75% of drivers don't know the rules: Gympie educator
SENIOR educator with Roadcraft Gympie Bruce "Woody” Woodstock says he has held a licence for 51 years and so many things have changed since he first climbed behind the wheel.
"My first vehicle didn't even have seat belts or indicators,” Woody said.
These days vehicles have lane departure warnings, reversing cameras, crumple zones and airbags. You can even get cars that can reverse park or have in-built global positioning systems.
"Some technology is helping to keep us safe, like crumple zones and airbags. They can lessen the affects of motor vehicle crashes. So much so that manufacturers are leaning towards autonomous cars that can drive themselves and park themselves,” he said.
While this technology has been life-saving, other technologies have created dangerous distractions to drivers.
"I had a police officer tell me around 60 per cent of all crashes have an element of distraction to them,” Woody said.
He said even a momentary glance at a mobile phone after hearing a notification sound could have tragic consequences while behind the wheel.
"We are so orientated towards our phones that it's almost instinctual to look at it when we hear it make a noise,” he said.
"That's what driver education is for.
"It can help us understand our human limitations - limitations that have been ingrained for thousands of years.
"Human beings are naturally suited to a maximum speed of about 25km/h. When you're driving, we travel four times above what our body and brain are designed for.
"Driver education is trying to educate us on what our limitations are and what we need to do to overcome them.
"We need to alter our driving habits to compensate for those limitations.”
That's why Woody, who has been a senior driving educator at Roadcraft for the past six years, is all for initiatives like the Lions Club of Gympie's free road safety and road rules refresher course.
"When people first come to do our course at Roadcraft, we give them a four question test. On average 25 per cent of people get it right,” he said.
That means, on average, three quarters of the driving population currently on the roads are driving with incorrect road rules' knowledge or with potentially dangerous habits and attitudes.
"There have been so many changes. Roundabouts for instance - most people don't know the rules.
"It's little things like that,” Woody said.
Woody said one of the biggest lessons, and one people could start practising straight away, was also one of the simplest.
"Vision or observation. You need to see things earlier so that you can process what you're seeing and take action earlier,” he said.
" If people would could see a problem one second earlier, 90 per cent of crashes could be avoided.”
Woody's co-worker Glen Jocumsen will be one of the presenters at the Lions Gympie Road Rules Refresher course on Monday, May 13.
The operations manager at Roadcraft, Mr Jocumsen will be available at both sessions - 2-3.30pm and 7-8.30pm - to cover topics such as road safety, road rules, speed, distractions and sharing the road, and will be available to answer questions from the audience.