I want to honour my late father, Sergeant Ron Hardwick (formerly West Midlands Police) who taught me to drive over 30 years ago to the standard of Roadcraft.
I never found the time to go further while he was alive, even when he had his own driving school, so when he passed away suddenly in August 2012 I regretted having been too busy to do it under his guidance. He was certain I could pass the Advanced Test.
When I saw it advertised on social media a couple of years after that I took the offer of a free assessment drive from my local IAM RoadSmart group in Birmingham and was told I could pass but could hone my skills further if I wanted to. I had three observed drives after my initial assessment and put in for my test.
I was very nervous at my test but my examiner, Ken Perry immediately put me at my ease. I kept saying to myself: “It's just another drive.” Apart from nerves getting the better of me while reversing (it's not a problem normally) I felt I had a good drive and was relieved to hear the words: "it's a good pass," when I had finally finished. Ken also gave some great feedback during and after the test to improve even more going forward and backwards
The skills my dad taught me were enhanced by my observers and I was very emotional about passing. I treated myself to a coffee and a cake from the cafe near our meeting point, after all it's what my dad and I used to do regularly.
Turns out while chatting after the test was over, Ken my examiner even knew my dad from their policing days which just proves what a small world it really is. I display my IAM RoadSmart badge proudly as my personal tribute to dad.
I am eternally grateful to my observers and examiner for giving up their time to coach and test drivers who really want to improve and be able to enjoy their driving instead of enduring getting from A to B with minimal skill involved.
I feel very happy to have proved my dad right after all these years and am enjoying my driving even more now.