Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 13:10 UK

Skid courses to save young lives

Skid car
In Scandinavia, passing a skid course is compulsory for a driving licence

Young drivers on Anglesey are being given the chance to take a lesson they will never forget, as they learn to control a skidding car.

Young people account for one in four road deaths in Wales and Anglesey Council, which organised the training, hopes to help reduce that figure.

Almost 100 students from Coleg Menai are being put through their paces in a specially-adapted BMW.

The courses are being staged over eight days at the island's racetrack.

Huw Percy, Anglesey Council's principal roads engineer, said: "The statistics clearly show that young people are far more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than older drivers, with young male drivers particularly vulnerable.

Malcolm Hamilton and students
The first reaction when someone tries it out is panic. It doesn't matter how much theory they know, they will stamp on the brakes
Instructor Malcolm Hamilton

"Last summer we launched the all Wales summer drink-drive campaign for Anglesey at Coleg Menai.

"We've developed a good relationship with the college, but it's also quite appropriate that the last two fatalities we've suffered with young drivers were students at the college."

Eight days of training are taking place at the Anglesey Circuit at Ty Croes under the supervision of motor sports instructor, Malcolm Hamilton.

He runs a BMW car that is attached to a special frame developed in Sweden, where skid courses are a compulsory part of learning to drive.

"The frame means I can adjust the car to 40 different levels to simulate almost every road condition," he said.

"But while the road conditions are simulated, the skids they produce are very real.

"The first reaction when someone tries it out is panic. It doesn't matter how much theory they know, they will stamp on the brakes, and make the situation worse.

"The object of the training is to instil into drivers through practice the ability to recognize the situation they are in, and react instantly and instinctively to correct the situation."


Coleg Menai student Tom Davies, 17, said he wished he had received similar training before he passed his test last December.

Two weeks ago, he skidded in snow and needed to be cut free from his car unconscious after smashing into a lamp-post.

After taking the training, he said: "It's been really helpful. If had known this before the crash, I probably wouldn't have crashed."

video and audio news
BBC reporter George Herd tried out the driving safety course.

Teen learner wrote off dad's BMW
22 Apr 08 |  South West Wales
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23 Oct 07 |  North West Wales
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31 Aug 06 |  South East Wales

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