Introductory Driver Safety - 1st Gear On-Line Course

Making driving a safer and more enjoyable experience

1st Gear is a free introductory program will give you a sample of the topics covered in 2nd Gear and beyond. It aims to make driving a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Becoming a better driver is an ongoing process. The first step is to start building your awareness and knowledge on a few key driving principles. These provide a foundation for the higher order abilities you need as a driver.

So let’s get you started and move your driving up gear!

Mirror Set Up

Your mirrors also need to be adjusted correctly to maximise your field of view.

The centre rear view mirror should bepositioned so that you can see most, if not all of the rear screen.

Most drivers don’t set up their wing mirrors correctly and underutilise the perspective they can provide. To address this fan the wing mirror out until you just lose sight of the car’s rear quarter.

Having the wing mirrors looking down the side of the car will only give you the same view as the internal mirror. By fanning the mirrors out you maximise your rear vision and give yourself a better idea of the other cars around you.

This set up will also help to reduce your “blind spot”. It won’t eliminate it totally, so you’ll still need to do a shoulder check, but it will greatly improve your overall view.

Seat Belts

There is no disputing the fact that seat belts save lives. Making sure you’re wearing your seat belt is arguably the most significant thing you can do to improve your level of safety at the wheel.

Like any piece of safety gear, it’s important to make sure that it is fitted correctly. The belt should fit snugly across the hips and chest.

Most modern cars will also give you the ability to adjust the height of the belt as it crosses your shoulder. This allows you to adjust the angle of the beat and guide across your shoulder and away from the neck.

Finally, check that the belt is free from any twists and that it is good condition.

Early Warning Signs

Often crashes happen because something unexpected has occurred and the driver hasn’t had enough time to respond to the situation or failed to recognise early warning signals.

Developing a better overall view of your driving environment will help you to prepare for the unexpected. It’s as if you are fine tuning your driving intuition.

There is a simple drill you can use to help develop this skill. All you need to do is ask yourself this question: “If something was to happen right now, what could I do with this car?”. Doing this allows you to start develop an ‘exit strategy’ in case anything goes wrong. The more you practice, the more you will start to see what options may be open to you in order to avoid or minimise the effects of an oncoming disaster.

This, coupled with your sharpened intuition, could take the form of simply recognising that you should slow down ahead of an apparently benign occurrence in the distance that could turn out to be more serious.

Optimising Vision

The most import aspect to remember is to look as far ahead down the road as you possibly can. Doing so will help you plan your moves more effectively and improve how you read and work with the traffic flow. It can also help to identify potential hazards that may be ahead.

Looking as far ahead as you can doesn’t mean that you “lock” your eyes on one specific area. In fact you need to scan your environment. This means our eyes should shift constantly from long range to short range and everything in-between. This visual sweep also includes the rear view mirrors and the gauges on the dash.

You should be checking your mirrors every 5 -10 seconds . This is even more critical on a multi-lane highway where even changing lanes can be tricky.

Improving how you use your vision will also give you a greater degree of awareness about the road environment around you.

Smooth Use of Vehicle Controls

How the vehicle performs dynamically on the road depends on you as the driver. Your actions and how you drive makes a big difference.

Some drivers may get away with being aggressive with their car for a while, but somewhere, sometime, they will pay the price.

The bottom line is that harsh and violent steering, aggressive braking and abusing the truck in general will contribute to loss of control. Asking for more than what your car can deliver dynamically is a crash waiting to happen.

Good driving is all about being smooth and progressive with the vehicle and its controls. And by being aware of all the forces that are acting on your truck as it moves, you can work with them and drive accordingly.

Congratulations! You've completed 1st Gear

Congratulations, your Carma is heading in the right direction and you’re well on the way to becoming a safer driver. But as we know there is always much more to learn.

Now that you’ve completed 1st Gear you’re ready to move into the next level of training. Click on the links below to learn more about the 2nd and 3rd Gear programs. These courses will compliment your current driving knowledge and help to refine your Carma. Drive Safely!