Would you feel more competent to handle an emergency situation on the road if you were to complete a four-hour basic first aid course as part of your driving test?

Earlier this year a Colchester MP started a debate within the House of Commons, to raise the issue of basic first aid training as a part of learning to drive. Now my hubby recently became a student paramedic after formerly having worked as a professional driving instructor, so knows the importance of good basic first aid to preserve life, until the emergency services get there – so he thinks this is a really good idea.

Vince said, “With training, more people would feel confident in having to deal with a life-threatening emergency. And sometimes, in this day and age with the pressure put on our emergency services, the time limit between call and ambulance arrival, maybe a bit longer than most of us would want it to be.”

I live in Essex and the East of England ambulance response rate is 65.39 % to a life-threatening emergency within 8 minutes. Check out the national averages here…

The Highway Code states: to provide emergency care follow its instructions below:

Remember the letters D R A B C:

D – Danger Check that you are not in danger.

R – Response Try to get a response by asking questions and gently shaking their shoulders.

A – Airway If the person is not talking and the airway may be blocked, then place one hand under the chin and lift the chin up and forward. If they are still having difficulty with breathing then gently tilt the head back.

If the casualty is unconscious and breathing, place them in the recovery position until medical help arrives

If the casualty is unconscious and breathing, place them in the recovery position until medical help arrives.

B – Breathing Normal breathing should be established. Once the airway is open check breathing for up to 10 seconds.

C – Compressions If they have no signs of life and there is no pulse, then chest compressions should be administered. Place 2 hands in the centre of the chest and press down hard and fast – around 5–6 centimetres and about twice a second. You may only need 1 hand for a child and shouldn’t press down as far. For infants, use 2 fingers in the middle of the chest when delivering compressions and don’t press down too far.


First, check for anything that may be in the wound, such as glass. Taking care not to press on the object, build up padding on either side of the object. If there’s nothing embedded, apply firm pressure over the wound to stem the flow of blood. As soon as practical, fasten a pad to the wound with a bandage or length of cloth. Use the cleanest material available. If a limb is bleeding but not broken, raise it above the level of the heart to reduce the flow of blood. Any restriction of blood circulation for more than a short time could cause long-term injuries.


Check the casualty for shock, and if possible, try to cool the burn for at least 10 minutes with plenty of clean, cold water or other non-toxic liquid. Don’t try to remove anything that’s sticking to the burn.

Be prepared

Always carry a first aid kit – you might never need it, but it could save a life. Learn first aid – you can get first aid training from a qualified organisation such as St John Ambulance and Brigade, St Andrew’s First Aid, British Red Cross Society, or any suitably qualified body.

The driving licence bill ( mandatory first aid training) has the support of the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

“Knowledge of first aid can be absolutely critical. The immediate initiation of CPR, for example, can double or even quadruple survival from cardiac arrest.”                 Will Quince. Colchester MP

Do you feel able?