Driving course sharpens skill

Dear Morgan

Somebody I work with has been on a driver-training and safety course. He said this was a very good thing. My personal experience with car-hijacking has made me a nervous driver, but it was recommended to me that a driver-training and safety course might help overcome my fears. Can you please advise me?

- Brenda, Woodmead

Dear Brenda

Firstly, I hope you have gone for trauma counselling following your experience. Irrespective of any driver and safety-training, the psychological impact of a hijacking is huge, and not something you can cure, or forget with a training course.

There are a number of different advanced driving courses that cover everything from hijack-prevention to high-performance driving and so-called defensive driving tactics.

I believe it's essential that every driver go on such a course at least once every two years - it keeps the senses sharp.

The whole point of such courses is to help you understand your vehicle better so that you will be able to keep it under control in any situation, be it handling your car in wet weather, or high-speed driving.

Any course you attend should have qualified training instructors who will give you a mix of theory and practical information to allow you to become a better and safer driver.

The good thing about these courses is that you could tailor them to suit your needs. Subject matter ranges from hijack-prevention to skid-pan driving, steering technique, understanding safety features on a vehicle and developing a greater awareness out on the open road.

There are also a number of options for you to choose from, some not so good, so be careful. BMW Driver Training has a number of courses that would suit your needs and operates out of the Kyalami Race Track. Prices range between R400 and R1700 a course.

The Mercedes Benz Dynamic Driving School operates about 12 driving courses every month, which include a qualified instructor performing an analysis of your driving skills. There is a focus on improving your reaction time and knowing what to do in the event of a skid or collision.

These are full-day courses and include meals.

Audi also has a high-performance course, while sister brand Volkswagen operates the VW Driving Academy.

Mazda also launched its own unique advanced driver-training programme, which is offered free of charge to anyone who buys a high-performance Mazda car.