. I went in with my own unique set of requirements which slightly 'broke' the programme, but it was no problem at all and the most impressive thing was that I achieved my goals by the end of the day! I wanted to understand my car, be able to find and drive at the grip limit, and also understand how to be a faster and better driver. A lot to fit into a day, but Colin managed it in the most efficient way possible, and we achieved them all! Colin has great insights into vehicle dynamics, as well as the human machine behind the wheel. He understands why we sometimes don't function as optimally as we would like! His ability to listen to you, translate your input and isolate what is not working with your current technique helps focus the day on exactly what needs attention. This focus, along with Colin's 'feeling' of how the package of car and driver is behaving, makes him uniquely qualified to provide great direction and input to help you become the best driver possible. A lot of people talk about it, but very few can translate the inputs to a specific process for you to follow as a driver. The process is all about starting with foundations and building on them. It doesn't always seem to make sense, but trust the system - it all comes together in the end! The time is not cheap, but it will help you achieve your goals, so how do you put a price on that!? Thank you CAT Driver Training!!
"Best In Class Driver Training The training provided by Colin at CAT Driver training is superb. I am lucky enough to attended training days with Porsche, Lotus, Aston Martin and the day with a Colin at Millbrook has topped them all being informative, challenging, practical and above all delivered by a true Petrol Head. Thanks again and I will be back with the 911."
"Reminding how to drive fast A day with Colin on a 'One to One' basis is almost essential for anyone who lives on a small rock in the middle of the English Channel or lives in a city. We don't drive fast and don't get the opportunity to drive fast unless we are on a track. Colin spent the day reminding me how much fun it was to have 'fast feet' and to make the Tyres 'squeak' as they reach the sticky limit. I think I lost about 7kg in weight during the day as I was worked so hard but oh what a day. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who had a petrol head. Best bit was the 'Alpine Loop' at the end of the day. Full gas on the exit with all four squeaking. 👍😃"
"Excellent! Colin, Jo, Paul and the team are amazing, professional and have a unique ability to cover all areas of driving properly. My driving capability has been enhanced beyond measure. I highly recommend them and the CAT Advanced Driving Academy Programme. During the course it became clear to me that CAT Driving are one of the very few on the planet with such experience and capability. They have designed a brilliant dedicated package focused on working with you and delivered with an attentive caring personal touch."
"Paul was amazing: awesome teacher with a great brain. Made me realize my Mustang has actually way more grip and better and better handling than I thought. Top notch facilities in Millbrook. Totally worth it."