State Forests course promotes smarter driving

09 Jan 2004

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A ‘Driving Smarter’ program is being rolled out across NSW by State Forests to raise driver awareness and reduce the risk of personal and vehicle accidents.

State Forests staff at Albury, Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba and across the Riverina are presently being put through their paces by State Forests instructors trained by veteran Australian racing car driver Mr Ian Luff.

State Forests executive general manager, Mr Peter Crowe, based at Albury said Mr Luff had taken 20 of State Forests best bush drivers and turned them into a troop of instructors to help improve the organisation’s road safety record.

“State Forests has recognised that with changes within the organisation, many staff are driving longer distances every day on a variety of road surfaces to get them to work in the bush,” he said.

“In an effort to make sure we cut down the accident rate and keep it down, State Forests has retained Ian Luff Motivation Australia to help it develop a course that can be delivered on the job to raise driving standards.”

The State Forests program is accompanied by a teaching guide and video featuring ‘Luffie’.

The program’s booklet refers to good driving, that’s smarter driving, being all about mental attitude - being fully aware of the location of the car in front, the car at your rear, the next corner and what’s coming up.

It also says that driving smarter is being fully aware of your own state of mind. Are you tired, annoyed or under pressure?

For most drivers, the “D” on the auto shift is for drive, but that’s not how Mr Luff sees it. He reckons “D” is for “dreamland”.

“That’s where most drivers go when they get behind the wheel of a car,” he said.

Mr Luff has been training racing car and family car drivers since 1972 and last year he passed on some of his skills to State Forests instructors at the Oran Park Raceway.

The instructors took their every day Toyota Hi-Lux, Holden Rodeo, Ford Courier, Subaru Forester or Toyota Prado into gut-wrenching and tyre-screeching emergency stops at 70 km/h and 80 km/h.

Every now and again a red safety hat appeared on the road to simulate a child in the way. And the stops got shorter.

“Driving a motor vehicle is probably the most hazardous thing you will ever do in your life, and your life depends on how well you do it,” Mr Luff said.

“There are simple tips we can all try to keep from crunching the fender, or worse still, some bones.”

Media contact: Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.