Andrew Warburton and Paul Gregory, opened Safety 1st Driving Academy about a year ago and teach people as young as 10.
The academy took three years to open and involved a lot of calls and emails to get to where they are now. Once an air field, the academy was overgrown and disused, Andrew and Paul spent seven months transforming the overgrown site into roads, roundabouts, and a place where someone can learn how to drive.
Andrew became a driving instructor 10 years ago after his friend lost their life.
“A friend of mine got killed on a motor bike in a car crash and I thought what can I do to try and reduce that and so I became a driving instructor.”
The academy teach younger people with the hope that by the time they reach the legal driving age of 17, they will be experts.
Andrew said: “Younger people are fantastic, you tell them something and they absorb it straight away, you teach them good habits and they don’t forget them.”
The nature of the academy means that because it is private property anyone can attend and learn to drive.
“Everyone is different and someone who is more of a challenge to teach means that it is so much more of an achievement seeing them pass, it’s really really rewarding, the best
feeling is seeing their faces when they pass and the worst is when they fail.”
There has only been two crashes on the site in the time it has been open, one man was
teaching his son when he pressed the wrong pedal and drove into the fence.
Paul Gregory, who opened up the academy with Andrew said: “We worked together at a different driving school and we always had the ethos to try and make a difference.”
Paul teaches more older people than younger.
“I look after people who wouldn’t normally drive, I look after one lad who will never drive as he has certain issues but we offer a service where he can have that experience, it’s a life changer for some people.”
Paul had a similar life changing experience to Andrew.
“I lost my sister on the road and you see people on the roads and accidents and then if young people got in earlier and got and understanding then you will save lives.”
“In a normal driving test you’re allowed 16 minors and if someone passes with me and they have more than 5, I consider that a fail.”
To find out more or to visit the academy and take someone to experience what it’s like to drive a car, then click here.