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Rate the date: Ms A’s take on the Direct Line Icy Roads challenge.

A few weeks ago I was invited to take on a skid pan in Kettering with Direct Line. As it was a night away from the kids and the sort of challenge Mr A would enjoy, I asked if I could bring him too, Direct Line kindly said yes and that he could probably get a quick lap of the skid pan. On the day another blogger dropped out so Mr A was lucky enough to get the full experience.

I love the end of the video clip, it says it all! Mr A’s account is over on Alexander Residence. Here is what I thought:

The experience

For me it was really empowering to be able to really push a car in tricky conditions, I am a really cautious driver, but now I feel like I know exactly how a car reacts in bad conditions, and how to compensate for that.

What did I learn?

I learnt the tricks to cope with all kinds of tricky situations.

All of this was learnt at slow speeds – donutting a car at 10mph is a very liberating feeling and gives you an amazing sense of what happens when a car loses control, and how you can rectify it. Doing that at 40mph would be utterly terrifying.

The biggest thing I learnt was not to put the car under too much pressure. Cars are a lot like men, they can’t multi-task, so if you slam on the clutch, the brake and try and steer out of a skid, you going to end up in a real mess. Or in the words of our legendary instructor Stan,

A car is like a woman…you need to caress it

Fullscreen capture 14032014 133503.bmp

Stan’s colleague favoured the more PC: ‘Treat the break like sponge’, push gently to gain traction. Wait to gain traction before trying to do anything further with the car.

Know what kind of steering your vehicle has, this will effect how it handles in icy situations.

Who is the best driver?

Our instructors favoured women as they are generally smoother, more cautious drivers who take fewer risks. Mr A will tell you he is the better driver of course, he certainly got the science and technology behind what we were doing, and the counter intuitive nature of the manoeuvres we needed to pull off to rescue ourselves from a skid. That’s why I look so cross in the film!

When it came to the actual driving, I would say we were both pretty evenly matched in terms of dealing with an emergency.

Rate the date

Given he was the odd one out, the only participant without a blog, and made to have dinner with a load of bloggers at the hotel the night before, Mr A was very patient. Given I took him to a muddy, oily track in the middle of an airfield where the wind and rain threatened to knock us sideways, he was undaunted. Given lunch was sarnies and crisps in a trailer which actually tipped over as we were enjoying our refreshments and he still came back for more after lunch, I would say he is a keeper. Given he surely has to accept I am the best driver, I had better award at least 8/10 😉



  1. 28/04/2014 / 10:19 pm

    Tee hee, looks like great fun. Not had a date night for a VERY long time but I’m thinking this could be a start, for a date afternoon maybe?!

  2. 14/10/2014 / 7:51 am

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