Opinion > The supposed evils of Advanced Driver Training 

Does driver training work? According to various voices of authority, no; they want you to believe that the more you learn about driving, the more dangerous you'll be on the road! What? Are they for real?

Much of the research is flawed because it features people who voluntarily undertake advanced driver training and compares them to people who've never done such a course. The first group are probably people who push the limits a bit anyway. A possible member of the second group is your Auntie Edna, who only ever drives to the shops or to church, and is not the type to enrol herself in an advanced driver training school. Good statistical analysis demands having identical groups of subjects (200 healthy mice for instance, half of which get injected with a new vaccine before all are exposed to a virus). I'd like to have two groups of like–minded people, one being allowed to enrol in a course and the others asked not to.

Sadly though, the research people do have a point, one with a degree of validity worth discussing. I'll do that below but first, I'd like to share some of my experiences of advanced driver training days with you.

  • Very few participants have much idea of how to steer, so leave such days with better car control.
  • Most participants have never done a real–life emergency stop and have a dreadful braking technique in a non-ABS vehicle.
  • Those in an ABS vehicle are usually worse. Yes, worse, because they've never experienced the pulsating effect of the ABS through the brake pedal and they immediately release pressure as soon as it happens.
  • Most participants are unwilling to swerve as an emergency action and have little understanding of how braking affects such a manoeuvre.

 

I think I'll stop there because I could go on and on about the things people learn on these days and Blind Freddy can see that they're worthwhile things to learn. So what goes wrong?

The contention is that the advanced education encourages risky behaviour. Now let's give this full credit, warranted or not. Behaviour is just as much a road safety issue as ability and most would argue it counts for even more. If you do undertake an advanced driver course, please accept the lessons in technique and roadcraft without them elevating your need to engage in risk taking. All you're doing is saying that "previously I would have crashed at 60 but now I don't crash until I do nearly 80". Wouldn't it be smarter not to crash at all? Wouldn't you like to prove the boffins wrong?

Please!