British Leyland cars. Are you still driving one..?

Are you in a job where Continuous Professional Development is a requirement? Play any sport? If so, how often do you need to practice free kicks / backhand shots / out shot doubles..? How about other hobbies. Still learning how to maintain the perfect garden? Complete the trickiest Sudoku? Bake the perfect cake?

Even when it comes to your favourite video game, you go from level to level, getting better all the time until it’s completed, and then, you get the next one in the series.

So, serious question time then 🤨 (and acknowledgement upfront if you’re one of those exceptional people who run into blazing buildings / get shot at / risk their lives professionally on a daily basis), but… how many times today have you performed a potentially dangerous task?

Let me stick my neck out and answer that: every time you’ve got behind the wheel.

Second serious question now 🤨

When was the last time you updated your driving skills through training?

Again, at the risk of sounding like a knowitall (definitely don’t ha), I’ll answer.

About 10 minutes before you arrived at the driving test centre.

Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. ‘I’m always learning something new, that’s why I’m such a good driver!’ And if you are, all I can say is – congratulations, scroll on by!

Otherwise, one final question: if we’re happy to learn new skills to bake a better cake, why wouldn’t we update a skill that could potentially save a life?

Crazy, when you think about it, isn’t it? How many life skills do we learn before our twenties and then never, ever, professionally update? Unless of course we have to by taking a naughty driver’s course, or becoming a driver trainer! There have been many studies done on the subject, such as this one from the Association for Psychological Science, or this one that finds 76% of Americans think they’re great drivers. (If they are, how come ‘driver error’ is recorded as the reason for over 90% of accidents..? 🤔)

The mystery of why most drivers, on the face of it, put such little value on upgrading their ability to perform a critical task successfully then, is – at least according to studies like the ones highlighted above – essentially down to ‘illusory superiority’; thinking they’re better than they actually are, basically.

But that’s rarely the case with new drivers. They just have to put up with the ‘comet trail’ of this ‘illusory superiority’…

Let me give you one example of this that I see more than any other, bar none. It appears every time I take on a new trainee who happens to have had a few hours private practice with a parent. It’s this:

Shifting down through all the gears when slowing down for a roundabout

Sound familiar..? (Be honest ha)

When I ask why they’ve done that, taking their hands off the wheel at a crucial time, labouring the clutch etc etc, the response is the same everytime too: Dad told me to do it! (sorry dads, this one is normally down to us…)

Just one example, but, trust me, there are many, many more.

Why does this happen? Well for those of us who remember cars from the 70’s / early 80’s – and, more importantly, learned to drive in one of these horrors (they were!), it pays to remember it’s hard to compare driving one with, say, a 2015 Vauxhall Corsa. The only things they’ve got in common is 4 wheels and a steering wheel. Going on holiday we used to have to stop halfway up the Horseshoe Pass just to let the engine cool down! And then halfway down to let the brakes cool down!

Cars have developed almost beyond comparison, in other words (and calming down…). What might not have developed, however, is our knowledge of how to drive them to get the best from them!

So, is now the time to remember you’re no longer driving a Mini Metro?

What do the trainee and I go on to use after the scenario above? Block changing of course! And if you don’t know what that is – and how it is not only safer but can also save you £££ – get in touch 😃

3 responses to “British Leyland cars. Are you still driving one..?”

  1. My dad says missing gears out ruins the clutch is a common one. I then say that every one of my lease cars has gone back with the original clutch with more than 60,000 miles on the clock having been driven by learners.

    • “Missing gears ruins the clutch”
      Love that one Chris! Do you tell them we haven’t had to double de-clutch for a good few decades now? 😀
      That’s a good point about the lease car. I’m betting you also go well over the average brake life too?

      • The funny thing about that is I’ve known people say they use gears to slow down to save the brakes. I hear a lot of old myths quoted from parents and grandparents.

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