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“Driving safely doesn't have to be boring”

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks there should be more incentives for people who take additional driver training

Opinion - Steve Fowler driving

Ask people if they think the general standard of driving has improved or got worse, and the answer is always that it’s way worse than it used to be. If you then ask people if their driving has got better or worse, everyone says they’re either better drivers or about the same standard. So who is it whose driving is so poor?

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Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to be coached by former Auto Express contributor Paul Ripley, who’s also known as the Driving Doctor. Paul not only taught me how to drive quickly on a track, but far more importantly, he taught me how to be safe on a road.

But here’s the key: driving safely doesn’t have to mean less fun. Sure, speed limits may have been lowered and the number of speed cameras has increased, but there’s still great pleasure to be had from driving well, and you don’t have to drive fast to drive quickly.

When it comes to driver training, for most people it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Once we’ve passed our tests, that’s it – we’re off. Imagine that in the airline industry; would you be happy if your pilot last had training decades ago? I’d be off the plane like a shot.

Even for those who passed their driving test not that long ago, they’ll admit that driving, the roads and the rules have already changed. And don’t worry, I’m not about to become an advocate for mandatory retests.

But what I would like to see is more encouragement and incentives for people who take additional training. IAM Roadsmart, formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists, has been pushing this idea for years.

As has Paul Ripley, and he’s just launched his latest venture with tech guru David Edmonston, who started car-enthusiast website Pistonheads. Driving Masters is aimed at making driver training more desirable and accessible. As someone lucky enough to have had extra guidance, I can say that not only will it make you safer, it will also make you enjoy your driving more.

Do you agree with Steve? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

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Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

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