I’ve been out with both my teenagers this weekend with our 45. My daughter (14yrs) after three 30min sessions is coming along leaps and bounds. My son (17yrs) who already had some road time on a moped, drove me 10kms and is now out on his own. Limited to 45kph, nice and visible, good positive handling - this is a great vehicle for getting teenagers to have road experience without the dangers of a moped and the potential power of a real car. Controls are simple to understand - I think we can underestimate how many inputs we are processing as drivers these days on normal cars. The lack of cocooning in the cockpit means they feel exposed, which I hope will stop them getting over-confident…
All in all, a great way I think to get a real driver’s awareness.
I absolutely agree. Modern cars are hopeless for teaching new drivers the way to drive as they are too artificial in feel, have no connection with the outside world and do not teach drivers key basic skills such as cadence braking. Until I knew about the Twizy, I believed all drivers should do a stint on a moped and a completely unassisted car to get the feel for car control, especially skid control.
When I taught my wife to drive, I went out and bought a Perodua Nippa (same as Daihatsu 850) which was the most basic car I could find-no power steering, no servo, cable clutch, very little power, tiny narrow tyres and an overall feeling of vulnerability. She adored it and we upgraded to a Perodua Kelisa (this did have power steering but was full of feel) went on to do a few lessons with an instructor with it and passed her test first time in it.
She is an excellent driver and has had no scrapes in the four years she has been driving-she has a feel for a car, understands skiddy surfaces and the effect of weather conditions. Driving our Tourneo and Iveco XLWB were easy for her-and she has driven all types of cars without issue; old and new, front drive or rear drive, manual or auto etc.
For all the nannying we get in the UK, who thought that the typical learner car now-a Corsa-was a good idea? Terrible visibility, no “feel”, standard ABS etc. We are turning out clueless drivers now.
Far better to let a youngster get the feel (and fear!) of driving in something like a Twizy, earn their wings and then let them have more power.
My road experience started with a moped, then a geared 50cc 'bike, then a Lada Riva, Fiat 126, Alfasud, 125cc 'bike and so on. Learning about how weather affects the grip, how drain covers and oil patches are slippery and how being out of control is scary at low speeds was immensely helpful-along with how to properly control the throttle and brakes to maintain control. It has saved my life (and others) many times-which learning in a dull, computer controlled, over-safe feeling Corsa would not have done.
Skid pan training should be mandatory across the EU, as well as a test on checking that you know what equipment each vehicle has before driving off-you need to know if it has ABS, traction control, ESP, front or rear wheel drive so you can adapt your driving to suit the vehicle dynamics. It should be EU law that as well as an ABS and ESP light on the dash, there should be a full information panel on the driver’s visor stating: fuel type, driven wheels, safety systems fitted, ESP, ABS, TC as a quick reference point.
My only reservation with earning your “wings” in a Twizy is that is is rear wheel drive and once you lose it, as a novice, it is hard to recover and getting hit side on by opposing traffic would not be good at all. An extreme case is my daily school run which is often covered in inch-thick super-slippery clay mud often with rain on top; the Twizy really wants to let go and turn around on this even with a skid pan trained driver-a novice would crash in seconds on it.
I’m really pleased that you are getting the best from your 45-I can imagine it suits the climate and the additional awareness drivers have of scooters in Italy very well indeed.
Very true about modern cars, believe it or not, when using diagnostic equipment in the workshop, if you are interrogating the ABS ecu, it warns you that the car should not be driven, as the program disables the ABS, therefore use on the highway would be dangerous
Makes me wonder how we managed all these years without it.
Problem is we have come full circle where some cars have been designed so that electronics are an essential part of keeping it on the road-eg Smart cars; without electronic stability control it would spin or flip on a wet island if caught off balance.
ABS was a superb invention, but solves a problem for the majority of people, the majority of the time-an average driver can be prevented from locking the wheels up when braking and can retain better steering control in an emergency situation. If told how, an average driver can stand on the brakes and stop the car more quickly than they would dare to without ABS, for fear of skidding.
However, in certain circumstances it can be a hindrance; in a direct straight line stop, an advanced driver can easily stop quicker without it and on snow, ice, gravel and dust, an ABS equipped vehicle will not let the tyres dig in to cause friction slowing the vehicle-it just keeps on going-off the cliff!
I maintain it is better to know what happens with or without the electronic intervention and to only drive when you know what equipment your vehicle has! A Twizy is a great starting point for learning how a car should feel and how your actions control it-so therefore I would support youngsters using a 28mph restricted Twizy as their first step on the ladder before progressing onto a car. The risk of a low speed accident in the first few years is outweighed by what they would learn and what accidents they would avoid because of this when driving faster vehicles later on.