Racetrack teaches drivers safety tips
Sat, 13 Oct 2012 6:24p.m.
By Shaun Summerfield
Kiwi motorsport legend Chris Amon has returned to the racetrack. This time though it's not about winning. Instead, the focus is on helping young drivers survive on the road.
The course has police officers telling teens to pull handbrake skid, among other manoeuvres. And with former Ferrari F1 driver Amon watching on, it clearly isn't your typical driving lesson.
“It makes you think about things,” says leaner driver Jaden Murray.
The course is designed to put learner drivers in extreme conditions. But in the safety of a racetrack, it is perfect for the 17-year-old after one lucky escape on the road.
“I was playing with the radio, took my eyes off the road for a second or two, slid onto the grass, saw a pole and overcorrected, got into a slide going towards a truck, hit the wheel, bounced off and was dragged under straight across,” says Mr Murray.
The three-year-old programme was the started by former V8 champ Mark Pedersen.
“There is no carpark for the kids to drive in,” says Pedersen. “We've got the ultimate carpark here. Get them out of their comfort zone so they can try different things before they get on the road.”
Joining the instructor line up this year is motor-racing legend Amon.
“In this country for a long time, our driver education has been quite ordinary to say the least,” says Amon.
The key to the programme is getting parents and guardians involved – literally in the front seat.
“Our crash rates are coming down anyway, but the attitude across the Taupo region has changed a lot,” says Senior Sergeant Fane Troy.
The programme is funded by the local council and businesses, and Amon has called for it to go nationwide. So far only Canterbury’s Selwyn district has followed Taupo's lead.
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23/10/2012 10:05:37 p.m.
if only boi racing could be encouraged under controlled conditions be the next big step
14/10/2012 6:42:29 p.m.
Great news from Mr Pedersen & The Master Mr Amon. If we are actually serious about road safety, this type of real instruction should be a compulsory component of all licence tests.
14/10/2012 2:08:50 p.m.
Well done. There needs to be more education for young drivers on how to cope with drving conditions, then the young rate of deaths on our roads will drop.
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