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Why everyone should do a Roadcraft course

DRIVEN BY SAFETY: Glen Jocumsen with one of the Roadcraft fleet.
DRIVEN BY SAFETY: Glen Jocumsen with one of the Roadcraft fleet. Scott Kovacevic

DO YOU know what your tyre pressure is?

It could save your life.

Safety on our roads is a major issue, but time and time again the debate revolves around the state of our roads.

Rarely does it veer into the subject of our cars and the people who drive them, but after a weekend spent in Roadcraft's adult Driver Awareness Course it's clear this is absolutely where the conversation needs to be.

Consider how we think about our cars, compared to how often we use them.

Basically, we sit in them, turn the key, and if everything works, that's all we need to know.

And it shouldn't be, when you realise they play a role in the deaths of four people every day in Australia.

The link between tyre pressure and safety was only one of the surprises I encountered in the course, and according to instructor Max Parnell it was not even one of the top three among most who take the course.

Braking distance, and how a slight increase in speed can make a large difference, was first cab off the rank.

 

Instructors Max Parnell and Rick Southon.
Instructors Max Parnell and Rick Southon. Scott Kovacevic

"That's always the case, people always get that wrong," he said.

"It doesn't matter if they're a truck driver who has done 1,000,000km or 2,000,000km, they'll stand in the wrong place down on that skid pan."

Knowing the weakest link on the road also made the list.

"Modern cars are good, it's the driver that's the weak link and people don't realise that," he said.

"They don't realise that their car is that good but they're that bad."

And finally, tailgating brought up the rear.

"They say 'no, I don't tailgate people'," he said.

"We hop in with them and, yes, you do."

Of course, convincing the people who need it most to attend was a challenge in its own right.

Mr Parnell remembered a caravan driver who made this fact shine like a flare from a sinking ship.

"The guy came in to see us and said, 'I'm here for the caravan course but it's not for me ... I don't need it, but my wife really does. And by the way I just ran over your sign out the front," MrParnell said.

"And I'm thinking, 'I wonder who needs this trailer course?'

"He's just flung the caravan and knocked the sign over."

It's a story which highlights a very important point: we believe that because we've sat a driving test we know what we're doing behind the wheel, but we really don't.

A quick quiz on intersection road rules proved this, with only 18% of all answers correct.

There was more than 100 years of driving experience on the road between us and yet less than a fifth of our answers were right.

Clearly, education is important, but seemingly something which our politicians easily overlook as Roadcraft is not government-funded.

They should be.

Our politicians have been championing improvements to the Bruce Hwy for decades, and it is a good idea because it has been neglected for far too long.

But even if the State Government announced they were funding it tomorrow, it would still be many years before the work was finished and any safety benefits were felt.

Roadcraft's courses, however, will save lives tomorrow.

If we're serious about it, this needs to be where we start.

For any inquiries about Gympie Roadcraft or the courses they offer visit roadcraft.org.au or phone 5482 8833.

Topics:  gympie roadcraft road safety

Gympie Times

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