Driver training for London 2012
Driver training for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics
In late 2011 I was chosen to become one of the elite driver trainers to provide coaching and assessment for the 10,000 volunteer drivers required for London 2012.
The drivers were based at different venues throughout London and the host cities. There were also different types of client - athletes, journalists, television news crews, IOC members through to dignitaries of visiting countries. The dignitaries of visiting nations were given a specific driver who they were in direct contact with and could be called upon at anytime of day or night to take the dignitary to their required destination. Other drivers were in radio contact with a central control (based at Canary Wharf) who would send drivers to collect from whichever venue, basically a posh taxi service!
The drivers would follow a set route with certain roads having dedicated 'Olympic Lanes'. The route was determined by a Satellite Navigation system called DORS (Dynamic Olympic Route System) or DORiS as it became affectionately known. The drivers had use of a huge fleet of BMW 3 and 5 series cars and were also responsible for the fuelling and cleaning of their particular car.
It was a wonderful experience, I got to train in a BMW and see parts of London that I'd never been to before.
The photograph above shows me and two of my clients having reached our destination of Horse Guards Parade which was the venue for the Beach Volleyball.
Training and Assessment
The assessment involved checking for -
- Vehicle Preparation
- Moving off, Observation
- Signalling, entering & leaving traffic flow
- Use of road signage
- Early positioning and, navigation
- Approaching standing traffic, hazards
- Negotiating roundabouts and junctions
- Joining and leaving multilane roads
- Parking & Manoeuvring
- Speed, braking and vehicle sympathy
- Attitude and courtesy
I found driving and being a passenger in London was considerably different to the driving styles I'm used to in Crewe. There seems to be a lot of love between the drivers of London as everyone wanted to get as close to each other as possible! I found that one of my main tasks was to persuade the drivers that keeping a distance from the vehicle in front meant that we weren't sucking in their fumes but also we had a safety margin if we got shunted from behind.
The training vehicles
The main vehicles used for the London 2012 Olympics were BMWs. Namely the 3 and 5 series and a mix of saloons and tourers. They were all fitted with stop/start technology allowing for the vehicle to be very efficient and keeping the legacy of an environmentally friendly Olympics. After the games these vehicles were sold through the BMW network and although they were without their London 2012 livery each vehicle had a "This vehicle was used during the London 2012 Olympics" plaque.
Wheelchairs users were able to use the more accessible Citroen C4 Grand Picassos and the Citroen Dispatch.