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Advanced driving courses – the best fun you’ll have on four wheels

“Drive into the gap, not around the object.”

It’s a piece of advice that’s saved me on the road many times in the 20-odd years since I took part in a defensive driving course run by former racing driver Ian Luff at Sydney’s Oran Park Raceway.

The racetrack is a distant memory (it’s now a new housing estate) but “Luffie” and his team continue to teach road survival skills “up the road” at Eastern Creek Dragway. “Advanced” or “defensive” driving courses were few and far between two decades ago, with the former V8 driver one of the industry’s pioneers. These days a quick Google search will turn up a plethora of schools across the country – and according to Luffie, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


There’s more to driving than mastering 3-point turns

“Unfortunately, we’ve got a world full of people who were taught to drive by their mum or dad and THEY were taught to drive by their mum and dad,” he says. “They can do some really basic stuff and if they keep their points no one talks to them again until they’re in their 80s.”

And therein lies the danger. “Speed doesn’t kill. Impact kills.” Ian says. “Water doesn’t kill people, it’s the lack of being water-wise and not knowing how to swim. So speed is not the problem. It’s management of speed.” As Ian points out, hurtling around the track at Bathurst didn’t kill him – because he knew how to manage the speed and avoid an impact.


A matter of attitude

“That’s where teaching a defensive attitude can help,” he stresses. “People have to be taught emergency procedures. If you want to know how to drive to survive you have to be better equipped and have the knowledge you need to survive n the road. In our training programs we talk about mindset. If you’re driving down the road planning what you’re going to cook for dinner, then you’re an accident waiting to happen.”

It may sound serious, and it is, but an advanced or driver training course is the best fun you’ll have on four wheels. There’s a few hours in the classroom learning the hows and whys, then some huge excitement on the track as you put what you’ve learned into practice. It’s something I’ll sign my kids up for when they’re old enough to drive and definitely something I’d do again in an adrenaline pumping heartbeat.




Drive to Survive programs are designed to improve driver behaviour as well as developing existing skills, increasing a driver’s knowledge and awareness. Founder Ian Luff has been a driver education pioneer since 1972 and is considered the leader in the Driver Education industry, having trained over 150,000 individuals. Based on his successful post-license driver training strategies, Drive to Survive programs are structured to suit any driver irrespective of experience or age. Programs are run nationally and internationally for everyday drivers, corporate fleet and Government departments in line with Occupational Health and Safety requirements.

No matter how safe your driving is, it’s important to ensure your vehicle is covered in case of unforeseen events. Home Loans has partnered with QBE to offer a range of motor vehicle insurance options. There are a number of ways to save money on your cover, including: choice of excess, multi policy discount and a no claim bonus of up to 60%.

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.