LEARNING TO DRIVE used to be a rite of passage for youngsters but the gradual improvement of public transport in South Africa, along with the rise of ride-sharing services, means a driving licence is less necessaryy than it used to be.
The SA Automobilee Association, however, says: “It’s still useful to have a driving licence. If you have access to a car, a licence is an easy way to get around whenever you want need to.
“A driving licence is also important when entering the jobs market – many jobs, such as sales representatives, require the applicant to have their own transport and a licence.
“One can make an entire career as a driver.”
GET THE CORRECT TRAINING
So, here’s some advice from the AA…
“First, as we’ve seen in news media, it’s easy to buy a licence – but don’t even think of it. Driving is one of the top causes of unnatural death and if you don’t get the correct training before you venture out on the roads your crash risk is extremely high.
“Get proper training and pass the driving test legitimately so when you use the roads on your own you will be equipped to recognise danger and avoid it.”
Use a driving school for lessons.
“Pick a reputable driving school,” the AA said. “Look for one that’s has been in business for many years. Check online to see what others think of their service.”
Make sure the instructor has a valid instructor’s certificate – they are only issued by the local licensing authorities – and that their vehicle is clean, presentable and roadworthy.
DON’T LIKE YOUR TUTOR ?
A bonus would be an instructor authenticated by the Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors which has access to additional training and legislation updates.
Switch to another instructor if you’re dissatisfied with your first choice.
“Driving is one of the most dangerous responsibilities you will ever have,” the AA said. “Make sure you are taught by an expert with your best interests at heart.”
When you pass your driving test don’t forget to stick to what you were taught.
“The content of the driving test is only a framework of basic skills. Good drivers work on improving their skill throughout their driving life by reading up on developments in safety and technology and attending training courses,” the AA added.
THREE SPECIAL HINTS FOR YOU
“Don’t rely on learning by ‘experience’ – a situation which requires ‘experience’ could happen just days or weeks after you get your licence!”
The AA said its three main hints to new drivers were a summary of the most important skills taught before the driving test:
Always check your blind spot before overtaking/changing lanes/manoeuvring even if your car has a blind-spot warning. Checking can help to avoid many types of crash – rollovers, sideswipes, loss of control which could lead to a severe impact with a roadside such as barriers or trees.”
Maintain a following distance of at least two seconds – dlouble that if visibility is poor – to have time to slow down or stop if something happens up ahead.
GET YOUR LICENCE – BUT KEEP LEARNING
Always drive at a speed suited to road and weather, which might be slower than the speed limit – yet don’t drive too slowly when it is inappropriate. If you drive too fast for conditions you won’t be able to stop or swerve in time. Inappropriately low speed can be just as dangerous.
The AA believes drivers who constantly improve their skills are less likely to crash: “Better driving depends on knowledge. Make sure you improve your knowledge for as long as you drive.”