Launch of the MONROE Advanced Driving Academy
I was recently invited to attend the launch of the Monroe Advanced Driving Academy at Gerotek, near Pretoria. As the Chairperson of Women in Road Safety, I’m intensely aware of the need for driver training in South Africa and believe that it’s vital to equip young drivers, in particular, with the survival skills required to stay alive on our roads.
Monroe South Africa is a long term supporter of local road safety initiatives, and their driving academy is a logical step towards their goal of improved road safety. The Academy covers all the important areas of driver training at a significantly lower cost than most of the courses on offer, making it affordable to many more drivers.
I “adopted” a friend’s 20 year old son for the day and headed out to Gerotek to experience the course through his eyes. Marco’s dad is a well-known racing driver, and Marco himself is no slouch in a kart, so I was interested to hear his feedback.
The day began with a solid, informative lecture session, presented by Vic Rich from the Academy. Vic presented us with some of the shocking statistics relating to our road safety (or lack of it): for example, based on 2010/2011 statistics, almost 14,000 people lost their lives on our roads during that period. That’s the equivalent of a full Boeing 747 crashing every 10 days!
I was pleased to see that Vic included some fairly graphic inserts featuring common young driver habits, such as texting and driving. So many road safety initiatives are aimed at parents and families, but I do think it’s equally crucial to develop programs that specifically target young people. They are the future parents who will carry the road safety message into the next generation.
From the lecture room, we moved on to the very visual braking demonstrations, always an eye opener for the first time student. Very few participants were able to accurately guess just how many metres an ABS equipped car needs to come to a halt, let alone one without ABS. This section also included obstacle avoidance exercises.
Gerotek’s aquaplane track allows instructors to replicate an actual aquaplane situation. The young drivers were able to experience the resulting lack of control first hand, and then repeat the exercise applying the skills we were shown. This is a really good exercise, as spectators can see and understand exactly what a car does when it aquaplanes before tackling the practical work.
The group then decamped to the skidpan, where we were equipped with the skills needed to deal with wet surfaces and the hazards of oversteer. Our weapons of choice for the day were all front wheel drive derivatives, a sensible choice for most young drivers, and even I learned a few tricks in this section!
The verdict? Despite Marco’s background, he felt he learned a lot from the course and would be a better and more aware driver in future. Bearing in mind that the launch featured a shortened and simplified version of the actual training course, his feedback indicates that Monroe is definitely on the right track with this initiative.
For more information on the Monroe Advanced Driving Academy, contact Alicia Knoetze:
Office: 012-753-7477 Cell: 081-013-1224 Email: [email protected]