Johannesburg - Each year about 14 000 drivers, passengers and pedestrians die on South African roads, the equivalent to a Boeing 747 full of passengers crashing every 10 days.
Human error is the cause of more than 80 percent of the collisions, and in the absence of effective law enforcement by traffic authorities (with their main focus on money-generating speed traps) it’s up to us as road users to improve our skills and, just as importantly, our attitudes behind the wheel.
While the K53 driving test is a basic starting point, advanced driving skills are becoming a necessity for survival on our roads, and there are several advanced driving schools that teach car-control and defensive-driving skills that reduce the chances of being involved in a crash.
Under the tuition of expert trainers the courses teach life-saving vehicle handling skills in a safe and controlled environment, while a reputable insurance company may also reward your efforts by decreasing your premium.
Here’s a shortlist of some of the advanced driving schools in Gauteng:
Yokohama Driving Dynamics
Offers advanced and defensive driving courses teaching aspects such as correct seating position, cornering, emergency-lane changing. Based at the Gerotek test centre near Pretoria, the one-day course costs R2 052 per person including lunch and the school supplies a range of Opels to drive. Contact them on 011-431-2000
This program is headed by Dave Johnston, widely referred to as Mr Advanced Driver in South Africa. He is one of only a few Defensive Driving Instructors that are competent in light-motor-vehicle driver training, heavy-duty as well as motorcycling. Course fees are given on application depending on location. Contact Dave on 083-226-6781 or visit the Advanced Driver website.
They offer various courses including Defensive Driving, a three-module course costing R1 675 where participants use their own vehicles. Based in Meyersdal, Alberton, they can be contacted on 011-867-4778, or visit the MasterDrive website.
Zwartkops Driver Training
Based at the Zwartkops racetrack near Pretoria, the One-Day Defensive Driving Course teaches you how to handle your car in emergency situations using your own vehicle, and costs R1690. Call 012-384-2302 or visit the Zwartkops Driver Training website.
Run by road-safety expert Rob Handfield-Jones, the Defensive Driving course costs R1675. It includes an on-road practical training session followed by a self-study theory DVD with self-practise, and a final on-road practical test - all in your own vehicle. Contact 087-721-4775 or visit the Driving.co.za website.
BMW Driving Experience
Based at the Zwartkops circuit near Pretoria, it offers various courses including Defensive Driving (R1320 per person), Collision Avoidance and Skid Control (R1150), and an Advanced High Performance course (R3190). BMW provides the vehicles and lunch is included. Contact 0861-269-374 or visit the BMW Driving Experience website.
Mercedes-Benz Dynamic Driving
Several courses are offered including Defensive (R495), Skidpan (R1800), and Track (R2600), depending on your level of skill. Courses are held at Zwartkops Raceway, Kyalami racetrack or the Gerotek Test facility. With most courses you have the option of driving your own vehicle or one of the school’s Mercedes-Benzes. Contact 012-384-2298 or visit the Mercedes-Benz Dynamic Driving website.
Volkswagen Driving Academy
Located at Kyalami, the academy offers various courses including a one-day Defensive Driving, Skidpan and Hijack Prevention course for R1596. For course bookings or enquires please contact 011-466-9127 or email Volkswagen Driving Academy.
Toyota Advanced Driving
While the head office is in Gauteng, courses are carried out nationwide.Toyota’s driving academy has a number of courses including Defensive Driving (R2365), Advanced 4x4 (R1950) and Gravel Training (R2365). For more information contact Von Krause on 011-467-4040 or email Toyota Advanced Driving.