Women drivers get into gear in Surrey

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Last week I attended a ladies evening at Volkswagen dealership Lookers Walton on Thames where Councillor Barry Fairbank, Mayor of Elmbridge, and Mayoress Gill Smith, joined around 60 mostly female visitors this week at a Women in Gear car confidence evening devoted to self-help and safer driving.

There is always so much to learn about motoring, especially if it's ages since you passed your driving test and haven't had any refresher courses since. How to change a wheel, roadside get-you-home tips, defensive driving and even how to ward off a possible ‘road rage’ attacker.

We add female friendly garages, repairers and car dealers to this as well as the new ability for women to cut the cost of car insurance by joining FOXY Lady Drivers Club ie we don't have risky, accident prone boy racers in our ranks.

Following the recent spate of stories about aggressive drivers in the media, self-protection specialist Andy Williams, from the Realistic Self Defence Organisation, made the subject of defending yourself from a would-be mugger both entertaining and instructive. He developed the personal safety theme and demonstrated quick-fire methods of foiling would-be assailants, which involved disarming him – or her – in a series of simple moves with the aid of everyday objects such as car keys, a deodorant spray or a pen.

The evening continued with the psychology behind dangerous and aggressive driving behaviour and dealing with behind-the-wheel bullies, explored by ex-Police Chief Inspector Vic Botterill, who invited members of the audience to share their own experiences – often with dramatic revelations about their own behaviour when under pressure.

“Things that wind others up include lack of indicating, tailgating, driving too slowly, lane blocking and cutting up. How you feel inside tends to govern how you deal with and respond to the world outside. Interestingly, if you start being polite and considerate to others when you’re in your car then you find others on the road will do the same back to you. Drivers need to try and control their environment and a good way to start is by having more patience,” he explained.

Mayoress Gill Smith has since joined the Club and summed up the general opinion in her comments.

“I enjoyed the evening immensely and the speakers were excellent. I learned how to avoid conflict situations and de-fuse potential ‘road rage’ confrontations. The advice we were given applies to everyday situations too, even shopping in supermarkets! It was interesting to be shown how to change a car wheel safely by Lookers’ technicians, as I was forced to do so myself recently without any tuition. More car retailers should be doing this.”

Jo Carroll-Smart, who is works for Elmbridge schools, said: “The car maintenance module was a very good idea. My father always said that women should be encouraged to look after their vehicles and be able to change a car wheel as well as any man can. These courses are great for young girls and I brought a friend with me who didn’t know how to do this. ”

The next ladies event will be held in Romford on 11 March.

All #SBS Winners and their colleagues (male or female) are welcome to join us on the night.

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