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In the RED driving seat: Anthony Fuller
In the RED driving seat this month is York based driving instructor Anthony Fuller.
Anthony is a retired police officer, teaches in an automatic car and is fully trained in teaching those with disabilities how to drive.
As an instructor in an automatic car, what do you feel are the benefits of automatic driving vs manual?
When driving an automatic car the driver is able to focus more on what is going on around them as opposed to having to think about changing to the appropriate gear. Moving off on gradients and hills is also much easier as the car will not roll back so worrying about clutch control and ‘biting points’ is not an issue. Why make life difficult?
As an instructor trained in teaching the disabled how to drive, do you find this to be rewarding?
A major disadvantage to most suffering with a disability is the necessity to rely on others. I am able to assist my students in finding greater independence and being less reliant on others as passing a driving test and having the ability to drive opens up so many new opportunities and is a real life changer. To be a part of helping someone to improve their life in such a dramatic way is just amazing!
What are the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of your job?
Driving is not just a means to get from A to B but is an art and people should take pride in the quality of their driving ability. I can still find driving challenging at times, often due to the conduct of other road users. Teaching Defensive Driving to my students is therefore of the utmost importance. To drive safely and to enjoy driving on the roads today you need to have the ability to drive in such a way that you can anticipate the bad driving or errors of others, thereby avoiding incidents, accidents and confrontation. To pass that skill onto my students always give me great satisfaction.
The biggest challenge to an instructor is not just to teach someone to drive but in many cases to improve or totally change the students’ attitude and behaviour so after they pass they continue to drive as they were taught.
If you were hosting a dinner party, which three guests, dead or alive, would you invite and why?
First on my list would be Sir Bobby Robson. In 1988 some newspapers ran hate campaigns against the England manager calling for him to be sacked. I responded by writing a letter to Sir Bobby to which I received a clearly written, personal reply. I never met the man but know his football knowledge was immense and everyone who ever met him appeared touched by his greatness – not football greatness necessarily, but greatness as a man!
Next on the list would be Sir Roger Moore. I grew up watching him and I have always loved the films he has featured in, even now, if he is appearing in a film I just know it will be worth watching.
Finally, I would have to invite the world’s greatest ever sportsman, Muhammad Ali. Apart from being the greatest sportsman of all time, what a personality, what a character! But, most of all, what that one man has done for race relations is truly remarkable. He opened so many eyes and changed so much worldwide, making him one of the most successful teachers ever.
If money was no object, what make and model of car would you choose to drive?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When I was ten I went to the pictures with my younger sister to watch the film. We stayed in the cinema and watched it three times. By 10pm my parents had reported my sister and I as missing so there was quite a big police search taking place by the time we were found. I remember being literally kicked up the backside by my dad once we were returned home. It was worth it though as I fell in love for the first time that day – her name was Truly Scrumptious!