It’s time to modernise learner driving

Written by | Advice, Features

Intern Rant Alert: Our intern Portia Cox takes the stagnant learning to drive industry head on and exclaims exactly why it needs to grow up with the rest of us. 

The government has just announced plans to make all learner drivers take a minimum of 120 hours worth of lessons before taking their test. They want to reduce the number of collisions amongst new drivers and create safer roads, but is this really a good solution? Driving lessons are not cheap, 120 hours of tuition including a test will set you back around £3000! Unless the government are going to introduce student driver loans, driverless cars really are going to take over!

We think that the stagnant driving industry needs to modernise, adapt and improve to reduce avoidable death and injury amongst young drivers.

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In today’s world, we order our takeaways on Deliveroo, call taxis on Uber, read books on our Kindles and talk to our friends on Whatsapp. Advances in technology have streamlined and adapted the way we do almost everything, so why has the antiquated system of learning to drive stayed so immune? Other auto industries such as the taxi industry have been revolutionised by apps like Uber, Gett and Hailo yet the majority of learners and instructors are learning in the same way they were a decade ago-  snooze 💤

You can spend your whole youth avoiding those killer cigarettes and recreational drug use, but with road collisions being the biggest killer of young people, the threat of untimely death waits around every corner.

 

In 2003 in the American state of Georgia, Andy Brown lost his son Joshua to one such accident. Whilst driving in very rainy conditions, Andy crashed into a tree and died. Andy attributed the untimely death to the fact that his son’s driving lessons had failed to prepare him to drive in such weather and began to lobby for the implementation of ‘Joshua’s Law’.

This piece of legislation resulted in driving simulators being placed in schools across the country. This allows teenagers to be placed in a huge variety of conditions and situations whilst driving and teaches them how to react appropriately in a way that normal driving lessons cannot. Joshua could have had that same accident over and over again via simulation until he had learnt how to correctly deal with the situation. According to statistics, Andy’s simulators save 181 young lives each year.

 

This example of modernisation and innovation in Georgia can easily be adapted. Yes, commercial driving simulators cost near to  £6000 and are most likely way our of most people’s budget but the experience can be recreated at home for a minute fraction of the price.

Virtual reality headsets, costing from £25 exploded onto the market last year and can be combined with games such as City Car Driving to create an immersive and realistic simulator. The game, costing £19.99 allows the learner to practice basic skills outside of lessons, learn traffic rules and be plunged into a variety of environments, scenarios and weather conditions.

On the smartphone, apps such as Driving in 3D, built by two driving instructors from Yorkshire, have been launched to help learners prepare for their tests. They use the latest 3D technology to bring to life more than 30 different skills and tricky to master techniques such as reversing and driving on multi-lane roads. In addition, the simulated scenarios are accompanied by voiceovers to further aid learning – all for £6.99.

This technological support also extends as far as the road, with the creation of miDrive, an educational platform which uses the latest in driving test technology to create an interactive relationship with the learner. It offers GPS tracking of the lesson routes as well as instructor lesson notes to help the learner reflect and improve. It also maintains photos, reviews and articles that can answer questions outside of lessons, alongside a FREE  theory test revision app.

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Written by Portia Cox.

Last modified: 24th January 2017

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