Focus on road safety | Magnet

Significant Programs: Learner drivers benefit from both classroom training and hands-on in-car instruction. Photo: Supplied

Bega Valley Driving School was founded in 2003.

Run by Alan and Deb Close, the school has educated many locals, the majority of whom are in the final stages of high school.

They cover an area roughly from Narooma to Eden and have two manual vehicles, three cars and two qualified instructors.

Their newest addition, Michael, joined the team in 2021. “His calm and friendly manner will put even the most nervous driver at ease,” said Deb.

Meanwhile, Alan has been teaching for 20 years. He is also qualified to deliver the Keys2drive courses, has been a facilitator and trainer for the NSW Safer Drivers course since 2014 and has also been a facilitator for the RYDA program since 2006.

Let’s talk about these three government initiatives.

Firstly, as described by Service NSW, “Keys2drive is an Australian government funded program that offers learner drivers and their parents/supervisors a free driving lesson with an accredited professional driving instructor. The lesson lasts one hour and the learner will receive training in the best ways to practice their conduct.”

NSW learners can claim this free driving lesson through Service NSW at any time after obtaining their learner’s permit.

Alan says it is also very beneficial for the parent or other guardian who will be supervising the learner at other times.

“By the end of the lesson, the parent has generally learned as much,” Alan said.

He also pointed out that a Monash University study found that since its inception in 2008, this program has halved the crash risk of drivers who have participated in it. This suggests that refresher training for each learner’s supervisor is also important.

The second program, the NSW Safer Drivers Course “can help you understand speed management, gap selection, hazard awareness, safe following distances and how to continue driving safely when distracted”, explains Service NSW.

By doing the three hour group discussion and two hour coaching session in a vehicle, NSW learners earn 20 hours of credit in their logbooks.

Alan says these classes take place about once a month in Merimbula or Bega.

And third, we have the RYDA program, which takes place in various locations across Australia.

“By adopting, in large part, an inquiry-based learning approach to students, RYDA is part of the school culture from the first to the last day of a young person’s high school life,” says Road Safety Education Limited.

Alan also praises this program, noting that it imparts a lot of useful, first-hand information to the youngsters in the class about the seriousness of things that can go wrong, and also takes them on a closed circuit. local (Frogs Hollow kart track in this case) to demonstrate some of the physics, especially stopping distances.

One of the hard things to figure out is the speed at which the speed is reduced, which is usually about half the speed that occurs in about the last quarter of the distance. This means that even a slightly higher cruising speed will result in noticeably longer stopping distance, or a surprisingly harder impact if you don’t stop in time.

Another thing they do to really push the point is put a dummy on the track, and it’s usually cleaned up, which serves as a reminder that the responsibility of controlling a motor vehicle is a life or death situation.

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