South Australia’s peak motoring body is urging learner drivers to make the most of the remaining wet and wintery conditions in August to get more practice driving in all weather conditions.
The call comes on the back of data showing that there has already been 42 drivers holding a provisional licence seriously injured – compared with 44 for all of 2022 – as well as eleven lives lost.
P1 car drivers have been involved in more than 6 times the number of crashes than learner car drivers, based on state government data analysed by RAA over the 2018-2022 period.
P1 drivers represented a higher involvement in collisions with other vehicles and fixed objects at roundabouts, suggesting that navigating roundabouts may present as more challenging for less experienced drivers.
RAA’s Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the number of P1 crashes this year was alarming and teaching learner drivers in all conditions could help save lives on our roads.
“Especially during winter, motorists have different challenges each day including fog, dull lighting conditions and heavy rain,” Mr Mountain said.
“It can be overwhelming responding to these conditions if young drivers have not had previous exposure.
“Our analysis reveals that two-thirds of P1 car drivers that were involved in crashes were the sole occupants.
“That’s why it’s so important learner drivers get that experience before they go it alone on their provisional licence.
“It’s extremely beneficial for learners to experience difficult situations with a supervised driver to provide tips and importantly, discuss with the learner driver any concerns about the best way to negotiate some traffic conditions.
“Throughout the state, there are some challenging winding country roads with limited overtaking opportunities in addition to unsealed roads, making driving more difficult.”
Mr Mountain said it was also important to get experience across different road conditions also includes driving on freeways where merging often presents.
“It’s important to get comfortable merging onto expressways, reading the traffic and signs, and knowing when to come off the exits,” Mr Mountain said.
“Comfortable learner drivers can gain exposure on the Southern Expressway and South-Eastern Freeway, which is important to experience before driving unsupervised.”
Downloading and reviewing the current version of The Driving Companion and the Drivers Handbook is another useful way to ensure supervising drivers are familiar with all aspects of driving. Copies are available from any RAA Shop or Service SA centre.
Learner drivers are required to gain at least 75 hours of supervised driving experience to obtain a P1 licence, but there is currently no prerequisite for driving in different weather and road conditions other than a minimum of 15 hours of night driving.
For any questions about road rules, contact RAA’s Road Safety team on 8202 4570.