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The Current State of Driving is a Concern

By July 1, 2023News, Wheelspin

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that as a professional driver and driver training subject matter expert, that my observations of current driving standards are very concerning. It really is hard to switch off when I must drive on public roads, and I know there is a standard or practice everyone should keep.

Now I am not forthright in this regard, and I do know that mistakes are made, after all we are only human. But it’s the type of mistakes we are seeing that is really starting to concern me. My fear is we are relying too much on technology in vehicles and then luck to keep us safe when we are navigating our way to the shops, or to the sporting events or to visit loved ones.

I recently installed a Dashcam on my Triton Ute, that was a mission, as it has a canopy on the back, and I wanted to have both front and rear vision captured. Luckily, I found a great solution and made a YouTube video about the project as I thought it would be useful to others in the same situation.

When I installed the camera, my primary reason was to capture any incidents that may occur so I could defend myself if anything were to take place. Now I am not expecting to have a crash and you probably aren’t either, but simply if you haven’t got a Dashcam recording your journey, then you are leaving yourself vulnerable to all sorts of potential insurance scams and false accusations. Yes, this does occur!

However, I started to witness some truly awful driving behaviours that my camera was capturing also, and it was very simple to cut these clips (takes less than 5 mins) and upload them as a story on our Instagram page ‘Steer Safely’. The first one was a driver tailgating a truck and trying desperately to overtake, ducking and weaving all over the place, total impatience, it received 600,000 views and comments both for and against this driver. The next was a van that while in bumper-to-bumper traffic, overtook a vehicle and then pushed back in front gaining exactly 1 place in the line. This received 1.1m views with some people making all kinds of excuses for his actions. The fact that people supported these drivers is what is concerning, because it’s a standard they are willing to overlook.

But wait it gets worse, I captured another driver crossing double lines, driving on the wrong side of the road for over 100m to turn right at an intersection, then another person instead of turning at a left turn only lane, went straight ahead and caused a learner driver to take evasive action to miss them. It seems two vehicles into one lane simply won’t fit without someone making an adjustment, especially when you don’t expect that, it just so happened that someone was a learner.

This is just a small sample of what was worthy of an upload, all with the intent of teaching what bad behaviours are being portrayed in this footage. I haven’t bothered with the countless redlight runners, the lack of people using an indicator, the tailgaters or the drivers weaving all over the road while being distracted.

Road tragedy isn’t going away, we saw the horrific bus crash in the Hunter region recently and steady reports of fatalities coming in showcasing the reality that driving is actually still dangerous. We are sharing the roads with these people and the standards we overlook are the standards we accept, and why shouldn’t we expect a higher standard?

I have been involved in motoring for over 38 years now, starting when my brothers raced Speedway when I was just 12, and me doing my first Super Sprint at 15. My parents who are both Motorsport Australia Stewards were attending Bathurst in the 1960’s, while they never raced, motoring was a big part of our family. In all this time, I have never seen the driving standards slip so low as to what we are seeing right now.

I’m sure you are seeing it too, we have all had our own experiences with this and the one message I want to get across is, never trust another driver, always expect they will do the exact opposite of what you are thinking and therefore take that into consideration when practicing your safe driving.

Feel free to email me your thoughts on this, it shapes our training programs and I do love hearing from you on this subject, it’s time we all raised the driving standards and never accept that this is the way it is now.

Steer Safely out there.
Stewart Nicholls
Managing Director
STC Education