ULTIMATE DRIVING CRAFT - RoadCraft and Advanced Driving from Sergeant Chris Gilbert former Met.Police Driving School Hendon. Instructor to Prince William and Prince Harry.Launched November 2007
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Produced by one of the VERY TOP advanced driving instructors' in the UK - sergeant Chris Gilbert former Met. Police Driving School Hendon. Personal driving instructor to Prince William and Prince Harry. This DVD has been a huge success having sold world-wide to drivers in 33 countries. "Want to reduce your risk of accident involvement? Improve your hazard perception skills? Want to use speed correctly and safely? Learn commentary driving? Prepare for the advanced test?" (Much more included, too long to list). Then this is the DVD for you. This DVD builds the foundations for Ultimate Driving Craft 2 Day & NIght just released.
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Top customer reviews
This DVD is excellent. It should be essential viewing to all police drivers before even the basic test, or even issued along with the copy of Roadcraft before the standard course.
It gives the viewer a clear guide of how to drive safely and at speed, on country roads, main roads, in the dark or inclement weather. Not just suitable for the police driver but any driver wishing to learn how to become a safer driver. For those who have not had input from 'the system' before it gives an overview from the beginning.
The commentary is brilliant because it is clear and concise. No waffling! I like the phrases Chris uses to explain what he is seeing and have adopted a few!
I hope Chris brings out another DVD, this one is exceptional.
It is not a discourse of high performance magical tricks and techniques but rather contains numerous best practice examples, in different situations, of bulding upon and using commentary and observation to raise your driving competence and confidence.
In this sense it is a key element of what I was looking for and like Roadcraft when I review it again I see things that passed me on my earlier viewings.
The Commentary aspect of Advanced driving is perceived to be the most awkward and is an aspect I was looking for examples and advice so for me this has been a good investment
This is an excellent DVD when combined with the Roadcraft book and adds to "the Police Driver's Course on Advanced Driving" DVD.
The DVD covered driving situations which I don't have a great experience of (Central London driving, Motorways and narrow country roads). Every time I watch it I always pick up something new.
There is a poor weather section which covers heavy rain only. Lets hope that Chris Gilbert brings out a second DVD that covers other poor weather like fog, ice and snow plus night driving.
I can't recommend this DVD enough to anyone who wants to improve their driving skills at whatever level.
The basis of the technique is to develop the ability to perform a running commentary whilst driving, the objective of which is to demonstrate [to an instructor] alertness and awareness of prevailing driving conditions, traffic and weather, and to use that knowledge to take appropriate and timely action to avoid potentially hazardous situations. Once the technique becomes instinctive and therefore automatic the running commentary maybe ceased. The intention of the commentary is to demonstrate the student driver's hazard perception skills and the courses of action the student intends to take to eliminate the hazard.
The instructor, `Chris', is a professional police instructor of 40+ years experience with 20+ in advanced driving skills. He explains how the technique maybe applied whilst driving different types of vehicle from a family saloon, sports saloon , low-loader and passenger coach.
The video, which is of 100 minutes duration, is divided into 10 sections:-
1 opening commentary on a 999 run
2 commentary driving
3 roundabout approach
4 taking bends
5 driving plans
6 bad weather driving
7 motorway driving
8 city centre driving
9 progressive driving
10 clips of PCV and LGV driving
My first acquaintance with the video was to review it in its entirety in order to gain an appreciation of the technique and to learn the structure of the video. It is a prerequisite that the viewer has a comprehensive understanding of the Highway Code. I do not think this video is suitable for learner drivers unless their intention is to develop their driving skills beyond the mediocre.
Having watched the video I now have a better appreciation of what the technique involves. I found I could follow the instructor's thought processes in the vast majority of cases and it confirmed to me that maybe I am not that bad a driver after all. However, the video did highlight some weaknesses in my driving style, most notably not using the nearside wing mirror and looking over my left shoulder to view the nearside blind spot often enough. I have already begun to rectify these shortcomings as a direct consequence of viewing this video.
What I found particularly difficult was giving a running commentary to myself. It felt unnatural and unnerving because I prefer to listen to the radio whilst driving. It is almost impossible to give a commentary whilst listening to entertainment which is distracting at any volume level. I expect it would take many weeks, or even months, of daily tuition for a learner police driver to acquire sufficient confidence to be able to give a running commentary under the watchful and ultra-critical eye of an instructor. Watching the video without sound and giving a running commentary to oneself is nerve-racking enough but at least there are no adverse consequences if a mistake is made. It is a far worse experience behind a steering wheel under the watchful gaze of an instructor. It would be like taking the Driving Test all over again.
My approach to viewing this video after the initial session is to repeat each section as many times as necessary until the technique feels more comfortable and natural. I am currently practicing giving a commentary whilst driving alone. It is not something that should be practiced when carrying passengers because they soon get annoyed.
Chris mentions in the introductory section that none of the driving examples were rehearsed and what is seen is exactly what happened during the making of the video. I can believe it. However, there were no actual examples of driving in really bad weather where visibility can be seriously impaired, for example, driving in torrential rain at night (say). There was an example of how to apply the technique upon encountering deep water after a torrential rainstorm, a common enough scenario.
Chris did answer a query that has been on my mind for some time. How do you apply the technique when driving through a built up area where the proliferation of signage both on the road and alongside the verge can sometimes overwhelm the driver with too much information. The answer is simple, ignore the minor signs and concentrate only those that pose a risk if ignored. I think filtering information in this manner is a black art in itself.
One very useful tip that really hit home was if you find your commentary getting behind your driving, slow down, you are probably driving too fast. Ideally the commentary should identify hazards and courses of action BEFORE they are encountered. A learner police driver would not pass the course if his commentary failed to keep in step with his actions.
I deducted 1-star because I felt there could have been real examples showing how to apply the technique in adverse weather conditions where visibility can be greatly diminished. How do you give a commentary if you cannot see the road ahead? Don't drive, I suppose! Giving a running commentary in these difficult conditions would, I feel, be distracting and perhaps complete silence would better aid concentration. It is not an issue I care to put to the test.
I mentioned early in this review that the running commentary is only a means to an end. Once the technique has become automatic the need for a running commentary ceases, especially without an instructor present.
My favourite driving technique is to imagine my car affords me no protection whatsoever, as if it didn't exist. I think of myself as a `virtual pedestrian'. The threat of being struck by another vehicle certainly heightens ones senses and makes one more cautious.
Anyone who aspires to be a better than average driver should watch this and learn.
A must for anyone taking the IAM (or similar) advanced driving test
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