Hertfordshire sergeant to represent UK in international driving contest
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A neighbourhood sergeant is set to show off his skills behind the wheel when he represents the UK in an international driving competition next month.
Sergeant Bradley Cross – who leads the Watford Central Safer Neighbourhood Team – is just one of two UK competitors who have been chosen to take part in the International Best Young Driver Contest in Austria between Friday 6 October and Sunday 8 October.
The competition is run by the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) and the Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM). Brad, who joined Herts Police in 2019, is looking forward to the challenge after previously triumphing at the UK’s Best Young Driver competition behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne at Hampshire’s Thruxton Circuit in August.
He and his fellow European competitors will again be put through their paces with a series of challenging tests against the clock, including precision parking, slalom courses, circuit driving and skid pan driving, the latter of which involves driving on a wet and polished concrete surface without the help of the vehicle’s Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).
Brad spent the first four years of his policing career working on the intervention team, responding to urgent 999 calls from the public. He became eligible to join the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) after qualifying as a response driver in June 2020, at a time when the country was gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I pride myself on being a response driver and have been representing the police, and Hertfordshire Constabulary, throughout the competition. I have gained all my tactical driving experience through the police, and without my training and qualification I wouldn’t have got as far as I have in this competition, so I am very grateful to the constabulary.
“I’ve always had an interest in cars and my police training taught me how to have a ‘driveology’; how to drive safely but effectively with no risk to others. I learned how to execute manoeuvres, how to read the road ahead, and how to anticipate what other drivers are going to do before they even do it. Maintaining your car is also a big part of the training; you’re shown how to look after it by checking the oil levels and tyre pressures and keeping it looking presentable.”
So what should motorists do if they see an emergency vehicle responding on blue lights approaching them in their rear view mirror?
“Always be aware of your surroundings, stay calm, and wait until there’s a safe space to pull to the left, stop, and let them pass,” says Brad.