Murcotts Driving Excellence has been helping young drivers to think smarter, stay out of trouble and get home safely since 1969.
Risk-taking is a factor for many young drivers according to developmental psychologists. Mostly it’s about asserting their independence and the motor car is a “vehicle” for that. For some however it is a reflection of low self-esteem, lack of confidence as well as the manifestation of other life issues confronting them.
Their thrill seeking behaviour is not always motivated by a need to impress friends or to be seen as being “cool”. Many young people simply enjoy the sensations derived from cars, often associated with speeding and just having fun. For many, feelings of invincibility and apparent reckless behaviour reflects their lack of ability to drive and poor knowledge about road safety risks. They just don’t evaluate risks or risk taking the same way as most older drivers do.
Murcotts rejects the tendency by the community and some authorities to stereotype young drivers as being irresponsible or hoons. The majority of young drivers successfully negotiate the early years of driving and develop from their novice stage to experienced driver without being harmed on the roads. Unfortunately becoming an experienced driver does not mean they are now safe. The crash, injury and death rate across all age groups is unacceptable; but not surprising given the lack of training most drivers receive.
Statistical data shows that Learner drivers have very few crashes, but it is the opposite for probationary drivers – they are in the highest risk group on the road. In their first year of driving, probationary drivers are three times more likely to crash than experienced drivers.
At any one time there are about 150,000 Learner drivers in Victoria. They are involved in less than 140 injury crashes in a year. Compare this with the 200,000 P-Plate drivers in Victoria involved in about 2,250 injury crashes in a year. These crashes are more likely to happen early in the probationary period with around 45% occurring in the first year of driving. So what should you do to reduce your vulnerability on the roads starting from the learner stage.
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