Goodyear works together with driving schools to improve safety of young motorists
Training to build expertise and address those areas where youngsters feel less confident
Goodyear aims to help drivers feel good on the road, trusting both their tyres and their own capabilities enough to relax and enjoy their journeys. The company collaborates with driving professionals – in South Africa with the Volkswagen Driving Academy and the Goodyear 4×4 Academy, and in Europe with the European Driving Schools Association (EFA) – to raise awareness for safe driving amongst youngsters and address inadequate training where necessary.
This joint co-operation to improve driver safety has been in place for some years already, but has been given additional impetus on the back of Goodyear’s 2012 Young Drivers Road Safety Survey. This extensive piece of research spanned 16 markets (15 European countries and, for the first time, South Africa) and probed the behaviour and beliefs of drivers under the age of 25.
The survey provided interesting – and sometimes shocking – insight into the attitudes of youth on the road and revealed a need for further training and support in several areas. It investigated not just the driving habits of under-25s, but how they are linked to training, their general worries, their knowledge and their relationship with their cars. Some of the most shocking findings from South African respondents may help to shed light on the country’s tragically high accident rate:
- o SA youngsters came in by far the highest for driving after having consumed alcohol (45% compared to a global 20%)
- o They also scored highest in several other misbehaviours, including speeding up to make it through an orange traffic light (83% vs 73% global average) and weaving from lane to lane in order to get ahead (48% vs 28% global average)
- o They emerged amongst the top users of phones without headsets (61% vs global 44%) and are similarly far more likely to use their smart phones for sending text messages, checking social networks and so on while driving (65% vs global 41%)
- o They ranked second highest (79% vs global 66%) to Polish (81%) for speeding, but topped the charts at disobeying traffic signals or signs (62% vs global 39%)
- o South Africans are, in many instances, the most anxious generally, with 78% of respondents, for example, worried about breaking down in an unsafe area (compared to 45% globally) and 71% afraid of being hi-jacked (38% globally).
- o This anxiety, it may be argued, is one of the reasons why South Africans are more likely than average to make mistakes while driving and to lose their temper. They are more aggressive than average on the road and are the most likely to make obscene hand gestures.
On the plus side, young South Africans are particularly tyre savvy and scored highest in the study for being the most thorough about checking their tyres’ pressure regularly (81% vs global average 68%). They also scored higher than most for regularly checking their tread depth to ensure their tyres are not too worn (73% vs global average 66%)%), despite not having been taught to do so during their driver training (50% vs global average 45%). Even fewer were taught how to change a flat tyre (only 23% with the global average 20%).
LET’S DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Goodyear has released these and other detailed findings from the survey over recent weeks. The valuable data will further help the company and its driver training partners to identify the areas in which greater awareness and education is required.
“Goodyear has extensive knowledge of many aspects of road safety. It is important for us to be able to share these insights with the very people who are responsible for driving education, and we look forward to being able to deliver targeted information that can help to develop our youth into more confident and safer drivers,” said Lize Hayward, Goodyear Group Brand Communications Manager.
“With safety at the core of our tradition, Goodyear works with the Volkswagen Driving Academy and Goodyear 4×4 Academy in South Africa, and with the EFA in Europe, to provide young people with more training on driving safely and responsibly, as well as ensuring optimal knowledge and maintenance of their cars and tyres.
“South Africans experience road situations that are very specific to our society as well as our road conditions. The VWDA’s hi-jack prevention programme, for example, boosts security awareness on the road and equips people to handle such situations in the safest way possible. They also teach emergency manoeuvres – so important with our many potholed roads and high number of pedestrians – as well as techniques for safe driving in the dark.
“The Goodyear 4×4 Academy, which operates from Klipbokkop Mountain Resort in the Western Cape, specialises in safe off-road training on a wide variety of terrains. This is an element of driving that hardly affects European young drivers but is a common demand on our own youngsters. They need to know that they cannot simply head for the hills or go speeding onto gravel without proper knowledge of how differently tyres and vehicles perform off tar.
“Goodyear is the sole supplier of tyre products to the VWDA’s fleet of Volkswagen Golfs, Touregs and Amaroks, and to the Goodyear 4×4 Academy’s fleet of Toyota Hilux Raiders. Both driving academies offer world class training and Goodyear is proud to partner with them. Working together, we can improve the quality of South African driving and help everyone to feel good on our roads.”