A woman in the car with a professional driving instructor.

Could defensive driver training benefit your business?

Defensive driver training could help ensure the safety of your staff – and it can save your business money, too. Here’s what’s involved.

By Shell on Apr. 14, 2022

According to Safe Work Australia (SWA), vehicle incidents have become the biggest contributor to work-related fatalities. The SWA 2020 report said out of 194 workers killed yearly on the job in Australia, three out of four fatalities involved a vehicle.

Getting proper defensive driver training for your staff, then, seems like common sense. As the NRMA points out, well-trained staff deliver more value to your business, with reduced expenditure due to fewer incidents of property damage, personal injury and compensation claims.

“To protect your staff and business, its crucial for vehicles to be recognised as part of the workplace if you have drivers on the road,” an NRMA spokesman said.

Lisa Skaife - the sister of racing legend Mark Skaife, who was also involved in motorsport for more than 20 years - was so concerned about the level of driving skill in this country that she helped to create an online driving simulator that could be used in schools.

“The fact is, most of us are taught to drive by our parents, who pass on 20 or 30 years of bad habits, and it’s quite clear that incompetent teachers make bad drivers,” Skaife insists.

If your employees are bringing those bad habits to work, and their role involves a lot of driving, it makes sense to get them involved in driver training.

“No matter how good a driver you think you are, everybody will learn something if they go and have some professional driver training, and everyone should do it, not just once, but every few years,” Skaife says.

“It’s a chance to hone your skills, but also to find out if you have got any bad habits. And, as a bonus, it’s always just a great, fun day out.”

The NRMA is just one of many places that offers defensive driver training, not just for individuals but for employee groups.

It offers a three-hour Workshop Presentation, for groups of up to 12 employees, that covers low-risk driving strategies, braking techniques and stopping distances, and how to avoid the most common kinds of crashes.

A more involved, and hands-on, option is On Road Training, which focuses on applying and maintaining crash-avoidance space, hazard perception and risk-awareness techniques.

Lisa Skaife says the biggest thing that all motorists need to think about, and the one that would make the biggest difference to the number of road accidents, is as simple as three words: Look Further Ahead.

“Spatial awareness and hazard detection are two of the most important things that you’re taught at a defensive-driving course. Too many people only look at the car in front of them, and they don’t leave themselves enough time to react,” Skaife explains.

“By looking further ahead, you’ll see when the vehicle three cars in front you of has started to brake, you’ll roll off the throttle, just in case, and you’ll have more time to stop if something is about to happen. It’s so simple, just looking up, but so many people don’t do it.”

Corporate Driver Training Australia is another company that provides on-site courses for groups of employees, but it says that, rather than the more commonly used term “Defensive Driving”, it provides something better: “Low Risk Driving Courses”.

CDTA’s mission statement is: “We believe the risk of collision can be reduced to almost zero,” which is a bold claim indeed, but it does offer a money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee that applies if you don’t think its courses have made you a better driver.

It also claims that 97 per cent of its graduates report that they drive differently and take fewer risks after undertaking a Low Risk Driving Course.

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.