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Driving skill can save a life - yours

Johannesburg - Each year about 14 000 drivers, passengers and pedestrians die on South African roads - that’s the equivalent of a Boeing 747 full of passengers crashing every 10 days.

Human error constitutes more than 80 percent of these collisions, and in the absence of effective law enforcement by traffic authorities (apart from 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.

Once you have learned how correct it on a skid pan, you will have a much better chance of surviving a deadly slide in real life.

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 which 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 is 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

Advanceddriver.co.za. 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.

MasterDrive. They offer various courses including Defensive Driving, a three-module course costing R1675 where participants use their own vehicles. Based in Meyersdal, Alberton, they can be contacted on 011 867 4778.

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.

Driving.co.za. 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-practice, and a final on-road practical test – all in your own vehicle. Contact 087 721 4775.

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.

Mercedes-Benz Dynamic Driving. Several courses are offered including Defensive (R495), Skid (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 doing it in your own vehicle or one of the school’s Mercedes-Benzes. Contact 012 384 2298.

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