School children learn how to drive a car

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SAFETY for young drivers is at the top of the priority list at Goodwood motor circuit – as youngsters experience their first taste behind the wheel.

Statistics reveal four fatalities occur every day in the UK involving drivers under the age of 21, while one in five crash within six months of starting to drive.

And now Goodwood and DriverIQ – an online hazard perception test – have teamed up to teach youngsters the basic skills of driving in a Mini so they are fully prepared and equipped to deal with what they will encounter on public roads.

They take part in seven different missions ranging from starting and stopping to performing manoeuvres.

Motor circuit general manager Mark Featherstone said: “We are hoping to help under 17-year-olds learn more about driving before they go on the roads.

“Research shows young people do not start using part of the brain until they are 25, so we’re trying to open that up and get all the neurons going so by the time they get on the open road they are aware.

“At the same time we are making it fun with the cool circuit and Mini car and they get to do a lap after every mission.

“I approached a number of schools and asked them to bring along students to try it out.”

Schools and colleges from around the area took part in the initiative which is set to run every other Sunday.

Chichester College student Rosie Tai, 16, said: “It was a really good experience.

“I have been very nervous about getting in to a car, but this has been a big confidence boost.”

Mr Featherstone also has a long-term aim to try to reduce high insurance premiums for young drivers when starting out.

“Over time we hope to develop so our instructors here can take them out on the road in the same car,” he said.

“It’s also difficult for parents to buy their kids anything more than a cheap run-around that is not fit for purpose because insurance is so high on new drivers.

“If we can get children to graduate here then maybe we can get them better premiums and better cars – but that’s long-term.”