When I first came to Stoke on Trent my first thought was how vastly different it was from the Hong Kong that I had been used to. But as the weeks and years have flown by I’ve learned to like it and now call it home.
Initially, when I thought of Stoke the 1st things that came to my mind were potteries, mining and oatcakes – but now as I drive around the City, I realise just what an ideal place it is for anyone learning to drive.
When I joined Tristar Driving I must admit that I wasn’t totally aware of the sheer size of the Stoke on Trent area.
The area is so huge and consists of numerous housing estates and Industrial estates – each presenting a wide selection of practice-areas, to enable the learner to progress from novice through to test standard; areas like Burslem, Tunstall, Hanley, and Newcastle under Lyme also have a vast assortment of roads and estates, where the learner driver can build their confidence before venturing on to busier roads, such as the A500 or A50. The latter effectively providing a link from the M6, through Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the M1.
Whilst the City centre is all hustle and bustle, there are several quiet areas within easy reach of the centre. Typically, a nice scenic route involves going out towards Leek, through Sneyd Green, where Stokes Industrial influence gives way to green fields, with gently undulating roads.
Once in Leek, the more advanced learner could take the Moorland route towards Buxton, before returning via Congleton and Biddulph; a route often enjoyed by those undergoing Pass Plus.
A more challenging route would be to head out through Bircheshead to negotiate the 3 Smallthorn roundabouts; these occur in fairly quick succession and are often the stuff of nightmares for learners, though happily that fear is very short-lived, as each learner is taught to navigate a safe route through them.
Driving through to Middleport is like learner’s heaven.
The area used to consist of row after row of Terraced houses, until the demolition men moved in some years ago.
Now a large area has been taken over by Mother Nature and has become a large grid of roads, around many green, yet wild, areas.
Some days you may see on average, between 8 and 10 learners using Middleport’s quiet network of roads to practice left or right turns, T-Junctions, Crossroads, Turn in the Road, or Left and Right Reverses.
Close by is a group of terraced streets, still largely occupied and involving numerous parked vehicles, making them ideal for such lessons as Meeting oncoming traffic, Adequate Clearance, Anticipation etc.
There are numerous routes that radiate from Middleport and again the learner has the choice of the more challenging A500, to either Hanley or Alsager in the opposite direction.
Alternatively, there is the route through Tunstall which takes in several roundabouts, towards Goldenhill and Kidsgrove.
The choice is almost limitless and provides the learner (and Instructor) with a large number of options, depending on the Learner’s level of confidence.
Stoke on Trent is, for anyone wanting to take driving lessons, an ideal mix of quiet and busy roads and with your Tristar instructor, you have someone who will build your confidence, from those initial days of doubt, through to your successful test pass!