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Swerving around Symmons Plains all part of safety drive

A group of Environment Division staff spent part of last week testing themselves behind the wheel on the same track as Australia’s V8 Supercars stars with the blessing of their managers.

Clare Lond-Caulk, Sarah Richards, Jane Rapkins, Rosemary Holness, David Mitchell, Gary Brown and Ellis Cox all took part in a ‘Drive to Survive’ defensive driving course at Symmons Plains Raceway.

"The OH&S risk assessment process identified driving as the major hazard for Environment Division staff so our supervisors encouraged those travelling long distances to undertake some form of training," Rosemary Holness said.

The John Bowe Institute of Driving ran the course, which covered emergency avoidance action, braking skills, skid control, correct seating, mirror positioning, tyre pressures, entering and exiting intersections and roundabouts, managing fatigue and appropriate driver attitude.

There were theory and practical sessions using fleet vehicles to practice emergency braking and swerving at speeds of 60 to 70 kilometres an hour.

The group had more than 160 years driving experience but all participants found the course extremely helpful.

"Getting an opportunity to use the fleet cars in a dynamic emergency situation and obtain a better understanding of their safety features was probably the best aspect of the training," Rosemary said.

The course is designed to help drivers avoid getting into trouble and recognise the skills they can use if they get into trouble.

"The course was fantastic. It was so useful to be able to practice braking and swerving. I really noticed an improvement in my (driving) vision and planning after the course"

The group is now booked in for the Advanced Driving Course which involves exercises conducted at highway speeds as an important second step in becoming better and safer drivers.