Trained to Perfection
With driver training, you learn to expect the unexpected. As Dave Watson, founder of Roadwise Driver Training, explains: “You always have to make allowances and prepare for what somebody could do next. On more than one occasion I have asked a driver to take the right-hand exit at a roundabout, and they have tried to turn right and go round the wrong way. It’s quite astonishing what people can do when they’re behind the wheel.”
In an industry where the unexpected is commonplace it pays to be able to rely on the cars you and your colleagues use every day, which is why Dave is delighted to be working with Kia.
First, a little back story. Dave - born, raised and still based in Aberdeen – became a civilian driving instructor after a career in the police force. “During my time as a traffic police officer I developed a passion for road safety,” he says. “Too often I saw the tragic consequences of simple driver error and blatant bad driving.”
In 1994 he set up Roadwise, specialising in learner tuition and defensive driver training for corporate and fleet drivers. “Defensive driving teaches you to navigate roads in such a way that you proactively manage dangers,” says Dave.
Roadwise is now a social enterprise, having been acquired in 2012 by Aberdeen Foyer -charity that supports people in the North East of Scotland towards independent living, learning and work. Dave continues to develop the business as managing director. “The broader Roadwise business generates income for Aberdeen Foyer which enables them to continue to do great work with former homeless young people and individuals getting into work,” he says.
In early 2015, Dave started working with Kia as a vehicle supplier. Currently eight of Roadwise’s 16-strong fleet are Kia models – a mix of cee’d, Venga and Rio. “These models work well for both learner drivers and fleet training,” says Dave. “The cars have proven to be really economical and good value, and everyone loves driving them. The vehicles all have excellent forward vision, which is a great advantage when you’re coaching and learning. They’re also incredibly comfortable, which is useful for instructors who spend a lot of time in the car every day. It’s effectively their mobile office.”
A network of fleet coaches has been put in place working in Scotland, England and Wales. As Dave looks to expand Roadwise, he highlights the fact that a strong relationship with a vehicle supplier will be crucial. “We really value our connection with Kia as it brings consistency and a strong brand identity which I believe is vital to our expansion.” he says. “We’ve responded to the change in driver development which is now heavily slanted towards risk assessment and driver behaviour. We are delivering this method of coaching to meet the needs of companies and individuals throughout the UK.”
“Compared with other brands, Kia has taken a real interest in our business and the relationship we have is excellent. Our Kia contact, Lorraine Mitchell, really believes in what we’re doing as a social enterprise. Kia isn’t just selling us a car. The company has shown real commitment in working with us as we move forward. We’re very happy to have chosen Kia.”
Original Text From “Kia Business” Issue 12