EXPERTISE: Steve Robinson talks technique at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.
EXPERTISE: Steve Robinson talks technique at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.

Training gives life-saving new skills to experienced drivers

GETTING behind the wheel daily is a task most take for granted.

Commercial mariner Julie Daffy, finance manager Kelly Edwards and author Jodie Allen are a perfect example of those who have never been trained properly despite each being a qualified driver for more than 20 years.

With the help of Suzuki Queensland and piloting Suzuki Swift Sports, they had the opportunity to gain advanced training.

For Daffy, she has since become more attuned to the road and her surroundings.

"I find myself correcting my position on the wheel - particularly my hands,” she said.

"I also am ensuring that I leave a more appropriate braking distance and am training myself to look further up the road, rather than what is immediately in front of me.

"I found the theory behind understeer and oversteer invaluable. We were able to follow this with practical sessions where we were taught how to correct under and oversteer.”

Driver safety training at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.
Driver safety training at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.

For Edwards, she also also found changes to holding the steering wheel at three and nine rather than 10 and two challenging, and has also been more focused on looking well ahead and then scanning back.

"I have to concentrate to maintain the new technique and I definitely go back to old habits,” Edwards said.

"I had one lesson with a driving school to get my Ps and that was to learn how to reverse park. Other than that Mum and Dad taught me to drive.

"Other things that resonated with me was from a practical day-to-day perspective. Maintaining your car with good tyres and understanding your safety features, as well as when and how these features are activated and as a driver what it might feel like (when the traction control and anti-lock brakes operate).

"If the government was serious about reducing the road toll they would make it mandatory for people going for their Ps. There should be something built in (licencing) from the beginning. It's not just females. It's everyone. And it's every age group.”

Driver safety training at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.
Driver safety training at Norwell's Performance Driving Gold Coast facility.

For Gympie-based Allen, the road has been a challenge for years since she had to pull people from cars following an accident in Western Australia that involved multiple fatalities.

"After that, I refused to drive on the highway for about 12 years.,” she said.

"My husband made me go to driving training here in Gympie and it made a world of difference. I still don't much like driving in the rain or at night - but the recent driver training has made me even more confident on the road.

"I certainly have a lot more confidence on the road and always look for 'escape routes' if something should happen. I'm also not so scared about having to swerve or slam on the brakes.

"I (previously) learned you should never ever, ever slam on the brakes because it will ruin the car and the tyres.”

Suzuki Queensland safety program: Suzuki Queensland stages a road safety program at the Performance Driving Gold Coast.