Mercedes Benz World looking for Britain's best young driver
Mercedes-Benz World is on the hunt for Britain’s best young driver and, to see what they are looking for, six reporters from Newsquest took on its driving academy challenge.
The rules were simple – each driver would complete five tasks to the best of their ability and the results of each challenge were converted into points. The lower your points score, the better a driver you are.
But be warned, there were also penalty points for carrying out the challenge incorrectly.
The challenge could be completed by youngsters from 16 years old who are yet to gain their licence, so how hard could it be?
Getting into the car is like the start of a driving test, ensuring your seat and mirrors are positioned correctly before driving off along the track to get a feel for the car.
Once you have sussed out how to start the engine, change gear and apply the handbrake, it was time to start the first challenge.
The first challenge of a three-point-turn was reasonably simple, although doing so in a car you have just jumped in make the task much harder.
The second challenge we completed was our ability to stop our car, going forwards then backwards, with our wheels placed on a line on the floor.
It sounded surprisingly easy, but when you are behind the wheel, it is quite the challenge.
Our third task was the dreaded parallel park.
To make things difficult, the kerbstones were placed at an angle, so the objective was to get as close and as parallel to them as possible.
The distance to the kerb was measured from the front and back wheels, with a one point penalty for each centimetre away.
One of our favourite tasks of the challenge was “Don’t drop the ball”, in which a tennis ball was placed on top of a cone in front of and behind the car, with the aim to get as close to the ball without knocking it from the cone.
The final challenge was the reverse slalom, a test of accuracy, judgement and precision steering control.
The aim was to reverse in and out of a line of cones without hitting them.
Having a practise at going forwards made the challenge feel easy, but going backwards added difficulty.
Luckily, no cones were injured while we completed the challenge.
Upon completing the tasks, we waited to find out who would be the best driver and be the most respected within our office.
Taking the two top spots were Amy Dyduch and Rachel Bishop of the Richmond and Twickenham Times, with the Elmbridge Guardian’s Laura Proto coming in third place.
To sign up for the driving challenge, visit uk.mb driving academy.com.