Is too much expected of learner drivers?

Submitted: Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:02
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I'm just asking a question to see how many people are thinking along the same lines as me.
Do you think that learner drivers are expected to absorb too much when being taught to drive?
I think they should be taught how to actually drive a vehicle, without having to learn the road rules at the same time, albeit on a dirt road somewhere or on a farm or dedicated training course, just to learn the basic principicals of driving before learning the road rules. Safety being paramount of course.
So when it comes time to learn the "road rules" the mechanics of driving are already inherint and the road rules are just another extension to "driving".
Sorry if I've started another war.

Gaz.

Mmmmmmmm, now where do we go next?

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:14

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:14
Gday,
I think its the parents responsibility to teach their kids both driving skills and the rules way before they sit their driving test.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:20

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:20
Hell Hairy,
have you seen how some of the parents drive. Scary.



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Follow Up By: Member - Gaz@Gove (NT) - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:33

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:33
Thanks Hairy, I agree with you. I'd like to see a system where kids are given training on how to drive a "car" without having to learn the " road rules" at the same time. Just like we did.
I know it would take s.... loads of red rape to get it to work, eg. Two lots of training organisations.
Just think of how many of us on Explore Oz were driving something at at a very young age, I know I was driving tractors at 8 years old.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:51

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:51
In WA they have to do a theory test to get their "L" plates. then do a practical test to get a log book, and then get signed off so many hours by a licenced driver bfore they get their "P" plates.
So really you learn the road rules first and once you know them, you learn to drive if you cant already.

My Daughter who is about to re-sit her log book test has been driving on her own since she was 12. She drives tractors, headers, loaders, trucks, cars, bikes and even horses but didnt pass her first test (know one does) as she needs a bit more practice apparently.
My 14 year old son has his own car that he flogs the crap out of around the place....LOL

I think the system in WA is fine.

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Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:16

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:16
Nice in theory but it doesn't always work and a lot are never going to have that luxury or opportunity.

I grew up the country. I started "driving" at 13 or 14 out in the bush. I knew the principals of how a car drove but I would not call myself competent at that time. I got better under the tutelage of my parents, grand parents and older friends when I got my Learners and started driving on the road.

I think the best thing that happened to driver training in our state was allowing kids to get their learners at 16 years of age, giving them two years on the road under instruction. That may well begin in the city equivalent of a paddock, Bunnings car park after hours but at least they are now getting 700 days of exposure to the finer points of driving and the road rules as well.

Knowing the rules is a requirement in getting your learners permit. It's a test of knowledge over driving ability recognising that the ability will hopefully develop over the following two years.

Cheers Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:19

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:19
Sorry should have added that the Learners test also has a strong component around safe driving and the "physics" involved; ie safe distances, stopping times, road cohesion principals in various weather conditions etc. It gives them concepts to be aware of as well as the basic rules of the road that you definitely need to know before you start driving on the road.
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Follow Up By: Member - Gaz@Gove (NT) - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:41

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:41
Mick, but you already knew the physics of driving, how many kids today don't? A majority walk into a driving school knowing next to nothing.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:56

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 22:56
Well they know some of the theory and that's what the test is for. The learning is what they are going to the driving school for. Sure prior experience would be an advantage but it may mean that a lot of bad traits, OK out on the farm but not appropriate on the road, may need to be unlearnt.

I look at it this way. I have absolutely Zero experience at flying helicopters. Jeez 'd love to learn though. But if I do, I'm going to spend an awful lot of time learning theory, physics and the rules of flying around in Australian airspace before I then get to sit next to an instructor for however long it takes me to become proficient and pass my flying tests. I'd learn though and so will kids learning to drive. They will have reached a standard deemed suitable by the regulatory bodies of the state to then be issued with a licence to drive.

The problems come when they get their licence and lose the supervision and common sense in many cases.


Cheers Mick
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:11

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:11
The really scary thing is most driving instructors.
Just because they may know the road rules and have become used to instructing learners they are not good drivers at all.

I know a number of them in my area and it mystifies me how they have a permit from a road traffic authority to teach driving.

A couple of them are ex Highway Patrol Officers and they can drive.
They are the exception to the rule.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:17

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:17
Good question Gaz, and the country kids have all the advantages when it comes to the mechanics of driving. Road rules are something they all should be learning, and being taught by example and conversations whilst travelling by car, from a very early age. The real learning starts when they get their licence and get out on the road on their own.

Getting out into the traffic and being aware of what is going on around them in all directions is something else - and something that takes a few years of practice and maturity to be fully aware and able to predict what is likely to happen outside of their own control and react in time. Many youngsters have their first accident when it is someone else's fault, but mature drivers would in many cases be alert and avoided the contact.

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Reply By: Bazooka - Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:32

Monday, Feb 18, 2013 at 23:32
Agree, ideally learners should be comfortable with their vehicle before hitting the roads so they can concentrate on things going on around them but unfortunately not everyone gets that choice. That said it doesn't take confident people long to learn the basic operations and the critical rules of the road. It must be hell for people who aren't mechanical or are apprehensive.
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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 05:36

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 05:36
It always surprises me that in this day and age of technology we are still training drivers on the road. Why not use simulators. They are already available in gaming centres, only those ones have no consequences of crashes and the faster the better. There is other options of off public driver road training that I have seen the prototype in operation. Problem the inventor has is that road safety gurus don't seem concerned with learner drivers on the roads.

how do we start up a lobby group to implement something?

Neil
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Reply By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:12

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:12
I got my licence over 40 years ago, tested by a policeman in a country town. He said 'you'll do' and I had a black licence, no P's then. They certainly make it harder for kid's to get a licence these days. Unfortunately I haven't really noticed the standard of driving improve at all. Car's have got way better. Driving schools focus on teaching kids how to pass the test, not how to be a good common sense driver. No disrespect to them, they are measured by how successfully their students perform in the exam. They would have no idea how the students are performing 10 years after the lessons.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:30

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:30
Here in NSW there is a driving school run by Honda called HART, it is run at the old Police Driver Training facility at St Ives.
The kids can go there for a full day and be taught all the mechanics of vehicle handling, stopping distances and what happens to those distances on a wet road, different road surfaces, of camber corners etc etc all done one on one with an instructor. They do not have to have their L's although if they do some of the day is spent out on the road depending on their proficiency. We sent our three there prior to them ever going on the road, they were taught the basics in a controlled environment.
They all had driven the troopy outback on the dirt in the bush well prior to being old enough but the course taught them things we as parents couldn't show them on public roads. The course was a fair cost up front but not much more than the equivalent number of hours with a driving instructor would have been.
No association with HART just a satisfied parent.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 10:39

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 10:39
Hi Peter,
I think that "fair cost up front" was a good investment in helping your kids get to adulthood.

I look at Sydney traffic these days and am daunted by it although 28 years ago I was in the thick of it on a daily basis. But those 28 years have seen some major major increases in traffic volumes, increased road rage which was rarely seen 28 years ago, and even more regulation on the road.

To someone who grew up in a quieter Sydney I look at the road environment these days down there and wonder at the pressures a learner driver or newly licenced driver is placed under these days.

Learning in the bush or country towns is dead easy compared to the city where traffic is coming at you at speed and from many angles. It is a wonder that more new drivers don't come to grief in the city environment.

It is probably only due to the more stringent requirements of the licencing test. I can only see that test getting harder as time goes on and, as conditions get worse, rightly so.

Cheers, Bruce.

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Reply By: graham B9 - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:43

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 07:43
The most dangerous thing that the average person ever does is drive a car or drive on the roads. More people are killed by cars than by guns but we have such a things about guns.

More so than know the road rules, we need to teach young people to think ahead and think about the other person. Not just in driving but in everything they do. Where are they going to learn this, I do not know as most adults do not think about the other person and do not have this skill either.Young people have so many distractions, least of all mobile communication devices.

They need to be taught the potential of what they can do when they drive as well. In that I mean injuring or killing someone, a conviction that follows them the remainder of their life and eventually a huge bald hairy prison cell buddy that want to get very friendly at night.
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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 10:01

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 10:01
The most dangerous thing we do here in Victoria, is to give kids the licence to drive & to drink alcohol on virtually the same day.

Also, the late, great Barry Sheene once said of parents teaching their kids to drive, that they pass on bad driving habits like family heirlooms!

I can't believe the number of learner drivers that I see exceeding the speed limit, failing to indicate & trying to beat traffic lights.

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Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 12:34

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 12:34
I learnt to drive when I started work on a diary farm in the 60ties, I was 15 at the time. I never went for a drivers licence until I was 18,passed first go. I had my first accident when I was thirty that was in a car [fell off the motor bike heaps of times]. Our sons, had their first driving instruction in the sand hills of wago, and both had been given driving instruction from driving instructors, the youngest one has had several accidents the eldest one not one traffic infringement or accident, yet I would say that he is the worst driver, as he tend to cut corners go through amber lights, fails to stop at stop signs and a myriad of other things that I don,t like about his driving. If some one can tell me how come the difference between the two, I would like to know. They both think they are good drivers. I just think it comes down to the personality of the driver what type of driver they are, as the boys are chalk and cheese, but with the same warped sense of humour, just like there mum.
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 13:30

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 13:30
Yes good point Gaz, agree. I think they should be made to pay for defensive driving courses or something similar. I have spent some time with my son on how a car reacts in different circumstances etc but I am no expert.
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 15:46

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 15:46
China doesn't seem to have a Child driverproblem.
> http://static.video.qq.com/TPout.swf?auto=1&vid=r010673xh67
>


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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 15:47

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 15:47
The hyperlink doesn't work but the long link does.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 18:55

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 18:55
Some years ago friends of ours had a farm in country WA. Their 15 year old son did all the usual driving tractors, trucks and farm vehicles as soon as he could see over the steering wheel and reach the pedals at the same time. He became very good at handling a farm ute at speed and of course had the reaction times of a typical 15 year old boy.
Unfortunately no one could turn off the "I'm 10 feet tall and bullet proof" trait that goes with youth.
That is until a large tree on the property ended his life.

Needless to say his parents never got over it.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - Terry W4 - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 19:03

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 19:03
To me - I have a background in aviation safety and worked on these same issues in another context - understanding the mechanics and the rules do not make good drivers. The real issue is judgement - difficult to teach but it has to be done or their first accident will be their last driving lesson.

But it can be taught. Driving schools dont do it.
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Reply By: SDG - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 20:02

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 20:02
One thing that helped me was that from the moment I could get on a push bike I was riding every where. I learn't to watch where I was going. To be aware of what was around me. Know which car was to close to be silly around. Etc. Many kids of today, don't even own a bike, and if the did, it would not get much further than the nearest corner.
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Reply By: CruiserPilot - Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 22:19

Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 at 22:19
Statistically today in Australia the safest time for a driver behind the wheel is when learning to drive on a permit with a driving instructor or mum or dad. Then statistically the most dangerous time for a licensed driver behind the wheel is when driving on a P1 license.

Basically answering some questions correctly, obeying road rules/signs/markings etc is enough to pass a driving license test. We are teaching yound people to pass a test, not to drive a car or understand vehicle dynamics.

There are a small number of organisations around Australia today teaching new drivers how to stay alive in a motor vehicle. Much of the time spent concentrates on lowering perception of ability and the remainder on track/skidpan slightly raising actual ability. The important lessons are in learning about just how much energy a vehicle carries at speed and how much distance is covered during reaction time and braking. In general motor vehicles today brake fairly effectively, a pity we humans can not react as effectively. We humans are beautifully designed to travel at a maximum of around 25 - 30 kPh. At these speeds we can cope with sudden stops without massive trauma and process approaching information well. However beyond such speeds we are traveling at super human speed and are well outside of our limits of processing information and surviving sudden stops. A very real problem for most untrained drivers is looking short when driving, exacerbating the situation. By the time they see the problem they are in a reactive situation, fixated on the threat and by now simply a passenger in a projectile on their way to a crash. Many trust todays car smarts far too much, forgetting that all cars have only 4 small footprints of grip, which must be shared at any point in time between steering and braking, or steering and acceleration.

Statistics show that 26% of fatal crashes involving probationary drivers occur when the young driver is carrying multiple passengers, a good indicator of the lack of hazard perception/situation awareness in young drivers.

Drivers need to be taught to drive, to understand vehicle dynamics and driver limitations, not to pass a driving license test.
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Reply By: Been-Everywhereman - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 00:09

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 00:09
I have read most of the stuff here and most of it holds water. I am a "fully qualified" SA driving instructor with the authority to not only give lessons and sign off "compentency based training and assessment CBT&A", but I am also an examiner, which means I can conduct a "Vehicle On Road Test VORT" and issue a "Certificate of Competency" which allows the candidate or student to obtain a license. In SA The Govt sub contracts the examinations out to the private sector.
The more we prove ourselves the more qualifications they allow us to have.
Anyway, the reason I wrote all that is so you see I am speaking from experience.
My point being, every day of my life I see driving instructors teaching students the basic requirements to pass a test without really having any skills to avoid the unforeseen day to day issues we as seasoned drivers see coming a mile away every day of our lives because we notice things like, when a non thinking driver is cruising along in fron of us looking for a park and we know they are going to hit the brakes and turn into the next park without any form of warning, so as seasoned drivers we see it coming a mile away and we are already looking at changing lanes or slowing, when our new learners or even so called seasoned learners are still driving at full speed with no intention of slowing.
This is one of the classics reasons why I fail students during their test, because I will be on the passenger side brake and they will still be sailing at full speed unbeknown anything is going down.
Other classics are failing to check blindspots when lane changing and having a small car or motorcycle beside them they cannot see in the centre and side mirrors. This a typical thing the parents do not seem to make their kids aware that is a danger.
Parents also seem to stay away from teaching their kids right turns at traffic lights when there is no arrow and the driver has to commit the the intersection and turn right with care, also same goes with right turns from a terminating side street onto a busy multilane main road where there is an option to wait in the centre as a halfway point whilst waiting for traffic to pass.
These last two points I made are a very dangerous action for a parent to allow the kids to perform in a standard vehicle with no passenger side service brake so no wonder the kids really dont get a lot of experience with these very dangerous yet important driving skills.
Making a judgement error whilst turning right with oncoming traffic is one of the biggests mistakes kids seem to make when driving alone after all that time with their parents.
I personaly hate driving schools which promote only passing in their name as apposed to learning life skills.
It is still important for kids to learn roadlaw at the same time as learing to drive because some of the roadlaw stuff is going to keep them safe whilst learings,,,, EG: 3 second safe gap to to vehicle in front of you when travelling the same direction, staying as left as practicable on an unlaned road, obeying speed limits, obeying stop signs and traffic lights, obeying road markings, etc etc.
I have not checked for spelling errors so good luck to me for not proof reading such a long spiel.
Cheers.
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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 08:36

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 08:36
I just wish that:
a) young people who cause a big accident were made to visit their local high schools as part of their parole/community service and tell of their regret, their nightmares and how it affects them for life before the next bunch hit the roads
b) people who were affected by a) would visit schools and do likewise (although this may be a fair bit down the track, according to their emotional well-being)
Just like the amazing parents in Brisbane whose son was killed at a party a few years ago when punched once - hit his head on the concrete. They tell others of how easily it can happen.
If I lost someone to stupidity on the road, I would follow their lead and try to educate.
I remember my aunt coming home with her newly acquired license and saying "I now hold a piece of paper that can potentially kill people"-very aware of its implications as a 17 year old and I always held that thought, too.

Unfortunately, today is "all about me".
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