Crash courses for drivers in how to deal with accidents

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The Independent Online

Novice drivers are to be given special "crash lessons" for the first time to increase their chance of surviving serious car accidents.

The move follows warnings from experts that an overhaul of driving techniques is needed so that motorists can cope on Britain's hazardous roads.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) plans to carry out a review of existing training for learners. This is expected to lead to changes in the driving test, including the adoption of methods already used by the police, such as brake drills, effective skidding and awareness of stress on driving performance.

As many as 10 drivers are killed every day in collisions and traffic has increased nearly threefold over the past 30 years. Police say that more accidents are the result of drivers panicking behind the wheel.

This is supported by a major new study published this week which will reveal that nine out of every 10 accidents are caused by poorly trained drivers who have been given inadequate training in how to overcome their anxiety when they lose control of their vehicle.

The report by motoring experts reveals that drivers who are involved in a crash become fixated with road signs, pedestrians and trees.

Instead of looking for a safe exit for their vehicle, they end up crashing into other obstacles nearby and slamming on the brakes, which causes the wheels to lock and the driver to lose control of the car. However, survival rates for motorists rise by up to 70 per cent after specialist training, including how to pump the brakes to avoid wheel lock.

The DSA said that car drivers are taught only basic skills and that instructors focus on how to avoid accidents rather than how to deal with them.