A child a week is run over in their own driveway.
Another day, another fatality, this time an innocent young boy, who wasn’t even in a car. He was playing in his driveway.
Last time I saw, the incidences of young kids being run over in their driveway was one per week.
So, where does it go wrong and how can it be avoided, there are plenty of innocent lives that will be irrevocably changed as a consequence of this.
For each fatality on our roads, it affects 50 people around the injured or dead, unfortunately, this will affect a lot more.
From the parents who will never hold their little boy again, their dreams dashed, hopes destroyed, lives shattered, we also have the driver of the car, someone just doing their job.
A major failing of road safety is it leads people to believe if you follow the rules, you are a good driver. This is not so, some of the worst drivers I have sat beside, believe they are sensational as they drive at or below the speed limits, don’t break the rules and are cautious. These may be the facts, but the real fact is they are terrible, the have
- No sense of mechanical sympathy,
- Uncontrolled over reactions, to the car and the environment, all the time.
- Have a purely reactive driving style, they are always trying to manage some crisis they created and blaming every other road user for it.
- No or late decision making skills.
None of these are assessed on the driving test. None of these facets are covered by driving lessons.
We have a system where the student is allowed to define the outcome, on the belief of when they feel they are ready, not aiming for successful outcomes. They believe that because they have spent 100 hours of driving, under the graduated licencing system, that they can drive.
There is a saying, “Practice is fine, first you must know what to practice.” 100 hours of driving, practicing all the wrong skills, simply means that is now your driving default.
No other form of industry, training or education, allows this scenario, the student defines the outcome, an unqualified, inexperienced, none prepared person becomes the trainer, simply because they are there.
And today, another person paid the price for someone else saving a few bucks on lessons, with their life. That is the reality.
How could a great driver training program have prevented this tragedy.
It always astounds my team when people complain on the first lesson that we didn’t start driving straight away. It is because they have no understanding of what driver training actually is.
Driving is about understanding and managing your environment. People for example have no idea that
- The brakes don’t stop the car. True! All they do is stop the wheels from turning, it is the grip of the tyres that stops the car, that is why stopping distances vary so much according to a myriad of variables from
- Number of passengers in the car
- Type of road surface
- Tread depth and tyre condition ( a worn tyre can take up to 30 metres longer to stop at 80Kph. That is a long; long way into an accident
- Weather and believe it or not
- How you apply the brake pedal.
This is only one of all the aspects a driver needs to be aware of to be proficient. Yet we don’t teach any of it as the customers focus is just to pass the test and get their licence.
So, how could the Total Driver program have prevented this accident. Lets face it, there is never an excuse for killing someone, maiming them, for the tragedy and grief that not only the little boys parents, family, networks and community will go through, but also for the driver, their family, immediate, networks, job. The list goes on.
The Total Driver program starts from three key rules.
- Understand your environment: T.H.O. Threats, Hazards and Opportunities. What is it, where is it, how will you manage it.
- Is it right to drive? What have you got to work with, where is your immediate plan, what are the variables you are watching out for.
- Managing the environment: everything from seating and balance, controls and mirrors, road, pedestrians, obstacles.
You see, people don’t believe driving starts until you are sitting in the vehicle, gear selected and ready to drive, the fact is, it starts as you are walking towards your vehicle. There is so much time to identify
- the environment,
- understand the threats,
- listen to what is happening with traffic, people, pets and other factors,
- Form your plan, based on knowledge and understanding.
It doesn’t take any extra time, but it saves you a life time.
People don’t do this as no one ever put a process in place, made it muscle memory, so it happens instinctively, every time they go for a drive.
And today one person paid for it with his life, many others will lose their life in grief, in sorrow, in wishing to turn back time, in regret.
And none of them, will get their wish.
All because they wanted to save a few dollars on driving lessons, that took shortcuts through the process, to get a licence, that put them in that exact place and circumstance.
Driver training is not a cost, it is an investment
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