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The Murcotts Defensive Driving Approach

The key to Murcotts' approach is to help drivers avoid crashing.

Around 15,000 drivers of all ages attend Murcotts' Defensive Driver Training courses throughout Australia each year either as staff from participating corporate clients or as private individuals.

Murcotts' driver training provides advanced driver skills, knowledge and competencies well beyond the level required for licensing. Effective driver education involves changing driver behaviour but this depends on the quality of the learning experience. Learning to be a safer driver does not involve adrenalin charged stunt driving experiences. And the notion that ad hoc driving experience alone without further training will help drivers become safer is contradicted by the high crash, injury and death statistics across all age groups, even for so called experienced drivers.

The nature of the learning experience during training is therefore crucial to the resultant behaviour change. Educational research indicates that the most effective learning is derived from targeted, structured learning processes. This is particularly true for driver education.

Unlearning Poor Driving Habits

The underpinning learning strategy in Murcotts' programs centres on adult learning theory and recognises that a key component of effective driver education is unlearning behaviours and habits that do not deliver safe outcomes on the road. The problem is that most drivers have formed a belief that their driving is above average and the fact that they have survived on the roads is proof to them. Any crashes that they have expereienced are often attributed other causes, not their poor driving. It follows that effective training must set about increasing a driver’s insight before new driving behaviours will be readily adopted.

Therefore Murcotts' programs are structured to target the following learning outcomes:

  • Increasing insight into own driving behaviour and recognising habits and practices that are risky
  • Increasing hazard perception, risk assessment and risk management skills
  • Reducing risk taking behaviours
  • Increasing defensive and protective driving skills
  • Achieving the environmental, safety and economic benefits of safe driving
  • Maintaining a safe vehicle environment
  • Ensuring competence in basic vehicle control

These learning outcomes have been determined reflecting the findings from worldwide road safety research, collision data, behaviour based health and safety systems as well as data arising from our programs.

Murcotts' programs combine practical skills training with the psychological factors that are crucial for developing a driver safety culture. The BAAMS® Driver Profile targets the five elements that influence or determine a driver’s performance.

Training Methodology

Changing driver behaviour is not easy. Providing information alone does not necessarily lead to changes in behaviour.

In order to comply with Occupational Health and Safety requirements, WorkSafe states,

“... training should not be restricted just to delivering a talk on a specific topic. It should also involve practical exercises...”.

That is why Murcotts' programs are based on experiential learning approaches leading to increased driver competency. The practical experience of the training is more likely to encourage participants to apply what they have learnt after the program.

Our trainers incorporate innovative learning methods that focus on participants’ needs to ensure real transfer of the principles to their onroad driving behaviour. Attitudinal change occurs as a result of the group exercises that encourage participants to reflect on their driving practices and review their thinking about issues to do with driver safety behaviour.

Small group instruction ensures that participants receive individual attention as well as repeated practice in the in-car exercises.

Classroom theory sessions are invaluable in addressing the essential knowledge that supports competency based training. For example, understanding some technical aspects of modern car safety design such as Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) and and Electronic Stability Programs (ESP) is required before a driver can competently gain the safety advantage of the system when driving.

Murcotts' programs focus on safety, driver fatigue, environmental and economic issues, fuel saving techniques and pollution and environmental destruction issues (particularly fourwheel driving off-road).