Embrace proactivity to be safer on roads

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DRIVERS needlessly get themselves injured (or killed) on the road, but not because they cannot drive.

Having been involved in driver development for more than 40 years, I one day “woke up” to the fact that I was missing something.

Results of training were not in line with my expectations. This resulted in traditional training methods being dumped. People could drive, so it was a waste of time to retrain them.

I realised that the majority of accidents occur due to people not applying their minds when driving. This resulted in a course to teach people proactive thinking skills. Not one in 250 trainees knew what proactivity meant.

The process was honed and fine-tuned, and people jumped on board, motivated to apply what they had learnt. The connection was made that they, no one else, were responsible (and accountable) for their lives and those of others.

The point I am emphasising is that even the K53 process overlooks the most critical skill of a wheeled vehicle operator, which is not to drive/ride, but to be able to think proactively.

Just look at the way people drive – speeding, inadequate following distances, distractions such as cellphones, no anticipation. The list is endless. And what happens when things go wrong?

Advanced blame-shifting skills set in, from warning lights and barriers at the crossing being faulty, to poor roads.

I battle to grasp how someone can “play chicken” with a train and expect to get away with it.

There is a need to sensitise all road users (and pedestrians) to the need to be proactive and give them the opportunity to become competent in this skill. By supplementing the licensing process in this regard, learner drivers will be able to relate to (and apply) proactive skills.

Schools can also play a role in teaching kids proactivity.

Given 10 years, we will see a major change on our roads and will be able to rejoice in the fact that critical issues have been addressed, lives spared and a major change in attitudes achieved.

At the current rate things will get worse, costing many lives and rand needlessly.

This paper can play a major role in sensitising people with regards to the need for applying proactivity principles when driving and I would happily assist you. Proactivity will go a long way in solving current realities.

It is not being addressed and is a major cause of current realities.

Rian Pretorius, Menlo Park


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