Have your driving skills deteriorated over lockdown?
Here’s how to regain your confidence behind the wheel as Victoria opens back up.
No longer confined to essential trips within 5km, Victorians are taking the opportunity to get out and about in their motor vehicles, with road traffic approaching pre-pandemic levels in the aftermath of the state’s exit from lockdown.
However, with much of the last 18 months spent at home, driving skills, discipline and patience are likely to have deteriorated, with Victoria Police calling for extra care and concentration from motorists getting back behind the wheel for long drives.
In fact, this deterioration hasn’t gone unnoticed by fellow motorists. Recent research by Ford Australia found that 56 per cent of Australian drivers felt that driving behaviour had become more unpredictable since the start of the pandemic. The confidence of Victorian drivers has also taken a hit, with 18.7 per cent of the state’s respondents admitting they felt nervous on the roads due to the behaviour of others.
RACV Policy Lead - Safety, Elvira Lazar, said it was important for Victorians to exercise caution as they begin to travel further in their vehicles, including interstate trips.
“It’s an exciting time for Victorians, but we do need to be mindful of anticipated increases in traffic and congestion – we’re urging drivers to plan ahead, stay alert and have patience with each other,” Lazar said.
Regaining good driving habits
RACV Driver Training Operations Manager, Lydia Kendray says that it’s normal for people to be rusty and lacking confidence on the road after long stints of lockdown.
“Driving is like any other skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Habits that keep us and others safe like head checks, scanning roadside to identify potential hazards, and using indicators, can quickly go from being second nature to momentarily forgotten.”
“If something unexpected does happen on the roads, things like Comprehensive Car Insurance and Emergency Roadside Assistance are crucial. However, there are several things you can do to sharpen up your driving skills post-lockdown – whether you’ve been driving for decades, or are a new licence holder,” she adds.