GDE Matrix Comes to Life

Driving in misty, wet conditions

Well, what a fabulous weekend I had this weekend, attending a fun-packed conference in Birmingham with a network marketing group I'm involved with. I experienced some of the best business training imaginable, met some amazing people, clapped, cheered, laughed and cried at the stories told on the stage by people who'd made a success of their businesses following challenges in their lives but refusing ever to give up. Yes, inspiring stuff.

So, what has any of this got to do with driver training, our industry or the Dile?  Well, the weekend involved travel, by car, setting off at 5am on Saturday and returning Sunday after the conference finished at 5pm.  Both journeys were in wet, miserable weather, I was the driver and I was tired on both trips!

Friday night, fully intending to have an early night, I finally got to bed at midnight! I tried hard to complete the weekly newsletter so it could be scheduled, as usual, to be delivered to inboxes by 7am on Monday morning. Sadly I failed, and so the newsletter is a day late!  I set my alarm for 3am as my friend was arriving at 4.30 to travel across to Birmingham with me. I had to shower and wash hair, and I need my pot of tea in the morning before I can wake up!  So, 3hrs sleep and a 3hr drive ahead of me in mist and rain, travelling on the A14 and M6!  We had a stop at the BP on the A14 where I usually stop, a 'pain aux raisins' and a cup of tea then on our way, making sure the sat-nav was set up ok for the directions to our actual destination, the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham, before crossing the bridge from the hotel across to the ICC for our conference. So, I arrived tired but excited, and had a wonderful day followed by an equally wonderful evening.

After a very refreshing night's sleep, and 'the works' for breakfast in the hotel, it was back over the bridge for another fun-packed day of training and celebrations. The day ended at 5pm but it was another hour before we were actually on the road home. 

The weather for the return trip was worse than ever. It was dark, very wet, and car headlights reflected piercingly off the water, made worse by drivers who felt it was time to show off their front and rear fog lights!  Thank goodness for the relief of knowing I had a full set of new tyres on my car!  I just wanted to get safely off the M6 onto the A14 then stop as soon as possible!  We were only an hour into our return journey, but I knew I needed to stop. I was exhausted, eyes strained by the difficulty of driving, and I was concerned for our safety if I continued.

The first services we came to on the A14 was one served by a McDonald's outlet.  Now, I hate McDonald's so avoid these places like the plague, preferring to choose Little Chef. So, deciding we would park up in McDonald's car park, my first mistake was to realise very late that the 'lane' with yellow diagonal lines and double yellow lines next to the kerb was the lane I was supposed to be in! My 2nd mistake was to look for a space in the car park, just like in Little Chef car parks, spot a space and drive towards it. It was only as I was doing this that I spotted the arrows on the road surface pointing towards me, menacingly, as if to point and exclaim, 'You're a driving instructor! What are you doing coming into the car parking area the wrong way? tut tut!  To make matters worse, the car parking space I chose was next to a Bill Plant car, with 2 men inside (both ADI's?) who watched me as I entered the space from the wrong direction, then proceeded to hit the kerb!! How could I??

How could I indeed!  Yes, I'd made the correct decision to stop when I did.  I'd assessed my ability to continue driving and rightly decided to stop!  In this strange environment of McDonald's, which to my brain was the familiar environment associated with past habits of using Little Chef, my brain failed to see the one way system round the car park, it only saw what it expected to see!  It even parked me level with the front seats of the car to my right, failing to notice it had a much longer bonnet, and so I crashed into the kerb!  Yes, there was an unpleasant scraping sound from the front of the car as I reversed out of this space!

So, what risks did I effectively manage here, and what could I have done differently?  

  • I managed the risk of rushing by ensuring we left in good time. However, I increased that risk by failing to get to bed early enough the night before!
  • I managed the risk of needing the toilet just as we got into Birmingham central traffic, by stopping for a 'comfort break' much further back in the journey,even though neither of us desparately needed it at the time.
  • I managed the risk of getting lost by using a sat-nav, but I failed to ensure that I knew to ignore sat-nav lady when she directed us onto the M6 toll by insisting we stayed right onto the M6!  Next time I will enure I study the road map, not just print out the Google directions for back-up!
  • I managed the risk of being over-tired/unsafe on the return journey by stopping for half an hour after just one hour of driving.
  • I increased my risk by not recognising the differences of the McDonald's car park layout and directional flow of traffic. In future, to minimise this risk, I will ensure I pause briefly to take stock of my surroundings, rather than assume all layouts are the same!

On Sunday October 27th, the ADICPD Club is hosting a mega-worshop entitled, 'GDE Matrix Comes to Life!'

This event takes place from 10am to 4.30pm at Groby Village Hall, Leicester LE6 0DJ, and is facilitated by Neil Snow and other highly qualified trainers and CPD Club members, including....Jackie Willis!!  Yes, I will be delivering one of the GDE workshops, and the level from the GDE that I will be covering is...drum roll......The Journey!  Together we will be assessing the risks to certain journeys and the risk increasing factors associated with that journey!  I hope my tale of my own recent experience will get you thinking and encourage you to attend this unique opportunity to bring the GDE to life, and go home buzzing - as I did following my weekend conference!

We will cut through the scientific jargon and create a fun and engaging learning environment so that the GDE Matrix means something to you!  (Neil Snow, President ADICPD Club)


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