A focus of Youth Month is education and training. As teenagers complete their secondary and tertiary education, one form of training that may not receive the due it deserves is defensive driver training. Yet, many parents will soon send their children to university or out into the world complete with their shiny new licenses.
According to various studies and research, South African youth are some of the most vulnerable on the roads. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says this is for various reasons. “Our experience with new drivers shows us that the youth’s lack of experience and tendency to indulge in risky driving behaviours puts them at risk.”
Three risk areas
After years of seeing potentially dangerous incidents on the roads or being involved in them ourselves, experienced drivers often know when to be wary. “Lack of experience makes younger drivers overestimate their speed in certain conditions like wet weather or have small following distances. Drive with your teenagers as much as possible so that they build their experience and confidence with an experienced driver by their side,” says Herbert.
Whether it is for fear of not looking ‘cool’ or simply a lack of understanding of safe driving, younger drivers are also likely to engage in reckless driving. “Forgoing seatbelts, speeding, aggressive driving and using their phones while driving are just some habits they are guilty of. Show young drivers why certain behaviour are so dangerous. Defensive driving does not just tell drivers not to do something but explains why certain behaviours are so dangerous,” says Herbert.
Competent driving does not end after completing a K53 driving test. “We encourage all drivers to undergo defensive driver training. It trains them to have an absolute awareness of surroundings and how to not be vulnerable to crashes or how to avoid it where possible.
“In addition to the relationship and love you have grown with your teenager; you have invested at least two million into their development as an educated and well-adapted adult. Neglecting to give them that last bit of training to take on South Africans roads is a mistake and can even be considered short-sighted. This Youth Month, ensure your child has the education to stay safe on the roads,” emphasises Herbert.