Are you a young driver itching to get your first taste of life behind the wheel? Hoping to get a bit of on-road experience before you turn 17 and start your driving lessons? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a guide to four of the best young driver experiences in Kent. So, whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, or are a young driver yourself, one of these driving experiences could be the perfect option.
Young Driver – Bluewater
The Young Driver experience at Bluewater shopping centre is designed for prospective drivers. 11-17 year olds can take control of a brand new, dual controlled SEAT Ibiza alongside a qualified driving instructor. Youngdriver.eu explain that their aim is ‘to give young people invaluable, life-saving, driving experience before taking to the public roads’. The specially made training area acts as a realistic road, complete with give ways and junctions where young drivers can practice observations as well as stopping and starting. With a dedicated zone for parking and for practicing manoeuvres, young drivers are also able to get to grips with some of the trickier aspects of driving. Young Driver courses run at weekends and on Tuesday and Wednesday during the February half term. Prices start from £29.99 for a 30-minute session.
Off-roading – West Malling
If regular roads just aren’t daring enough, this 4×4 and apache experience could be the perfect young driver experience for you. Anyone aged 11+ can take part in this thrilling adventure, and – after learning the basics of driving – will be able to test your new skills off-road, in a dual controlled Land Rover. If the weather is kind to you, you’ll even get the chance to zoom around on a quad bike safari or take to the wheel in an Apache rally car. This full day of off-roading costs £115 through Buyagift, and will be an unforgettable experience for budding rally drivers!
Drive Brands Hatch – Fawkham, Longfield
Take driving lessons at one of Europe’s most prestigious tracks. Brands Hatch’s YoungDrive! experience allows youngsters aged 11 and over to take underage, legal driving lessons in their ‘driving school with a difference’. Drivers will be accompanied by a qualified driving instructor as they take to the track in a dual controlled Mini, learning the basics of driving in a safe environment. Reaching speeds of up to 40mph, young drivers will get some invaluable driving experience, learning how the controls work and exactly what being in the driver’s seat feels like. New for 2013, YoungDrive! Plus allows children and teens aged 11 and over to practice driving at higher speeds (up to 50mph), and to tackle more advanced manoeuvres. The YoungDrive! experience costs £79, whilst YoungDrive! Plus is £99.
It’s a classic activity which both kids and adults love, and at Buckmore Park kids aged 4-16 can become part of the Junior Club. Offering beginner, intermediate and championship racing, very young drivers will be able to perfect their racing skills on a course once driven by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. If they have a passion for racing, you can enroll them in Buckmore’s kart school. Formed in 1972, it’s the UK’s oldest go-kart school and is MSA approved. You never know, your little one might even become the next Formula1 sensation!
What do you think about young driver experience days?
Young driver courses give those under the age of 17 the opportunity to get some hands-on experience before taking driving lessons for real. With a Swedish study claiming accident rates are reduced by 40% when driver training started from a younger age, safe, supervised young driver training may not be as mad as it sounds.
Images via Rudoni Productions.