Monday 17 July 2023



Defensive Driving Course

It’s not unusual for parents to want their children to have some kind of advanced driver training to make them safer on the road.  It’s important to acknowledge that there are several different kinds of courses available.  From the wide range of courses that are available, it’s important to seek course components that would be most beneficial to young drivers.

There are actually a wide variety of driving courses available.  These can include:

1. Driving experience courses designed for you to have fun usually with an instructor present to prevent an accident.
2. Race car driver or stunt driver courses where you learn car control skills specific to purpose.
3. Specialist courses such as 4WD off-road, or caravan towing.
4. Defensive driving courses to reduce risk of collisions and improve road safety through car control.  It helps you to avoid dangerous situations including serious weather conditions and other people’s poor driving behaviours.

These courses all sound quite interesting and there is a benefit in improving car control skills and can help with drivers’ confidence and a feeling of safety on the road.  However, road safety advocates will argue that improving car control skills can lead to false confidence in safe driving ability and counter productive to learning safety related skills.  It is believed that many collisions occur not from inability to control the vehicle, but from taking risks.

So, what sort of driving course fulfils the need for drivers to become safer on the road.  The most beneficial training addresses the reason people crash, which is mostly identified as risk rather than skill-level, and motivations to drive safely. 

Accordingly, TMR recommend courses that include:
    HAZARD PERCEPTION - recognise potential hazards before they happen.
    REDUCING OVERCONFIDENCE - avoid risk taking on the road.
    SITUATIONAL AWARENESS – observing and anticipating situations in traffic.
    DEVELOPING RISK AVOIDANCE STRATEGIES - being mindful of risks on the road.

Milton Road in Brisbane

Something used in various advanced driver courses is Commentary Driving. Commentary Driving is a dynamic risk assessment exercise which helps develop safe drivers.  How it works is simply that the driver makes a commentary of what they can see ahead of them and what they’re going to do about it.  The exercise usually runs for about 5 minutes and the driver explains basically what is going through their mind as they approach various situations and potential hazards.  A tip here is to start with “In the distance I can see...” and comment on what’s ahead of the vehicle and not what has already happened.  Try to think like a driving instructor or other observer.  You can try this exercise with your professional driver trainer, or contact a professional driver trainer and explain you'd like to have a try at Commentary Driving.

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