As a car & motorcycle instructor and coach I often get frustrated with those I am working with. Not in a nasty way. I am, after all, a consummate professional meaning I never get upset or angry or behave in a way that will hinder your learning. Students are paying me well to impart the wisdom and skills I have over to them, right! My frustration is out of a concern for many who come to us wanting to do the minimum amount of training possible to pass a test so they can get another step closer to having a full car or motorcycle licence. Day after day we have calls from clients or parents of clients wanting us to show them how to pass the test.
“What’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Well in my opinion, doing just enough to pass a test is not doing you (or anyone else) any favours. In fact, in regards to you driving round in your steel cage killing machines, I would like to think that drivers would want to be the best they could be for themselves and the sake of those in their vehicle or around them.
Here’s the problem.
I really don’t want to be a downer, but the numbers in New Zealand are pretty appalling. If we don’t consistently drive in a way that keeps each other safe we are simply a crash waiting to happen. If we learn that it is critical to check our blind spot whilst on test, why would we stop checking when we finally get our licence? Is it complacency? Is it because we don’t care? Is it because we actually think we don’t need to?
I do know this – a good coach drills good habits into their students, if given the proper amount of time to do so. And how long does it take to create a habit? The most popular answer is 21 days. So when training, if I have practiced enough to develop good safe habits like checking mirrors, signalling, checking my blind spot, positioning, adjusting speed, being in the appropriate gear, looking, twelve second scanning, knowing the safe following distances for dry and wet (3/5secs), having situational awareness, managing fatigue and distractions etc… then practice them on a regular basis in between professional coaching sessions, then I would probably say that those good habits will continue.
However, if I just learn to move my head around to pass my test after one coaching session, I’ll probably just go back to being the same old lemming following everyone else’s bad habits waiting for that next crash.
What am I trying to say here?
Well for starters, we are all responsible for our own and each other’s safety when we are on the road. If none of us cares then chaos will rule and the road toll (I hate that term) will go up. Is it really ok to not care about anyone else on the road and drive in an unreasonable and irresponsible way? For example, why is that text so important? Is it so life threateningly urgent to take your eyes off the road for 3 or 4 seconds? At 100kph you would have travelled the full length of a rugby pitch in the time it took to look at your phone, seeing nothing of the situation ahead.
Secondly, I get frustrated. It seems even some parents don’t care about about their kids well being. So often it’s just about freeing up their time so they no longer have to be the chauffeur. Here’s my question to those parents – when did your kids wellbeing start coming after your convenience? Maybe I’m just old fashioned, after all I’ll be 50 in a couple of weeks, but something about that just doesn’t seem ok.
If all we care about is getting home from school or work as quickly as possible, then we have a crash in the making and perhaps another tally to the road toll! When I lead the classroom sessions at the defensive driving course, many of the students just want to do the minimum and get the certificate so they can get six months off their restricted time. For many this is the only time they ever get any kind of real driver education, which is both sad and a poor reflection on the New Zealand Licencing System.
What am I doing about it?
Our mission statement is to empower our clients to make every journey a safe and enjoyable one. We are called 2 Drive Safe not to pass a test. However on the flip side if you drive safe then the by product will be you can pass your test easily without any stress whatsoever! If we can empower more people we will have safer roads. Despite the fact we all make mistakes, if everyone of us is working towards safer journeys then the roads will inevitably get safer.
My little rant is over but I want you to know that we care about riders and drivers. You are all unique individuals with value to add to our society. Let us help you to do that every time you switch on you engine and journey on our roads. And please, for your own and your family’s sake, endeavour to drive safe.