M and M Driver Trainers instructor Melissa Mayers, pictured with student Jermaine Scofield, 17, talks about what distracts drivers. Photo Tegan Annett / The Observer
M and M Driver Trainers instructor Melissa Mayers, pictured with student Jermaine Scofield, 17, talks about what distracts drivers. Photo Tegan Annett / The Observer Tegan Annett

We're getting learner drivers used to in-car distractions

DRIVING instructor Melissa Mayer has seen first-hand the dangers of in car distractions.

This week is Road Safety Awareness Week and the campaign is focused around distractions that can happen inside a vehicle.

M and M Driver Trainers instructor Ms Mayer takes these distractions seriously, and says learner drivers should be used to distractions like noise and changing the radio station by the time they get their licence.

While it's not something that is tested, she said she took note of how learner drivers handle distractions.

Last year the road toll increased 11% with more than 1200 Australians killed and 30,000 people seriously injured.

"Above everything else mobile phones are a big distraction.

"Another one is friends because if the driver isn't used to noise and then they have a car full of people they can get distracted easily," she said.

She recommends her students turn their phones on silent and take it out of their sight.

Another factor that influences driver distraction is what's happening outside of the vehicle too.

"Last week I was driving at Tannum Sands and I was turning left and already there was a woman at the same intersection turning right.

"Up ahead there was a car accident and she must have been distracted by that because then she tried to get in to my lane and almost side swiped me," Ms Mayer said.

Learner driver Jermaine Scofield said he had practiced changing CDs and radio stations while driving.

"I always look ahead to see what I'm coming up to so I'm prepared and don't get distracted by what's happening outside," he said. 

Australians are being asked to do three things this Road Safety Awareness Week:

  1. Stop Driving Blind by minimising in-car distractions
  2. Display a yellow ribbon on your car to show you are a road safety advocate
  3. Signing the 2016 Road Safety Pledge to drive so others survive at http://www.sarahgroup.org/get-involved/drive-sos-pledge


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