Speeding and Supervisors

Learner Drivers tend to increase their speed quite often, even when they are told to slow down, they will slow down for a short time, but then tend to increase it again.

Why do most young drivers speed?

Drivers of all ages speed and young drivers see this driving behavior as normal

Driving is more difficult than it looks with many different tasks needing to be done at the same time. While braking, steering, changing gears, looking out for hazards and applying the road rules, young drivers often do not notice the speed at which they are traveling. There are too many other things to worry about.

Most young people have an exaggerated opinion of their driving ability. Once they can manoeuvre a car they think they can drive well. This overconfidence in their ability leads them to believe they can control any situations that may arise.

Modern cars are built a bit like a comfy lounge – good seats, a great sound system, air conditioning, not much external noise. This quiet, comfortable ride insulates the driver from the clues that indicate the car is going fast – things like vibration and wind noise

Most journeys are made, safely and free of problems – so there are rewards for speeding. The driver gets to their destination quicker and enjoys the drive along the way, because they usually beat the odds of being in a crash or being caught for speeding, they fail to recognize the real risk of speeding.

So the bottom line is – most young drivers speed because they underestimate the risks they are exposing to themselves and others. Even when they know the odds of crashing increase when they speed, they still believe they can beat the odds. Of course, many older people think exactly the same way.

Practice Ideas for the Supervisor

Start building a sensitivity to speed well before your learner driver is eligible to drive. While they are a passenger in the front seat

Continually ask them what the speed limit is for the area you are driving in.

Have them estimate how fast you are traveling without looking at the speedometer.

Get them to judge the speed of vehicles coming towards you. Estimate or count how many seconds it will be before they pass you.

Describe and discuss how a vehicle sounds and feels as you increase or decrease in speed. Compare this with what happens if speed is increased or decreased more gradually or if you travel slower.

Talk about driving for the conditions rather than the posted speed. (For example it takes longer to come to a stop on wet roads, so drive slower than the posted speed on poor weather.)

Work out what is a safe following distance from the vehicle in front. A useful rule is the rule of the thumb, for an experienced driver is ‘at least 3 seconds’. To do this, watch the vehicle in front pass a particular marker, such as a post or tree, and count how many seconds it takes for your vehicle to pass that marker.

On the open highway, when you have to slow down as you approach a built up area, ask your learner to guess your speed. Talk about feeling like you are going really slowly, after dropping back from 100km/h to 60km/h.