New drivers are more educated than older drivers when it comes to rules of the road; this according to some of the leading driving instructors in Saint Lucia, many of whom have worked in the profession for years. Hardly a shocking revelation considering the changes that have taken place over time as educational advancements have been made in all fronts, including in the transportation arena. Cars have been changed and modernized, and so have rules regarding road usage as roads too have been expanded over the years.
Instructors today would even tell you that it is now harder than ever before to pass a practical driving examination. Most people fail once, some twice… and others never quite seem to get it right. Focus is paramount when it comes to driving, and not everyone is able to master the skill. Even with the possibility of learning and undergoing an examination with an automatic vehicle, some people still find themselves left by the wayside.
Most eventually pass both theory and practical tests required to drive a vehicle legally in this land. Considering the statistics concerning new drivers and road accidents, it is safe to say nearly everyone tries to take it easy that first year. No one wants problems when trying to renew their license or insurance policy. Before renewing their license after the first year however, all new drivers are required to take the Defensive Driving course offered at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. It is relatively new, and as such, the majority of older drivers would not have taken this course. Far beyond scaring new drivers with graphic accident videos and statistics, Defensive Driving courses are an effective way to educate new drivers about the real life dangers of the road through the sharing of authentic experiences. It is also a way to show them that seemingly small mistakes made on the road can not only prove fatal for themselves or others, but can have ripple effects on society through the victims impacted.
Within the Defensive Driving course available locally, drivers learn about the difference between accidents and collisions (preventable, versus truly uncontrollable), how to reduce driver risk by anticipating situations, how to keep oneself and passengers safe, and how to get out of compromising situations when they arise. As it relates to accidents and collisions, all drivers would benefit from the knowledge that most of these can be prevented, which would mean that we are wasting our own time sitting in traffic as a result of fender benders, which are in most cases our own fault.
Other areas discussed as part of the Defensive Driving course include things to avoid including texting and driving, Benefits of Car Seats for babies and minors, and Right of Way versus Priority, which is a subject matter that many Saint Lucian drivers would benefit from considering the number of stand offs experienced on local roadways regularly. Consider the amount of time that would be saved if people spent less time trying to be right, and more trying to be considerate!
Teaching people to drive is no easy task, and our local instructors should be commended for their patience and diligence.
The Defensive Driving course in itself is far underrated, and more drivers (even those who consider themselves experienced) should take advantage of it.
It has always been said that if a person can drive in Saint Lucia, they can drive anywhere. When used, the sentiment is hardly ever positive, but that is not to say that we cannot make a change today, to give it more positive roots, as we all unlearn some of our selfish ways on the road, and relearn what it means to be a considerate driver.