I have been a member Institute of Advanced Motorists since I passed their test in 1971 and am now a senior observer for the Birmingham group.
I’ve always been a keen driver and considered taking the Advanced test in my late teens but was put off by having to give a commentary. In 1971 an IAM press release said that a commentary was no longer required so I decided to have a go. This was before training by group volunteers was established so I read the book and applied. I failed – because I’d over-interpreted the bit about being careful. I practiced what the examiner suggested, re-applied and passed a few months later. I joined the Birmingham group in 1977.
In 1981 I succumbed to appeals to become a volunteer observer. Since then I have helped about 100 associates to reach the level required to pass the Institute of Advanced Motorists test (several others have not persevered to test level but have improved their driving).
In 2004 I passed a further test to become a Senior Observer; allowing me to help train others to become observers and conduct mock tests.
In 1997 I was awarded the group’s “ExceptionalService” shield, and in 2007 “Member of the Year” shield.
My first interest in road safety was age 13 when I passed my Cycling Proficiency Test. A few years later I was teaching cycling proficiency to younger people in the church youth group I was in.
I learned to drive off-road in my Father’s 1956 Ford Popular, he taught me to drive on-road in his Mk I Ford Consul in which I passed my test at the second attempt.
My cars have been:
1956 Volkswagen Beetle (1967 – 69) (run entirely on a student grant)
1963 Rover 2000 (1969 – 76)
1973 Triumph Dolomite 1850 (1976 – 1979)
1976 Triumph Dolomite 1850HL (1979 – 2000)
I have also regularly driven the family:
Austin Mini 1000
Austin Metro 1.0
Rover Metro 1.1
Ford Fiesta 1.25
Skôda Fabia 1.4 16v Comfort
Our current car, bought new in 2006, is a Skôda Fabia 1.4 16v Ambient