RAA urges supervising and learner drivers to do more than the bare minimum amid alarming new crash data

23 January, 2023

Unsupervised P1 drivers are involved in more than six times the number of crashes as learner drivers, data obtained by RAA has revealed.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport data shows that in the five years to 2021, P1 drivers were involved in 5007 crashes – more than six times that of learner drivers under supervision who recorded 806 crashes.

RAA Senior Traffic Engineer Matthew Vertudaches is urging supervising and learner drivers to do more than the bare minimum number of hours required to obtain a provisional licence, to improve their driving skills and gain more experience before driving unsupervised.

“It’s alarming to see such a drastic increase in the number of crashes once new drivers move to their P1 licence and start driving unsupervised,” Mr Vertudaches said.

“The significant increase in crashes shows how important the role of a supervising driver is in preparing new drivers for life behind the wheel.

“We’d certainly recommend that learner drivers get as much experience as possible to build a solid foundation of driving skills.

“That may mean doing more than the minimum 75 hours required – especially for those learners who may lack confidence on the road.

“The data also shows that around half of intersection crashes occur at traffic lights and a quarter at Give Way signs – so it’s important for learner drivers to get as much experience as possible in those particular scenarios.

“The role of the supervising driver is also critical to ensuring that the learner is exposed to as many driving situations as possible and reinforcing what is learnt through practice.

“It evolves from keeping them safe while learning skills of vehicle control, road craft and hazard perception to progressively letting them experience a wider range of situations in which to use their skills and then refining them to the point where they become intuitive.

“The school holiday period provides an excellent opportunity for learner drives to get some additional driving experience, as well as on different roads and driving conditions.

“It’s highly important that learner drivers are exposed to challenging conditions under the guidance of a supervising driver, rather than first encountering them under P1 conditions.

“Some of these conditions include night driving, wet weather driving, country and high-speed driving, driving on unsealed roads, and driving in peak hour traffic.”

Mr Vertudaches also emphasised that to be an effective learner supervisor, it is essential that all drivers have up-to-date knowledge of all the road rules and driving practices, together with a calm and patient approach.

“Things may have changed since you learned to drive,” Mr Vertudaches said.

“The quick way to review your knowledge is to get online and complete the RAA learner quiz a few times to revise and update your knowledge.”

Downloading and reviewing the current version of The Driving Companion and the Drivers Handbook is another useful way to ensure you are familiar with all the current key aspects of driving. Copies are also available from any RAA Shop or Service SA centre.

For any questions about road rules, you can also contact RAA’s motoring Road Rules consultants on 8202 4570.