What does driving safely mean to you?

In this blog from Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) he asks his customers what driving safely really means to them.

In one of the Customer Update Videos that BIG TOM customers are exclusively provided access to I mention about the importance of considering what the idea of driving around safely means to you personally.  The reason why this is important to consider is because the answer to that question varies enormously between pupils and can’t be second guessed by a driving instructor. 

I expand on a graphic known as the GDE Matrix which details different depths of learning.  There is so much more to learning to drive safely than simply considering how well you control the vehicle.  An unfortunate trap to fall into is to think that once you have general control of the vehicle, and have had a go at driving around on some roads, you automatically must now be ready to drive independently.  I say an unfortunate trap, because the extremely high insurance premiums tend to suggest that many newly qualified drivers are a high risk.

Examples of things to consider include the following:

I know I can “drive” a car, am I really too bothered about whether I affect other road users while I drive round?  Do I honestly need to be aware of what is around me?

How much of the law do I need to know for my purposes?  Does driving slightly over the speed limit, smoking in cars, or texting while driving really interest me?

What kind of journeys will I be doing once I qualify?  Does it bother me if I have little experience of overtaking, parking in reverse, or driving in the dark?

How well will I be able to drive if I have a car full of mates in my car while I’m driving?

Does it matter if I don’t know how to change a tyre?  How important is it really to maintain my tyres?

Am I really bothered to know the importance of realising the relationship between what I can see ahead and my speed?


The answers to these questions will differ between pupils.  I’m not asking you to consider what is the “text book” answer, or the “right” answer to give a driving instructor, what I’m asking is quite literally, what is your opinion on these kinds of issues?  It is known that what you believe as a driver is going to affect your behaviours while you drive but there is also known to be an “intention-behaviour gap” which means that what we all intend to do is not necessarily what we actually do. 

So taking the first 2 questions as an example, you may well know that the “correct” answer is to always be willing to make effective mirror checks BEFORE changing speed or direction – but do you really, honestly believe that is important?  Do you believe in yourself that there is a connection between appreciating what is around you and how that can affect safety before you change speed or direction?  Is your INTENTION to do mirror checks, but for some reason, you seem to struggle to actually do them? 

Likewise, you might know that you get points on your licence if you get caught texting while driving, so you know that you shouldn’t, and you believe you wont, but when it comes to you driving on your own, waiting for your friend to text you, and the phone pings while you are on the dual-carraigeway, are you then going to check your phone while driving at 60mph?  You know it is wrong, you honestly believe you wont, but when it comes down to it, you just could not help yourself and you did check your friends text while driving.

It is important to what I refer on the videos as “dig deep” and make this meaningful to you, otherwise your safety will inevitably be compromised if you qualify.    


BIG TOM Driving School  Enquiries: Admin@BIGTOM.org.uk  Sales: 07756 071 464



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