V8 driver David Russell instructs Doug McVeigh (centre) and Gavin Pointing on points of safe driving.
V8 driver David Russell instructs Doug McVeigh (centre) and Gavin Pointing on points of safe driving. Chrissy Harris

Hot tips for safer driving

IT wasn’t all smoke and pedal to the metal during the CQ MotorMania event.

Benaraby Raceway became a haven for safe driving, as Joel Neilsen from Safe Drive Training and instructors undertook safety programs with Gladstone school kids.

“The aim was to raise awareness in young drivers about the dangers they can face and give them a safe place to challenge themselves,” Neilsen said.

“It’s a defensive driving course, so it’s about them learning their limits.

“There’re a lot of nutters on the roads and it’s as much about how to protect yourselves from them.”

The safe driver training was also aimed at more experienced drivers.

Gavin Pointing and Doug McVeigh, who travel about 1000kms a week in their broadcast technician roles, came away from the course with very useful tips.

Braking in a 4WD at 120km/h compared to a small Proton surprised Pointing with the distance it took to stop.

“It took about 60 metres to pull up, which was about twice as long as I thought it would take,” Pointing said.

McVeigh said he would correct his seating position in his day-to-day driving after the course.

“Setting up the rear view mirrors to get the minimum blind spots, taking into account the airbag to the seating position,” McVeigh said. Both men came away with a much better understanding of how to use the ABS system fitted to their vehicles.

“I’ve never used the ABS before... I believe these are the things learner drivers should go through to get a better appreciation of them,” McVeigh said.

David Russell, a driver for the Dick Johnson V8 Racing team, was one of the instructors.

“I put them through wet and dry emergency stops in 4WDs and smaller cars,” he said.

Cars were driven without the ABS and drivers were shown how to get out of situations.

“I think a lot of drivers got a surprise and coming from that they learnt the best technique for stopping the car,” Russell said.

“A lot of us hit the brakes as hard as we can and panic and this may not be the best way for us to stop the car in the shortest distance.”

Growing up in regional NSW, Russell knows all too well how irresponsible driving can take lives, and this is the motivation for him to be an instructor.

“I desperately wanted to make a change, and I feel very strongly the driver training aspect, does educate people not only about their vehicle but about themselves as drivers.”



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