Keeping Safe After The Driving Test
In this article we’re going to investigate accident statistics from newly qualified younger drivers compared against older more seasoned motorists. Not just in Middlesbrough but throughout Britain. The amount of fatal or serious accidents involving younger newly qualified drivers on Great British roads still seems to be alarmingly high. Hopefully we can give a little help in keeping safe on the road after the driving test.
Firstly we’ll have a look at the statistics then move on to some of the root causes of these accidents. Then we can see what a driving school can do to help.
The Newly Qualified Driver – Keeping Safe After The Driving Test
You may be forgiven for believing a newly qualified driver with 40 plus hours of recent driving tuition under their belt will be safe as chips. Going even as far as to say their above the average Joe on the road. Research into crash investigations unfortunately paints a bit more gloom.
According to studies by the Brake charity 1.5 % of drivers on British roads fall into the 17 to 19 age bracket. Astonishingly the percentage of accidents resulting in fatal or serious injury is staggeringly high, resting currently at 9%.
Studies have confirmed that newly qualified drivers under the age of 19 are 33% more likely to be in a life threatening accident than motorists in their 40’s.
Route Causes To Some Accidents And The GDE Matrix
Although you have that shiney green licence in hand you may not be as safe as you think on the road. The UK driving test has changing over the last ten years to become less informal and more customer focussed. It’s still however to some degree only a test of your car control skills and traffic anticipation. All this taking place on a set day and a set time for a set duration of 40 minutes.
The route cause of many fatal accidents isn’t car control skills or traffic situations but other outside factors. Here we have a look at the GDE matrix and then some common situational problems breaching from it.
What Is The GDE Matrix
The GDE matrix was developed through decades of research into driver behaviour. It takes into account not just car control skills and integration into traffic but also two higher levels. It will not always be possible to asses these upper levels on a regular driving test.
The GDE matrix consists of the following stages. Firstly (stage 1) measuring a drivers skills controlling a motor vehicle. The next level (Stage 2) focusses on integrating into traffic situations. (Stage 3) looks into how specific Journeys, times and physical fitness can affect a driver. Finally (Stage 4) focusses in on the individuals personal values or life goals.
Here’s an example below –
If we take a look at the GDE matrix we can see that the driving test does cover two aspects which are car control skills and driving in traffic.
There are however higher levels that the test may not capture on a 40 minute drive on a set day.
With the vast amount of learner drivers wanting to get on the road any additional assessment after the theory and 40 minute practical test could start to become a logistical nightmare.
Can a driving school help prepare a learner driver for these higher levels when teaching them to drive. We think yes!
Examples Of Contributing Factors To Fatal Or Serious Accidents
Fatigue – Keeping Safe After The Driving Test
Here’s a shocking statistic for you – Fatigue is actually thought to be a larger contributing factor to injury and death on the roads than drug driving.
The route cause of up to 20% of serious and close to a quarter of fatal accidents have been attributed to tiredness at the wheel. A fatal injury won’t be far away if you fall asleep at the wheel on a 70 MPH motorway. At this speed the car will travel 200 metres in seven seconds!!
If you do manage to keep your peepers open your still statistically more likely to have an accident due to reduced reaction times. Research into fatigue has shown reaction times, depending on how tired you are can be as slow as someone just over the drink drive limit!!
Could a full day on a Pass Plus course help prepare you for driving when tired? Many of our students are completing the full six hour course in one day. This really helps open their eyes to dealing with fatigue on the road.
Could fatigue on a driving lesson delve some way into stage 3 of the matrix? Can making comparisons between fatigue and drink driving help a novice driver understand the dangers of alcohol?
Distractions – Keeping Safe After The Driving Test
Many of your driving lessons no doubt have been filled with distractions as you receive instruction from your helpful driving coach. The problem is your instructor is on the road constantly, ever ready looking out for the signs of when to be quiet. Would a friend or a young child know when to stop talking?
Although the sat nav has been introduced to four out of five driving tests and has probably become a regular theme on a lesson. How will you deal with distractions out on your own for the first time?
With the radio on and your mates messing around there’s plenty of things to distract you after passing your test.
Bring A Buddy Lesson
As a driving school we can help by a –
Bring your buddy lesson. A great way to help prepare you for future distractions is to have a friend or family member join you on a driving session. Notice how the dynamics of a lesson can change having another pair of eyes watching you. Especially if it’s one of those annoying back seat driver types!
Bringing a buddy may just help with stage 4 of the matrix. Giving you an insight into how you deal with peer pressure and how it affects your driving.
Keeping Safe After Your Driving Test – Conclusion
The driving test is ever evolving, from the early days of the 1930’s being assessed by ex services and police officers to the present day less formal customer friendly approach. There’s no doubt things will continue to evolve when autonomous vehicles and electric cars start to hit the road.
Maybe in the future there may be means of testing a candidate on the higher levels of the GDE matrix but until then maybe your driving school can help prepare you for this with –