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Avoid the Cones!

There is a difference between what a driver can do; their performance, and what a driver chooses to do; their behaviour.

While ordinary driver training providers might be able to encourage a short-term improvement in knowledge and skills (driver performance), there is no evidence that ordinary defensive driver training has a positive effect on safety motivation (driver behaviour).

In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. A number of expertly designed and executed studies have shown advanced knowledge and skill can lead to more crashes. Most studies show that increasing knowledge and skill delivers no tangible safety benefit at all.

An English study found that driving instructors enter the industry for ‘lifestyle’ reasons. The average advanced driving instructor does not have, nor is interested in developing, the skills necessary to design, deliver or validate adult learning that aims to positively influence safety motivation.

Driver Training Australia’s 4-Ways Driver Training Model© incorporates learning experiences that deliver measurable competence in critical domains, known to enhance safety motivation.

Avoid the cones! If you’re serious about driver safety, don’t gamble with training that just doesn’t deliver; no matter what the brochure says, or how impressive the web site looks.









The 4-Ways Driver Training Model ©
Developing Competence in Critical Domains

The 4-Ways Driver Training Model© incorporates structured learning that helps drivers develop proven, strategic and measurable competency in the following critical domains.


Attitude or behaviour? It’s difficult to imagine that attitude doesn’t play an important part in road safety. The truth is that a good attitude won’t stop you from crashing if you’re too close, on the mobile phone or rushing. The only way you can be less likely to crash than average drivers is to behave differently.

Developing ‘good’ habits isn’t really enough either. Crashes are sufficiently rare for individual drivers to develop habits that seem to work in routine circumstances, but might not work when you’re taken by surprise.

Really careful drivers behave differently to ordinary drivers. They don’t go with the flow. Sometimes they need to slow down, move away or sometimes even speed up when ordinary drivers around them are on ‘auto-pilot’.

It’s not you’re attitude that makes a difference; it’s your behaviour. And the reason why we choose to change our behaviour, is because we decide to start thinking differently.


Thinking differently makes all the difference; and you can choose your thoughts. Think about this. Is it possible to drive an old car really carefully? Yes. Is it possible to drive a new car very dangerously? Yes. What’s the difference?

Well, if you think you’re more likely to be hurt in an older car, you might choose to drive more carefully. On the other hand, if you think you’re driving an ‘uncrashable’ car, you might relax and let your guard down.

Two specific thinking styles have been shown to directly affect safety motivation. The first is learnt optimism. Optimistic thinking influences our belief about how likely a crash is to happen, and how bad the consequences will be if it does. If we don’t think we will crash, we don’t sufficiently protect ourselves from known events. Developing a realistic thinking style can turn that around.

The second is externalising. Most drivers tend to rely too much on other people doing the right thing. “It wasn’t my fault”, or “There was nothing I could do”, are common remonstrations after a crash. These statements demonstrate the belief that crashes are caused by factors outside (external) to the driver’s control. Most course participants experience ‘breakthrough’ moments when they discover that almost all crashes are avoidable.

When you start to re-programme the way you think, you’ll find that your behaviour will follow. And you can do that straight away. But that’s just the beginning. Other drivers may not understand why you’re slowing for a ‘stale’ green light, leaving such a big gap in front, or simply travelling slower at night or in the rain. Some angry drivers might even seem to hate you! This is when you need special skills to manage the way you feel. 


Developing emotional intelligence is absolutely essential if you want to change your driving style permanently. It’s important learn what emotions are, and what purpose they serve. Fear is a familiar emotion that is all about survival. But people who are fearful behave in different ways. If you’re afraid or threatened, you may take flight (back off), freeze (do nothing), or face up for a fight (take an aggressive stance against the perceived offender). Fear is just one emotion; others include joy, exhilaration, superiority, anger and the drive for revenge. There are many others.

It’s critical that you prepare in advance for the range of emotions you could expect on any journey. You need to understand the triggers that initiate your emotions and have strategies in place ahead of time to mitigate and control your responses. You can learn to change the way you feel about common traffic situations.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll be a slave to your emotions. We are only human after all. When the pressure is on, or when you’re tempted to slip back into ‘auto-pilot’ it’s useful to reflect on those beliefs and values that are most important to you. Are you in alignment?


It has been said that we should, “Start with the end in mind.” How do you see yourself? How would your friends, family or colleagues describe you? How would you like to be remembered? What are the qualities you would like to have associated with your character? What will be your legacy? Do you care?

Never before have these questions been more important. And, they’ve never been asked on a road safety programme, until now.

Most models of motivation argue we seek to meet our perceived needs. Some of these are quite basic human needs like food, rest and shelter. Others are more central to the way we live our lives, the effect we have on others, and perhaps, what we leave behind.

What is your personal sense of purpose? What really matters? Is your driving aligned with these values and beliefs? Having a clear mental picture of the things that really matter to you can help resolve those challenges and conflicts that present on any journey. Knowing what you stand for can help you, “Live on Purpose, Drive on Purpose”.