The Road Ahead : October November 2008
features Young drivers are making the transition to the second stage of provisional licences. count PERCEPTIONS are making the transition to the second stage of provisional licences. STORY BELINDA PETERS PHOTO STUART RILEY regular events on our roads; a car drifts into another lane without warning, traffi c stops abruptly up ahead or an animal scurries onto the road. The decisions drivers make when confronted with the unexpected can often be the difference between a having a collision and driving on unscathed. Although skills in hazard perception can be taught, in most cases it’s experience on the road that U nexpected hazards are builds a driver’s ability to recognise potential problems and take appropriate action. Equipping our young drivers with more on-road experience was one of the key aims of the Queensland Government’s new graduated licensing system introduced in July last year. Now more than a year on, and with many P1 drivers eligible to move on to P2 status, Queensland Transport has introduced an online Hazard Perception Test which P1 drivers must pass before they can move onto their P2 or open licence. The Hazard Perception Test is an online examination that measures the driver’s ability to recognise and appropriately respond to potentially dangerous situations while driving. The test consists of a series of short video clips of real traffi c footage taken from the driver’s perspective. The provisional driver is then required to 12 OCT/NOV 08 quickly identify potential traffi c confl icts in the clips that would require the driver to take action. The earlier the driver recognises the confl ict by clicking their mouse on the road user involved, the higher their score will be. P1 drivers can take the test after holding their licence for 10½ months, giving them time to pass the test before they are eligible to upgrade their licence at 12 months. Those 23 and younger when they got their P1 licence will need to pass the test to progress to their P2 licence, those over 23 will progress to an open licence. RACQ’s executive manager traffi c & safety, John Wikman, said he welcomed the introduction of the test and felt that it would adequately assess provisional drivers’ awareness of hazards. “The RACQ has always been in favour of the addition of an assessing tool in the provisional stage,” Mr Wikman said. Provisional drivers must pass the online Hazard Perception Test to progress their licence status. “It makes sense that when the driver moves on to the P2 level and some licence restrictions are removed, that they should be required to display some recognition of the skills needed to be a safe driver.” RACQ’s executive manager driver education, Scott Lewin, also welcomed the test’s introduction. He said that all drivers could improve their hazard perception skills on the road by being more actively aware of what’s happening around them. “Advanced hazard perception skills come with experience and knowledge of what to expect on the road and from other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” Mr Lewin said. “However, keeping an eye on the road, staying a safe distance from the car in front and being aware of road users around you by making good use of your mirrors is a good starting point.
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