Driving a motor vehicle is more than just learning the basics of operating a car and knowing the road rules. It’s also about safety and knowing how to act and react in a critical situation. It could save your life, the lives of your passengers, and others on the road.
Defensive driving and learning the skills to take defensive action are critical to staying safe on New Zealand’s roads.
Let’s take a closer look at defensive driving in New Zealand, what it is, why you should learn it, and some tips on finding the right defensive driving course for you.
What Is Defensive Driving All About?
When you learn defensive driving, in effect, you are acquiring a set of skills that will teach you how to avoid an accident or get out of a tricky situation without losing control of the vehicle.
Defensive driving skills can apply to drivers of cars, motorcycle riders, operators of trucks and other heavy transport, and more.
Basically, you are arming yourself against the unexpected, as well as defending yourself and your vehicle against bad drivers.
For easy reference, let’s list some of the key things you will learn when you undertake a defensive driving course:
- Avoiding dangerous situations on the road
- Readily recognizing potential hazards
- Reducing the restricted period on your driver’s license
- Planning for the unexpected
- Always being ready to react to other drivers
- Being alert at all times and avoiding distractions
- Driving to the road and weather conditions
- Controlling your speed and vehicle, even in emergency situations
- Respecting others on the road
- And more…
Why Take a Defensive Driving Course?
For starters, learning how to master defensive driving techniques and having a defensive driving mindset will take your on-road skills to a higher level. You will become a more competent and complete driver, as well as a much safer one.
Defensive driving, as mentioned in the introduction, can save your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of other road users. It will also protect your vehicle from damage if you can avoid accidents by taking defensive measures.
Driving on the road can be dangerous and anything can happen at any time.
Defensive driving is all about being prepared for if and when something unexpected does eventuate. With these skills under your belt, you’ll have a far better chance of avoiding an accident, and that’s always the outcome you will want to be aiming for.
If you drive for a living or are planning to, having the credentials of having completed a defensive driving course can help you land courier jobs and delivery driving jobs, to name a few.
Employers want to know that their company vehicles are going to be in good hands.
Let’s now look at some tips on choosing the best defensive driving course or school.
How Long Has the Driving School Been In Operation?
When choosing a driving school or a place that specializes in defensive driving courses, you will want to check just how long they’ve been in operation.
While there is nothing wrong with giving a new business a try, you will have a better chance of getting value for money and learning the skills required if you choose a school that’s been operating for some time.
You want to know that the school is also going to remain in business, so if you book defensive driving lessons or other driving lessons, they won’t be going out of business. This can be a real concern when dealing with a start-up driving school.
Does the Driving School Have a Positive Reputation?
Another bonus when looking into a driving school that has been in business for some time is you can research the company to determine what their reputation is like and what others who have used the service have to say about them.
Most of this information you can find online at any time, so use the internet to your advantage and do some research on a course or driving school you’re interested in.
If the reviews and feedback are mostly positive, then that driving school is a safe bet to team up with for your defensive driving training.
Does the School Have Sessions That Suit You?
Some flexibility when it comes to being able to book a defensive driving session is important, as not everyone has the same availability when it comes to free time to complete a course.
Check that the school has a time slot that fits in with your schedule and if they don’t, can one be arranged?
Perhaps the driving school offers after-hours sessions in the evening or on weekends? If you can’t find a school with a schedule that suits you, you’ll have to alter your schedule in order to complete defensive driver training.
How Much Does the Course Cost?
Prices for defensive driver training are going to vary from school to school. To determine if a session costs a fair price, look at the pricing from a number of different driving schools and courses to establish an average price.
Keep in mind that if a driving school you fancy charges a little more, it can be worth paying extra if the school has an excellent defensive driving program and comes highly recommended.
The cost of a defensive driving course isn’t very much and it’s money well spent that could save a life.
Be Prepared and Remain Focused
Once you do settle on a course and show up for a session, be mentally prepared before you arrive and remain fully focused during the session to get the most out of it. On average, defensive driving sessions run between 2 to 3 hours, so make the most of that time.
Undertaking a defensive driving course is a positive action for any driver of any vehicle type. While driving on the roads presents certain dangers, you can minimize your chances of having an accident by becoming a skilled and safe driver through defensive driver training.