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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 14:33 GMT
Pupils in road safety drive
Simulator and users
The simulator shows youngsters how to drive safely
Students at a north Wales college have been given the chance to test their driving skills in a 25,000 car simulator in a scheme designed to improve safety and reduce road accidents.

Pupils from Yale College in Wrexham have been revving up for the chance to get behind the wheel of the Vauxhall Corsa and test out their driving knowledge.

Simulator and boy
The driving simulator has cost thousands

The driving simulators cost 500,000 to develop and the roadshow has been sponsored by the British School of Motoring(BSM).

It is part of a national programme to travel around secondary schools throughout Wales, teaching youngsters the functions of starting, stopping and changing gear.

Co-ordinator Mike Barber said safety is the driving force behind the campaign.

"We are doing it partly because there is a greater need for awareness of road safety issues, particularly amongst - not just young drivers - but new drivers as well," he said.


The things I learnt after I passed my test, I threw three quarters of it out of the window

Simon Wilkinson, Student

Groups of 17-year-olds have been trying out the pretend car across the region and Mr Barber says they have received good feedback.

"When students get to17-years-of age they are very keen to get out there on the road, get behind the wheel of a car - bit of personal freedom.

"It had started to be seen as something of a right to have a car.

"What we find now is that once the students come up here and get over that hurdle - of well maybe I'm not as good as I thought - they view it very positively."

Changing Gear

Simon Wilkinson from Deeside has been driving for 12 months but he was keen to test his driving ability.

The simulator took the 20-year-old through the process of changing gear and stopping.

He admits it was quite difficult: "I wasn't up to the computers standards - I was breaking too much or too soft - I couldn't get the feeling right because I'm used to driving my Escort."

He added: "I think it's a good idea for people who haven't got a licence, to get some experience - incase they injure themselves out on the road.

Mike Barber
BSM workers are promoting safe driving

"The things I learnt after I passed my test, I threw three quarters of it out of the window - but this is a good idea," he said.

Andrew Jones from Wrexham has never had any driving lessons but thought the computer programme was helpful.

"It was quite good - it talked me through how to do an emergency stop and what gears to put in," he said.

The 20-year-old has no plans to get behind the wheel yet but admitted the simulator was fun: "This will definitely help me when I decide to have lessons."


More news from north east Wales
See also:

08 Jan 02 | UK Politics
12 Jan 02 | UK Politics
22 Mar 00 | Health
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