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Young drivers taught life saving skills

A safety course for young drivers visited Bendigo this week to give students life-saving skills for the road.

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‘Motorvation’ – taking aim at young RICK KOENIG

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     Photo: Judy de MAN




BAIMBRIDGE College participated in an educational course for young drivers. Run by the non for profit organisation “Motorvation”, the one day training program focuses on changing the attitude of young drivers and teaches them how to get out of emergency situations.

Located on a bus which travels across Victoria and New South Wales, Motorvation spent two days in Hamilton at the Hamilton Karting facility. Using online modules, motion simulators and real cars, the course aims to give young drivers the important skills they don’t learn in standard driving tests.

Partially funded by the “Advance Schools Program” and subsidised by Motorvation sponsors, Bendigo Bank and Hyundai, the course was attended by Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) students and a number of year 12 students. Motorvation training manager, Jennie Hill said the training could reduce crashes “by up to 80 percent” for those who completed the course. “As part of the licensing system, drivers don’t learn anything about skidding or how to brake in emergencies so basically we’re
trying to fill that gap of what they don’t learn,” she said.

“We teach driving skills such as steering, braking, accelerator techniques and speed control, we also teach about overconfidence and what happens when you lose control.”

“We also do a quick session on texting and how dangerous it is, and another session on skid prevention and control which is particularly important for country youngsters.” Split into three different groups, the students took part in theory in the classroom, time on the simulators and practical work on the track.

With the classroom activities including questionnaires and other theory, the simulators saw students attempt to safely text and drive while travelling at a speed of 60 kmh, their efforts being largely unsuccessful. Work on the track included emergency braking; smooth driving techniques and demonstrations including the use of anti-lock breaking systems.
Having been involved in the training for the past 23 years, Ms Hill said the use of simulators has been extremely beneficial for teenagers.

“The course used to just involve sessions in the classroom and sessions on the the simulators and developed adds dimension to it,” “The kids enjoy because it’s more there’s lots more you can only engage actually doing it.” Baimbridge College ordinator, Steve course would with the skills potential accidents.

“Motorvation drivers will want you can’t get that if you make them attitude and what demeanour is like, arm them with should they get into situation,” he said. “The program should they find situation, they’ve to get out of it and car. “I hope they terms of the dangers and that they’re accidents, and maybe they’ll gain avoid being one that we unfortunately about.

Wimmera drivers test The Motorvation Foundation safety initiative

WHAT would you say you are like behind the wheel: demure, dominant or a driveaholic?

The founders of driver safety initiative The Motorvation Foundation believe a driver’s psychology makes all the difference on the roads.

Chief instructor Geoff Fickling and training manager Jennie Hill have been developing their theory for 25 years.

He focuses on how best to train people in each category to become safer drivers; she tackles the attitudes that shape how drivers think and behave.

“We believe everyone is born into one of those three driver psychology groups,” Ms Hill said.

“A demure driver is someone who is fairly calm and cautious; a dominant driver is a risk-taker, and a driveaholic is an extreme risk-taker.

“Once you know what you’re looking for, you can tell in about 20 seconds.”

Ms Hill said each type had different needs when it came to road safety programs.

“It’s not a matter of telling them they’re right or wrong to have a particular behaviour, it’s more that they have to be able to manage which group they’re in,” she said.
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“A demure driver needs to develop their driving skills – they’re lacking an understanding of how cars behave in emergencies.

“For dominant drivers, teaching them those skills can be a mistake because they are already risk-takers – it can cause them to become overconfident.”

“A demure driver is someone who is fairly calm and cautious; a dominant driver is a risk-taker, and a driveaholic is an extreme risk-taker.” – The Motorvation Foundation training manager Jennie Hill”

Twenty Federation University students took part in the Motorvation program at Wimmera Kart Racing Club in Horsham on Tuesday.

They each took a quiz that revealed their driver type.

The course included two practical components: driving with a specialist instructor, and in a simulator.

Mr Fickling said the Horsham participants were among the first to use the mobile training unit.

“It took two years to build, and we started using it about two months ago,” he said.

The training bus contains two motion simulators.

Mr Fickling said they were programmed to teach drivers how long it took a car to stop when travelling at speed, the effects of ABS braking technology and how to avoid emergency situations such as skidding.

“The simulators feel very realistic,” he said.

As the program’s training manager, Ms Hill said it was important the course instructed people to become safer drivers, but did not leave participants feeling cocky about their abilities.

“That’s the biggest problem with most youth driver training – they teach too many skills, and that teaches the drivers to become overconfident,” she said.

Ms Hill said there was a need for further tutelage in the Victorian drivers’ education system.

“We specialised in working with young drivers because they’re the most at-risk group on the roads,” she said.

“You’re not expected to learn how to be safe by practising being unsafe.” – The Motorvation Foundation training manager Jennie Hill”

“Most people believe that’s due to a lack of experience, but we don’t agree.

“We think it’s because they’re not trained properly in the first place.

“While they are training for their licence, young people are really just learning the basics of driving down the road – turning corners and things like that.

“Then they get their licences and go out on the roads and we expect them to learn how to stay safe through experience.”

Ms Hill said new and learner drivers should be taught how to deal with the dangers of driving before they found themselves faced with it.

“That’s not how any other safety training works in any other field of endeavour,” she said.

“You’re not expected to learn how to be safe by practising being unsafe.”

Mr Fickling started his career as a professional driver.

Ms Hill has a background in teaching, with further qualifications in psychology and special education.

Their program is supported by Bendigo Bank and Hyundai.

Read the article online: here