Speed awareness training at Lancashire Constabulary HQ

On both Saturday & Sunday this weekend, Bolton MRT member Steve Fletcher attended the Lancashire Constabulary Motor Driving School at the police headquarters at Hutton, Preston, for two days of “speed awareness” driver training.

Also joining Steve was one team member from each of our colleague teams in Lancashire, Bowland Pennine MRT and Rossendale & Pendle MRT.

The weekend was run by two Lancashire Constabulary officers who themselves instruct the Police and other emergency agencies in “blue light” driving.

The weekend began at 09:00 with instruction on the rules of the road relating to driving in emergency conditions as well as the theory of dealing with traffic in such conditions.

All three MRT members then boarded the Rossendale & Pendle MRT Landrover (Mobile 3) which was present, and spent the morning with Roger (our instructor) who assessed driving skills and techniques… and of course he picked up on a few bad habits of everyone present!

After lunch, more theory on general vehicle handling, overtaking manoeuvres and vehicle positioning was discussed, coupled with the obvious fact that driving a long wheelbase Landrover laden with MR equipment and personnel is a very different experience to driving an average family car.

Roger then bundled us into RPMRT’s Landrover again to assess what we had learned earlier that day – hopefully by now some of what we had been told was “sinking in”!

The day finished at around 16:00 with everyone present having learned something new (even our instructor, who now knows a little more about Mountain Rescue!)

At 09:00 on Sunday morning we were again given another theory presentation on the rules of the road, in particular the things that we are allowed to do whilst emergency response driving, coupled with the things that we’re not allowed to do!

We were then taken onto the streets of Preston for a commentary run in a liveried Police vehicle under emergency conditions; this was a valuable learning experience – amongst other things it showed just how well other drivers will respond to an emergency vehicle’s lights and sirens, without the need to drive aggressively. Although again it should be mentioned that handling a 3.2 litre Vauxhall Vectra is very different to handling our Landrovers!

After lunch, the MRT personnel present were again given the chance to drive under assessment, but this time on what is seen as our more natural ground – the windy country lanes in the Trough of Bowland, which provided plenty of handling experience and a chance to again try out some of the techniques that we had learned during the course.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those at Lancashire Constabulary for organising and running the course, and of course thanks to Rossendale & Pendle MRT for supplying one of their Landrovers for the duration of the weekend.