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Driving school: part two

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 19:32 UK time, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The driving challenges continue for a husband and wife from our X-Ray 100 panel.

June and Phillip Griffiths, from Swansea, went head to head to find out who's in pole position behind the wheel.

Judging their efforts was Rob Storer, a police driver trainer with South Wales Police. Last week, the couple survived test one - a nerve-wracking ride around the city with Rob watching their every move.

For test two, they had 20 minutes to answer 50 Highway Code questions.

Rob, meanwhile, told Rhodri about the bad driving habits he often encounters including people driving with their elbow on the door or hand on the gearstick.

Seat position is also an issue, as Rob explained. People often sit too close to the wheel which affects their ability to steer or sit too far back which means they don't have full control of the controls and this can affect how they handle the car.


Test three focused on steering and our contenders had to manoeuvre around a tyre course. For lap one, they used their own steering method and were surprised at how much they had to move their hands to cope with the turns.

Rob gave the pair some top tips, including how to check your seat position. Put your fists together at the top of the wheel. Your wrists should bend over the top - if they can't you're too far forward or too far back.

They also learned the pull push steering method, useful for 90 degree turns, tighter bends and corners. To demonstrate, Rob placed his right hand at the one o'clock position on the wheel. As his right hand pulled down, the left hand mirrored its movement downwards.

Rob explained that if the turn continued, the left hand would take the grip, the right hand release and mirror the left hand back up the wheel.

June tried it on the track and struggled at first. But, after grasping the technique was impressed by how it made driving easier and more controlled.

Results time and Rob revealed June was victorious, winning test one and test two in which she beat Phillip by two points, getting 44 out of 50 right.

Of her win, June said: "I feel fantastic, really confident and really happy."

How to get advanced driver training

The main aim of advanced training is to become a safer driver which should also help you retain your no claims bonus. Other benefits may include less wear and tear on your car, lower car insurance and around a 10% saving on fuel by driving eco-efficiently.

Organisations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders offer advanced training through local groups across Wales.

You pay to join but after that the coaching is free and provided by volunteer tutors who take you out in your own car. Once they think you're ready - usually after around six to eight sessions with practice in between - you can sit your advanced driving test.

RoSPA associate membership costs between £5 to £70, but this may include the £45 test fee. IAM charge £139 which includes your training, test and first year's membership if you pass.

Alternatively, you could pay for lessons with an approved driving instructor who offers advanced training.

If you recently passed your test, are aged between 17 to 25 and live in Wales you can get a discount on a Pass Plus Cymru course and pay £20, rather than the usual £120 to £150. For details see: www.dragondriver.com

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