Wimmera drivers test The Motorvation Foundation safety initiative | Talk the Toll Down

WHAT would you say you are like behind the wheel: demure, dominant or a driveaholic?

The founders of driver safety initiative The Motorvation Foundation believe a driver’s psychology makes all the difference on the roads.

Chief instructor Geoff Fickling and training manager Jennie Hill have been developing their theory for 25 years.

He focuses on how best to train people in each category to become safer drivers; she tackles the attitudes that shape how drivers think and behave.

“We believe everyone is born into one of those three driver psychology groups,” Ms Hill said.

“A demure driver is someone who is fairly calm and cautious; a dominant driver is a risk-taker, and a driveaholic is an extreme risk-taker.

“Once you know what you’re looking for, you can tell in about 20 seconds.”

Ms Hill said each type had different needs when it came to road safety programs.

“It’s not a matter of telling them they’re right or wrong to have a particular behaviour, it’s more that they have to be able to manage which group they’re in,” she said.

“A demure driver needs to develop their driving skills - they’re lacking an understanding of how cars behave in emergencies.

“For dominant drivers, teaching them those skills can be a mistake because they are already risk-takers – it can cause them to become overconfident.”

“A demure driver is someone who is fairly calm and cautious; a dominant driver is a risk-taker, and a driveaholic is an extreme risk-taker.'' - The Motorvation Foundation training manager Jennie Hill

Twenty Federation University students took part in the Motorvation program at Wimmera Kart Racing Club in Horsham on Tuesday.

They each took a quiz that revealed their driver type.

The course included two practical components: driving with a specialist instructor, and in a simulator.

Mr Fickling said the Horsham participants were among the first to use the mobile training unit.

“It took two years to build, and we started using it about two months ago,” he said.

The training bus contains two motion simulators.

Mr Fickling said they were programmed to teach drivers how long it took a car to stop when travelling at speed, the effects of ABS braking technology and how to avoid emergency situations such as skidding.

“The simulators feel very realistic,” he said.

As the program’s training manager, Ms Hill said it was important the course instructed people to become safer drivers, but did not leave participants feeling cocky about their abilities.

“That’s the biggest problem with most youth driver training – they teach too many skills, and that teaches the drivers to become overconfident,” she said.

Ms Hill said there was a need for further tutelage in the Victorian drivers’ education system.

“We specialised in working with young drivers because they’re the most at-risk group on the roads,” she said.

“You’re not expected to learn how to be safe by practising being unsafe.” - The Motorvation Foundation training manager Jennie Hill

“Most people believe that’s due to a lack of experience, but we don’t agree.

“We think it’s because they’re not trained properly in the first place.

“While they are training for their licence, young people are really just learning the basics of driving down the road – turning corners and things like that.

“Then they get their licences and go out on the roads and we expect them to learn how to stay safe through experience.”

Ms Hill said new and learner drivers should be taught how to deal with the dangers of driving before they found themselves faced with it.

“That’s not how any other safety training works in any other field of endeavour,” she said.

“You’re not expected to learn how to be safe by practising being unsafe.”

Mr Fickling started his career as a professional driver.

Ms Hill has a background in teaching, with further qualifications in psychology and special education.

Their program is supported by Bendigo Bank and Hyundai.

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