Everything a girl needs to know about cars
MotorSport Vision’s YoungDrive! is underage driving made legal – a first lesson on a real race track for 11 to 17-year-olds.
Cars4Girls.com Offers News
Gemma Masini
December 19, 2017
photo courtesy of Gary Hawkins

YoungDrive! is the perfect Christmas gift for aspiring young drivers who can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Experienced instructors put them through their paces in a stunning Mini ONE, teaching the basics of clutch control and gear changing while reaching speeds of up to 40mph in a safe, controlled environment.

A YoungDrive! lesson lasts around two-and-a-half hours and includes:
– Introduction and classroom briefing
– In-car briefing on controls
– Moving off and stopping
– Steering through cone configurations
– Clutch Control and its purpose
– Changing gears
– Building up speed and steady driving (up to 40mph) on closed-off sections of the circuit
– Students rotate driving and watching from the rear seat
– Debrief and certificate presentation
– Photo opportunity
– Q and A for parents and students

I went along with my son for his 11th birthday present and found the entire experience extremely well put together. As an F1 fan my son was very excited to be driving on a part of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and although nervous at the start he quickly relaxed and found his confidence with his instructor calmly taking him through each step. I was amazed at how quickly he mastered the slalom course and how smoothly he was able to pull away and stop. The experience certainly left him beaming from ear to ear and that is why I think this is the ultimate Christmas gift for kids!

YoungDrive! is available at Brands Hatch in Kent, Snetterton in Norfolk, Oulton Park in Cheshire and Bedford Autodrome on selected dates throughout the year. Full details are available at www.msvdrivinggifts.com/youngdrive

YoungDrive! gift vouchers are £85 and are valid for 12 months. Bookings made before the end of the year will also receive a FREE ticket to the British Superbike or British Touring Car Championship worth up to £34!

YoungDrive! Plus is also available for £109 at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton, offering an advanced option for those who have already completed YoungDrive! with additional manoeuvres and faster speeds.

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Women less likely to pass their driving test than men, new data shows
Gemma Masini
December 6, 2017

Women in cities fare particularly badly, with fewer than 30% passing in parts of London, Manchester and Birmingham
Young men claim 14% more on insurance than young women – and their claims are 46% more expensive

Although they’re statistically less likely to be in a serious accident, women are still faring worse than men when it comes to passing their driving test, according to analysis by learner driver insurance provider Veygo by Admiral.

A combination of DVLA learner driver data and Admiral’s own accident figures were used to compile the most comprehensive picture to date of learning to drive in the UK. It forms part of the learner driver insurance specialist’s campaign to give young drivers the best information possible to help them pass their tests.

The statistics show that 51% of men passed their test in 2016-17, compared to 44% of women. This is despite figures showing young men (aged 17-21) claim 14% more frequently than young women on their car insurance, and their claims are 46% more expensive than similarly-aged women.*

Last year, there were 1,730,921 driving tests taken in the UK. 815,168 tests were passed in total – 51.3% by men and 48.7% by women.

Overall, women fare much better in Scotland and Wales – pass rates in England are 4% and 6% lower than in those countries respectively. England has the lowest overall pass rate for women – at 43%.

In some parts of the UK, particularly in busy urban areas, fewer than one in three women are passing their driving test.

10 Test Centres Where Women Perform the Worst

1 Belvedere (London) 24.9%
2 Cheetham Hill (Manchester) 27.7%
3 South Yardley (Birmingham) 28.0%
4 Salford (Manchester) 29.0%
=5 Erith (London) 29.2%
=5 Wanstead (London) 29.2%
7 Garston (Liverpool) 29.3%
8 Wednesbury (Staffordshire) 29.4%
9 Barking (London) 29.8%
10 Barnet (London) 30.1%

Veygo’s in-depth research is the basis of an interactive map, allowing drivers to see pass rates of test centres near them so they can make an informed decision about where to take their test. Its cost calculator also helps new road users to estimate how much it will cost them to learn to drive.
Of 349 UK test centres, only 14 recorded better pass rates for women rather than men, while 11 of these were in remote parts of Scotland and Wales. There were only three test centres in England where women outperformed men – Wellingborough, Northamptonshire; Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Camborne, Cornwall.

The UK Test Centres Where Women Outperform Men

1 Kingussie (MPR) 47.9% (FPR)62.5%
2 Grantown-On-Spey (MPR)50.6% (FPR) 61.9%
3 Benbecula Island (MPR)46.7% (FPR)57.5%
4 Stranraer (MPR)60.3% (FPR)67.6%
5 Gairloch (MPR)66.7% (FPR)73.9%
6 Wick (MPR)58.7% (FPR)64.0%
7 Mallaig (MPR)75.0% (FPR)80.0%
8 Stornoway (MPR)63.2% (FPR)67.4%
9 Wellingborough (MPR)58.4% (FPR)62.1%
10 Trowbridge (MPR)47.6% (FPR)49.8%
11 Rothesay (MPR)71.2% (FPR)72.5%
=12 Newtown (MPR)55.7% (FPR)56.8%
=12 Camborne (MPR)50.1% (FPR)51.2%
14 Kyle of Lochalsh (MPR)71.9% (FPR)72.2%

( *MPR = Male Pass Rate *FPR = Female Pass Rate )

While pass rates for both genders have risen since 2007-08, the difference between male and female pass rates have stayed largely the same – the gap was 6% at the end of 2008, compared to 7% in 2016.

And although success rates for both men and women fall after several driving test attempts, the gap between them remained consistent; men are 7 percentage points higher than women when taking their first test, and 6 percentage points higher on their 6th attempt. The data can be found the blog of Veygo Learner Driving Insurance.

Jean-Baptiste Limare, Head of Veygo, said: “Countless statistics have shown that young women are less likely to be involved in crashes than young men, but are consistently passing less than their male counterparts – our Learn to Drive calculator gives the clearest picture of this disparity yet. This has a real impact in terms of time and cost – women are paying more to learn to drive.”

“Our map gives learners the opportunity to research the test centres with the best pass rates. If it is a viable option, they might consider doing their test somewhere with more favourable pass rates. Ultimately, there’s no better preparation than practice and you always find that learners who have plenty of experience in the area around their test centre are less likely to be surprised and more likely to shed their L-plates.

“The best advice is to supplement formal driving lessons with additional practice with friends and family members. This could also save you money as you may need to pay for fewer lessons.”

TV Presenter Jane Farnham, founder here at Cars4Girls.com, said that there isn’t anything inherently sexist or gender biased in the test, but that she was surprised by the difference between the two genders.

“I’m obviously biased, but I do think women are better drivers than men. Girls are generally more risk averse and less prone to red mist in a tricky situation – and this is backed up by industry insurance data and crash statistics which show that the actual risks are shown to be greater with men.

“I do think that there are ‘real life’ factors that are hard to cater for in a test.

“There are also more male examiners than female, so I think that could make some girls slightly less relaxed. I understand how pass rates may be lower in inner-city areas because the traffic can be harrowing enough to contend with, let alone when you’re next to the examiner.

“There’s nothing wrong with failing your test – I passed second time around and they say they are the best drivers!”

Further stats available at https://www.veygo.com/learner-drivers/revealed-uks-toughest-driving-test-centre/

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Annalese Ferrari offers cars4girls her top tips for staying safe on the roads in winter.
Gemma Masini
November 27, 2017

As we are now coming into the wintery weather, driving conditions can be hazardous and vary from day to day, so below are some of my tips to keep you safe on the road! If you want to have a go at some more “exhilarating” driving, please make sure you go to a motorsport school and do it safely, crazy driving is NOT for the road!

·         Prepare your car – ensure you have de icer or an ice scraper, ensure your lights are clean and working, all wiper blades are clean and in working order, screenwash is fully topped up, tyre condition, tread and depth is of a safe standard, brakes are working well and anti freeze and oil are kept topped off. Remember to get your car serviced when it requires it!

·         When the weather temperature really starts to drop, make sure you have emergency supplies in your car – mobile phone and charger, warm clothes/blanket, a torch and a hot flask if you are on a long journey! It is also highly advisable to have motoring breakdown cover to ensure someone will be along to help you in the event of a car failure!

·         Driving in the rain – rain greatly reduces visibility and stopping distances! Allow TWICE your normal braking distance in the rain, ensuring you have enough time to stop. Use your wiper blades and dipped headlights(in the daytime) or main headlights at night. Do not use your fog light unless visibility is under 100m – fog lights blind other drivers so only use if definitely required during fog, they are not for use in just rainy weather!

·         Aquaplaning – aquaplaning happens when driving too fast into surface water, the tyre cannot channel the water away quick enough. Ensure tyre pressures and depth are at the required standard to help avoid aquaplaning. If you do aquaplane, ease off the accelerator and brakes to allow the car to re-grip the road again.

·         Driving in snow and ice – reduce your speed to the point where you won’t skid if you need to stop and avoid harsh braking, acceleration and sharp steering. Driving on ice can increase your braking distance up to TEN times from your normal braking distance. To brake safely on ice, drop your car into a lower gear than normal, allow it to slow down and then apply the brakes. If there are weather warning, ensure you listen to them prior to travelling and only essential travel should be done during extreme conditions.

·         Driving in low sunshine – ensure your windscreen is clear and free from grease and reduce your speed. You might not see pedestrians/cyclists/horse riders in time due to the glare from the sun. Always remove your sunglasses once the sun has gone in.

·         Driving in fog – only use your fog lights when visibility drops below 100m in front and when there is no car behind you – once the car behind you can see you, turn the rear lights off to avoid dazzling the driver behind! Slow your speed down and if you are driving through patchy fog, remember it can appear just as quickly as it disappears!

·         Driving in high winds – hang on to the steering wheel, avoid bridges where possible and be aware of falling debris.

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Annalese Ferrari, stunt driver, rider and model talks Films, footballers and being blown up ....
Gemma Masini
November 27, 2017

Annalese is literally one of the coolest girls on the block, she is driven by horse power, as a professional stunt rider on horse back and driver behind the wheel.  She has appeared in numerous live stunt shows, scared the pants off of the Arsenal football team as she parallel parked them in their own net, and she has appeared in movies including the Fast and the Furious and Edge Of Tomorrow.  There is nothing Annalese cannot do behind the wheel, I have witnessed first-hand as she takes a four wheel car up onto two wheels, perform j-turns, and hit high speeds that most of us could only dream (or  perhaps have nightmares!!) about.
So what better woman to give the rest of us tips on ultimate car handling, but first i wanted to get to know Annalese a little better.
With a name like Ferrari you were destined to be involved in cars in some way or another! When did you first find your passion for cars?

I had always been interested in cars as a child and loved watching Michael Schumacher on the TV! I think I have always had a need for speed and when I was old enough, I asked my mum to take me karting, I absolutely loved it so it all stemmed from there. Once you’ve started in motorsport, you can become addicted very quickly. My name obviously helps a little too…!
And how did that lead you on to stunt driving?

I had started doing live shows from being involved in racing and then by chance, I met a film stunt coordinator who said he needed a female driver for a film. At first I thought he was joking until he called me and asked me to go to Warner Brother Studios for a screen test! So it all came from racing cars, it really gives you a good grounding in car control and car confidence which you definitely need for performing stunts.
How do you go about learning such skills? I mean its not like popping the handbrake in your local Supermarket and arriving in the space!!

I’m pretty much self taught regarding skills, I have had some training along the way which I have been grateful for but some stuff you just have to get on with it! There is rehearsals for live shows and filming so there is some practice but it’s having the mindset to be able to do it that is most important. The first film I worked on I was towing a caravan that was remotely controlled by someone else – I’d never towed anything before and then there I was towing a caravan at 70mph being blown up by aliens! Most of the stunts require a sensible head as you have to be very aware of crew, cast, cameras etc that are generally quite close to you and accuracy is very crucial! There a  number of stunt schools out there where you can have a go at the movie tricks but to do them at a filming level takes years of practice and experience.
How much of a part does fitness play in being a stunt driver?

Fitness is fairly important for both body and mind. Fatigue is a big problem with driving stunts and can affect concentration and attention which is very important either on a set or in a live show to avoid any unplanned incidents! Sometimes the cars can be quite “heavy” to drive so you do need a base line of physical fitness too to manoeuvre them around. Core strength is actually quite important to be able to feel what the car is doing.
You perform some pretty cool stunts, I have been lucky enough to see you in action – what is the ultimate stunt that you loved doing?

I think every job has it’s exciting parts but one that stands out for me was filming on Edge Of Tomorrow, the car I was driving was blown up whilst I was driving it and the caravan on the back was set on fire, looking back in the mirrors as you are towing a massive fireball is pretty exciting! It took lots of filming for that particular scene, the stress levels were pretty high but the end results were spectacular! There are so many fun things I have done, another one was for Ford, racing around the docks in Barcelona at full speed in reverse next to the big drop into the sea got the blood pumping!
What was it like being on the set of such an amazing and cool film Fast and Furious?

Being on the set of any film sounds more exciting than the reality of it but being able to work with top cast and crew is what makes it amazing. It’s quite surreal when you’re working with a mega famous actor and you have to pinch yourself sometimes to say am I really here?! The talent I have been fortunate to work with has been incredible, directors, cameramen, wardrobe, actors etc and it’s nice to get to know some of these people outside of their media personas. The actual reality of being on set though is usually long hours, mostly spent waiting around, in cold, freezing and wet locations!

I`ve seen you in action with the Arsenal football boys, were they shocked when their ‘girlie’ chauffeur turned out to be a bit of a daredevil?

The Arsenal video was definitely the funniest job I have ever done! They had no idea who I was – in fact, they thought I was from the Arsenal Ladies team until I started driving them round a football course at high speed doing driving stunts! I had one take to get everything right otherwise the prank wouldn’t have worked and luckily it all went to plan; although I did have to hold one of them in car at one point! They were properly shocked, maybe a little scared but saw the funny side at the end of it, I’m also relieved it went well as I’m not sure I would have coped with the wrath of the Arsenal fans if I had wiped out 3 of their top players!
Check out Annalese in action and coming soon … her top tips for Winter driving …

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