A few weeks ago the MrMe and I headed off down to Melbourne to checkout the AAMI Skilled Drivers course for the under twenty-fives. You might have seen the ad on the telly? The one where the snooty looking middle-aged woman looks across to her daughter in the passenger seat and sees a younger, wilder (and funnier) version of herself playing up in the car beside them.
Sadly, if I’m honest here, I’m probably a closer fit with the middle-aged women these day. (I tell myself I’m still partying on the inside – so it’s okay.) But on a serious note road safety is important to me. I have three young girls who will all be getting their licences in the years to come and that means I have a vested interested. I’m also personally aware of how dangerous the road can be for young drivers. I lost my nineteen year old sister to road trauma in my own teenage years – and that’s something that stays with you. Always.
Needless to say when the MrMe and I rocked on up to the AAMI driver training session in my mother’s Toyota Yaris we stood out a tad. (But at least we had the presence of mind to ditch the seven seater Klugar before we got there.) Thankfully the group of under twenty-fivers there on the day were very gracious about our greying hair and atrocious addiction to 80s music – thanks guys.
Let me start by telling you I think this course is amazing. I’ve already told my girls they’ll be needing to do it as soon as they’re let loose on the road behind the wheel of a car. (The five-year old was very excited about this and has told me a couple of times already not to forget to book her in!) It’s all about broadening the mindset of young drivers and helping them understand why exactly the percentages of lives lost in their age group is so high. (In the 15-24 year age group car accidents is the most common cause of death and the risk of having an accident is 3-4 times greater in the 18-25 year old age bracket – very sobering facts indeed.)
I thought the AAMI Skilled Driver team did a great job of keeping the information relevant and engaging. The morning sessions were packed with statistics, demonstrations and discussions all aimed at getting young minds to open up and be aware of how, where and why accidents occur. I even learned a few facts myself. Did you know you can be booked for actually pulling over and talking on your mobile phone! If you’re following the letter of the law you have to take the keys out of the ignition before you can legally answer. Opps.
Then, after lunch, it’s all about learning how to drive so you don’t get yourself into a bad situation on the road. We’re talking about slamming on your brakes, tight cornering and using your driving reflexes. Sounds exciting? Well, yes it was and I really enjoyed it. But even so you don’t drive above 45kph and it’s all completely safe. An instructor sits beside each driver, in their own car, and talks them through each manoeuvre before imparting a few more pearls of wisdom about stopping distances, concentration and adequate distance between cars.
You can find out more about the AAMI Skilled Drivers Course by following this link. The course is for people under 25 and it’s free if the participants, their parent or grandparent have comprehensive motor insurance through AAMI. (Plus, AAMI provide a 10% discount on comprehensive insurance for drivers under 25 once they’ve completed the course.) Full fee payment for the non-AAMI insured customers is $190 – which in my own opinion is still a very cheap way to educate young people about road safety and skilled driving.