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Students Learn Driving Survival Skills

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Forty Nanango State High School students - and their teachers - spent Tuesday at the Willowbank Training Centre to learn how to drive safely on the South Burnett's roads

June 23, 2017

Nanango State High School students learned a very valuable life lesson this week: how to survive on the South Burnett’s roads.

On Tuesday, thirty-eight year 12 students and two Year 11 students who all hold learner’s or early provisional driving licence permits took a day off from the classroom to attend a special driver education course at Willowbank in Brisbane.

The students and their teachers boarded a bus in Nanango at a very chilly 5:30am in order to arrive at the Willowbank Safe Drive Training Centre around 8:15am.

From there, the students spent the day getting instruction from the Training Centre’s expert drivers, then got the opportunity to put what they’d just learned indoors into practice on the driver training tracks.

Teacher Sheryl Wolski was full of praise for the course, and for Nanango’s Heritage Community Branch who have sponsored the high school students’ participation since 2006.

“This is a terrific course for our students,” Sheryl said.

“They get to learn how to drive safely in a variety of situations they’re likely to encounter in real life, but without any of the risks.”

This included driving on wet roads and gravel roads, and how to manouver around different objects.

“They also get to drive a variety of cars, which is just as important because all cars are different, and find out things like the difference between ABS and non-ABS braking systems and the right sort of techniques to use with each type.”

Sheryl said the Training Centre’s teachers were all experts – some even race at Willowbank in their off-duty hours – and they were able to provide the students with an informative but practical course that could one day wind up saving their lives.

After a long day of driving around the Willowbank tracks, the students finally made it back to Nanango about 6:00pm on Tuesday night.

Jane Hodgkinson, from the Heritage Nanango Community Fund, said the bank was very proud to sponsor the students.

“Heritage Community Branch have been sponsoring the driver training for senior students at Nanango State High School for the past twelve years,” Jane said.

“Our total commitment over this time has been about $55,000, but we think it’s a sound investment.”

The bank is also keen to see other South Burnett drivers be safer on the roads, too.

Last October, Heritage Community Branch sponsored a public talk by former Nanango Officer In Charge Jason Newton for adult drivers about road rules and general safety issues that most guests found very enlightening.

The talk explained why police target the Fatal Five (ie speeding, drink and drug driving, fatigue, seat belts and distraction) so strongly, and the appalling number of accidents these things are known to cause.

For the past two years, the bank has also sponsored “Project Sober Roads” in the run-up to Christmas, in conjunction with Nanango Police and the Nanango Men’s Shed.

Project Sober Roads rewards drivers pulled over for a random breath test in the run-up to Christmas who blow 0.0 the chance to win one of four $200 shopping vouchers that can be redeemed at Nanango businesses.

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[Photos: Sheryl Wolski]

Before they got out on the track, the students received some eye-opening lessons on road safety issues - anything from different braking distances at different speeds to stupid behaviours they should studiously avoid

Later, out on the track, they got to practice what they'd just learned over a number of different courses ...

... and try a number of different vehicles, some with ABS braking systems and some without

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One Response to Students Learn Driving Survival Skills

  1. Robert Head

    What a great report for a very worthwhile need in the community. Congratulations to the board of Heritage Nanango Community Branch for funding it. The first course was held in September 2006 for Nanango residents and students. It was held on a Saturday and very few students participated. After a number of years director Graham Archdall suggested the day be changed to a school day and numbers grew as it was seen by students as a day off school.

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