Getting out of the way of an emergency vehicle seems a simple concept: move to the left and let it go past.
The drivers of these emergency vehicles would tell you a different story. Every emergency service person could tell you a horror story around someone not getting out of their way.
It’s not something we’re necessarily taught as learners, as we’re not exposed to it commonly on the roads. One Queensland Police officer is hoping to change that.
Senior Constable Andrew Harper of the Logan Police District has developed a program in conjunction with Norwell Motorplex on the northern Gold Coast aimed at providing instruction around how to interact with police and other emergency vehicles.
The course, which is targeted towards learner drivers, is held on a Sunday every six weeks or two months.
The idea behind the course is to expose participants to situations they wouldn’t normally face while on their L Plates – for example, being intercepted by police, pulling into a roadside breath testing site, or giving way to an emergency vehicle.
An added bonus is the fact they get to interact with police officers to see that they’re not all scary.
Participants bring their own car and supervisor, before taking part in a fifteen-minute theory talk that discusses road safety, explains some lesser-known road rules, and briefs them on how their session will run.
After the briefing they head out onto the Norwell Motorplex test track for 45 minutes of driving.
On track they will be intercepted by officers from Highway Patrol who will have a quick chat to them to discuss any worries they have, and answer any questions. The same officers will also drive “hot laps” with their lights and sirens on to allow the learners to practice giving way.
At the end of each session, a Roadside Breath Testing site is set up and participants are pulled in.
Senior Constable Harper says holding this event at a driver training facility allows police to deliver the training in a safe environment where learners don’t have to worry about any “unknowns”.
“We’re not going to throw any curveballs at them like a simulate a small child running out, or a car not giving way, as they might face in the real word,” he told CarExpert.
“We want them to focus on basic driving: maintaining speed and lane position. Here they don’t have to think about what to do at an intersection or roundabout, or doing hill starts.
“Our aim is to make urgent duty driving and intercepts safer for everyone involved.”
There is a $25 non-refundable booking fee for the Learner Drive Days which covers the cost of both the learner and their supervisor.
The next session is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, 2022. Bookings can be taken via the Norwell Motorplex website.
For those wanting more in-depth experience, Norwell offers a host of other driver training packages including a “Teen Defensive Driving Course” – a 3-hour training package, covering basic vehicle dynamics, car control, emergency braking, accident avoidance, situational and distraction awareness. Norwell will supply the vehicle so parents need not worry about wearing out or damaging the family wagon.