Independent Driving Instructors Guild of N.S.W.

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Inexperienced drivers have unique characteristics. Their real world experiences, dynamic spatial awareness, ability to engage in multiple environmental inputs (e.g. dash instrumentation, street/traffic signage, emergency audio), the effects of momentum and the understanding in cost/effects in managing their safety bubble, create a number of dimensions to their learning pathways.

The instruction required to encourage discipline often creates conflict between the instructor and the instructed, requiring personal skills in managing the relationships behind the wheel.

There is a range to the experience of inexperienced drivers.

At one end, the on-line pre-driving age generation with access to simulations, do not readily comprehend the effects of mistakes on the road due to the lack of physical consquences experienced by simulations, that regimentally normalise the violent effect of a mistake.

The other end of the dimension, elderly drivers, whom have developed habitual driving patterns, or have experienced the physical effects of mistakes, sometimes becoming overly cautious in their approach to driving.

A plan for experiencing real-world driving conditions must be shaped to the experiences of the individual.

Young drivers, with little real-world experience but extensive accesss to simulations, will often require behavioural instruction. Do the elderly, whom sometimes show a tendency in neglecting their basic disciplines in road/traffic management, require similar behavioural instruction.

How do you plan for skill development and embed behavioural modification into the learning material. Is the instruction primarily about gaining confidence and discipline. Are the learning pathways similar.

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There are numerous studies and media reports outlinng the impact mobile phones are having on the driving public. These reports often relate to studies on the increase in risks of crashes, caused by driver distraction, of which mobile phones are one component (i.e.drinking, eating, talking to others, listening to music are others).

Distraction is measured on the tasks of driving including:
1. Physical tasks - where the hands leave the wheel;
2. Visual tasks - where the eyes are diverted from the road; or
3. Cognitive tasks - where a driver has difficulty processing two or more pieces of information at the same time.

Driving is a complex activity performed in an environment that is constantly evolving. It comprises the simultaneous performance of multiple primary tasks (e.g. tactile movements to steering / acceleration / braking), spatial learning from interpreting visual layers/queues (e.g far/near traffic flow / signage), and cognitive processing (e.g. fatigue affected input from eyes, hands and feet).

Driving also comprises multiple seconday substasks (e.g. indicating, checking mirrors, changing gears, monitoring speed/fuel/temperature instrumentation). Do these distractions ultimately impair driver judgement.

Is Impairment to judgement different to impairment to physical/visual and cognitive tasking. Is Judgement dependent on the completion of all tasks before a judgement can be made.

Do mobile phones impair tasks and delay judgement to any greater affect than other devices in the car (e.g. radio, passengers). Is it the type of disrupting device, or the frequency at which the device disrupts, or both. How large is the impact of the mobile phone, compared to other devices that disrupt.

What is the Key Learning Area.

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There is a big difference between observing reckless vehicular behaviour and reacting to it with rage.

Our observations are often made with the "me" filter, where we translate the incident into a judgement about how that person is acting in relation to "me". Difficult drivers are common, no matter where your location. Reacting to them seems natural and necessary, and it is this natural behavioural pattern that needs to be trained. We often do not think about what we wish to accomplish, or explore other methods for releasing the underlying emotion these actions cause (e.g. anger, frustration, rage).

Your filter is not the same as theirs. Could it be as simple as acknowledging our ability to think quickly and feel gratitude that we are, and they are, still safe. You can't teach another driver to drive better by simply reacting to their behaviour.

In turn, reacting to their behaviour can lead to an increase in the agressiveness of your driving behaviour, including tailgating. speeding and erractic lane changing, which is more punishable under law compared to what you had observed.

Road rage escalates rage and is driven by a need to prove who is right. A basic question should be asked at this point, what do you need to prove and why prove it to someone we dont ultimately care about.

Exhibiting courteous and safe driving behaviours is less likely to aggrevate other drivers that may have reached their limits in stress, temper, impatience, making them less considerate.

A simple set of principles will often lead you to a better driving experience,
drive in a predicatble manner,
dont block intersections,
allow others to overtake/merge into traffic,
drive to road conditions,
if travelling no faster than the traffic bedise you, merge into the leftmost lane.

Driving involves a high degree of trust, people who do not know each other routinely engage in decisions at the cusp of life or death.

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There are six driving conditions that confront drivers every time a vehicle is operated, comprising:
1) Light,
2) Weather,
3) Traffic,
4) Road,
5) Vehicle and
6) Driver.

Slowing down is one of many actions we undertake within the six driving conditions, including: go to posted flow (slow down / speed up), control drag into corners (front / rear braking), change tactile sense (under / oversteer), change level of cognition (alertness / frame of mind), and use of safe zones (use of mirrors / setting the mind's eye 50m out front of vehicle).

Factor in changes to your behaviour for each condition.

Condition 1) Vehicle visibility on the road, do not overdrive your lights and avoid looking directly into oncoming lights;

Condition 2) Traction, visibility and vehicle tactile response vary over time;

Condition 3) Approach intersections warily as they offer the greatest threat, don't trust signals, they only indicate right of way, enter when it is safe;

Condition 4) The road's Camber & Pitch will always guide the vechicle left and as the surface gains traction a vehicle will readily drift further left, or in an accident, will most often spin to the right;

Condition 5) Braking, wheel alignment, shock absorbers, suspension and tyres are the most critical elements in determining the length of time a vehicle maintains maximum grip on the road; and

Condition 6) Capability, experience and confidence in your judgement are critical factors that influence the driving experience.

Your ability to complete appropriate maneouvres while maintaining a clear frame of mind will be critical to your driving development and longevity. So what should the key message be for road safety.

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