Lifestyle

Doubts about defensive driving

Defensive driving focuses on vehicle handling, skid control and hazards perception.
Defensive driving focuses on vehicle handling, skid control and hazards perception. Nat Bromhead

DEFENSIVE driving courses may actually increase the risk of accidents because they promote over-confidence in young people, according to new research.

A study from the Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre examined the effectiveness of driver training techniques and found defensive driving does not improve road safety.

Defensive driving is often taught as part of advanced training, and focuses on vehicle handling, skid control and hazards perception.

The study found skid control training in particular led to increased crashes, because students focused on their manoeuvring skills rather than avoiding dangerous situations.

This fostered over-confidence, the study found, and resulted in drivers being less likely to avoid situations, such as poor weather conditions, "which they erroneously believe themselves capable of handling".

"Driver training focused on vehicle handling skills can make drivers more efficient at vehicle handling; however this does not necessarily make them safer since they may become over-confident," the research found.

The study was commissioned by the RAC in WA, where people aged between 17 and 24 account for 20 per cent of road deaths despite representing just 12 per cent of the population.

Study author Dr Vanessa Beanland said professional driving lessons and resilience training - which focused on attitudes to risky behaviour such as alcohol and drug use - were found to improve road safety.

But she said much more research was needed to determine the effectiveness of other methods, including simulation training.

The research also found learner drivers were less likely to crash when supervised by a professional as opposed to a relative or friend.

"Crashes do occur during professional lessons, however, they are less serious, most are low-speed crashes in urban areas, such as rear-end collisions, whereas during lay supervision high speed crashes in rural areas are more common," the paper said.

Those who received professional training also had more favourable attitudes towards reckless driving, drink driving, speeding and violations and were less likely to overestimate their driving ability.

But the combination of professional lessons and instruction from family was deemed the best option, and gave young drivers the best chance at passing their first test.

Topics:  defensive driving, drive, p-plate driver



Where the "who's who” in biz will be this weekend

TIME TO SHINE: Patrons at the launch of the 2016 BEATS awards at Babalou, Kingscliff.

The theme is sequins and sparkles; the guest list Tweed's top crop

Patients being treated but no access to medical records

Doctors have returned to their rooms at the Kingscliff Family Medical Services Clinic but remain in dispute over business records.

Kingscliff doctors return to rooms to treat patients

Council's $200k woes: what cops are doing about it

NSW police at coffs harbour boat ramp, arrest , gun, shots, handcuffs

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Thieves consider Tweed Council to be a "soft target"

Latest deals and offers

Rob Kardashian 'neglected' by Blac Chyna

Friends say they are now 'back in love'

Isla Fisher: I don't like talking about my private life

Isla Fisher shut down TV hosts when they asked about her husband

Mariah Carey: I 'can't believe' Prince has gone

'Prince was one of the best people I've met'

Joe Jonas' 'tough' pals

Joe Jonas' pals are 'tough' with his potential partners

The Bachelor wash up: bacon, plank offs and that white rose

Richie Strahan, second from left, with bachelorettes Eliza, Faith, Noni and Janey in a scene from episode one of the fourth season of The Bachelor.

RICHIE Strahan meets some beautiful, and colourful, bachelorettes.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started