I’d like to give a huge thank you to all the Mum’s & Dad’s, Aunt’s and Uncle’s, sisters and brother’s, friends and assorted family that give of their time to help my students get the practice at driving that is so essential to becoming a competent, confident driver. Teaching someone to drive, as in physically moving the car around, is simple. Yes, a little scary at times, but still….relatively simple. Teaching them to stay alive on the roads…..that’s something different entirely. I’ve been asked all manner of inane questions by learners, like “why do I need to indicate to leave the kerb if I know there’s no-one around?” The answer is easy, albeit, trite. “Do you want to get your license, or not?” Yes, that’s the standard comeback, but the message is far, far deeper. Indicating to leave the kerb is a basic safety tenet. How do you KNOW there’s no-one around? Easy…..I’ve had a good look. Okay, so why not just activate the indicators anyway, because one day, you won’t have a good enough look, and there WILL be someone there.
These are the rules of the game. The Road Rules, exactified by the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Transport Operations (Road
Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009) current as at September 2015 detail explicitly what the do’s and don’ts of driving a motor vehicle on our roads safely, requires. 427 pages purpose designed to keep people alive on our roads. Only if everyone follows the rules of the game.
The rules of the game are on display on the day of your practical driving assessment. Your test. Your driving examiner – the bod in the passenger seat who will, normally, sit there and not chat, just give you the “left turn up head…..go straight through the next roundabout….at the next set of traffic lights…..” instructions, is there to ascertain whether or not you are abiding by the rules of the game. Are you safe enough to allow onto the roads on your own? Are you aware of what is happening around you? Are you reading all of the road signs, both legal, and advisory? Have you seen the idiot in the Falcon ute, one back and to your left, who has been coming up on you through traffic acting like he’s Dick Johnson at Mount Panorama? THAT, is driving. The physical movement of the vehicle is nothing compared to the awareness, the alertness, the astuteness and the down-and-dirty smarts of you….the person behind the steering wheel of the vehicle you occupy?
Yes, your Mum or Dad might give you a hard time when you’re out driving with them. They CARE. They don’t want a constable barely out of the academy knocking on their door at 11:30pm, with a Death Message. That’s what the police call it when you’ve plowed sidelong into a tree at 80kph on a 50 kph bend. A Death Message. Your Mum and Dad want to see you achieve our society’s Rite of Passage. Your driver’s licence. They want to know that you’ve passed the practical driving assessment because you’re SAFE on the road.They don’t want to live out their days wondering if they’d fucked up somewhere along the line by not mentoring you correctly as a supervising driver.
That’s where I come in. As a qualified Driver Trainer, I’ll take you places, show you things and put you into situations your Mum and Dad wouldn’t dare, primarily because I know you need that exposure. Yes, I can drive the car from the left hand seat, but when you’re in my car, YOU are the driver. The car is YOUR car. It’s YOUR actions that count. It’s how YOU read the traffic that matters. Sure, I’m not going to let you destroy my car because that’s how I make my living, but it’s YOUR ongoing existence that matters most to me. Don’t whine to me about how Mum or Dad won’t take you out driving, have a think about WHY they won’t. Most likely it’s because you scare the living bejeezus out of them. Give your passengers a nice ride, a comfortable ride and a S A F E ride above everything else, and you know what…….they’ll go out with you a lot more.
When I was growing up, I was taught to respect my parents. As a Learner Driver, you need to respect your parents for totally different reasons. They’ve been where you are yet to travel. They’ve seen and experienced things they sincerely hope you never will. If you’re a Learner Driver starting out, the best advice I can give you, as an accredited Driver Trainer, is listening to Mum and Dad. Listen to the fear, listen to the anxiety. Appreciate it for what it is and act accordingly. Learn to DRIVE…..not simply move a car around on the road.