ONE way to assess the skill level of a driver is to ask who taught him or her.
“A simple question would be ‘who taught you how to drive?’” said Jean Pierre “JP” Tuason, the head and founder of Tuason Racing School (TRS) and Tuason Racing Drive Experience.
Surprisingly, according to him, about 90 percent of drivers on the road got their driving education from family members or friends who in turn got their education also from family members or friends.
“The point I am saying or I’m trying to make is the people we go out with and teach are people who have learned from information that has been passed from generation to generation,” Tuason said.
He warned that driver training based on information passed on from the generation of one’s grandparents or even great grandparents is no longer applicable today.
“So it’s no longer applicable with the cars that we are using everyday now, because the technology has changed, the roads have changed the speeds are much higher and because of these, if you try to drive a car the way we used to drive them, you get into an accident,” Tuason said.
Realizing the need for defensive driving and road safety training, Tuason embarked in 2003 to hold trainings for corporate clients on how to make their drivers accident-free.
“What we do with road safety is innovative for the Philippines simply because there isn’t a lot of education being done on driver training in terms of road safety,” he said.
Tuason noted that an old rule that is still taught to drivers is the following distance that is based on vehicle length.
“We hear anything from one-car to five-car distance,” he said.
With today’s motoring environment, according to Tuason, the three-second rule should be observed as the following distance from the vehicle in front. That rule is based on international standards.
“What’s the three-second rule? When the car in front of you passes an object that’s not moving like a road marking or a post at the side of the road, you count one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three before you pass the same object,” he said.
Tuason added that the three-second rule works at every speed because the faster a vehicle goes, the farther the vehicle in front will be.
The three-second rule is also based on the premise that when an obstacle suddenly appears before a vehicle, the driver usually gets stunned and does nothing in the first second. So the three-second rule gives a buffer of two seconds for the driver to hit the brake pedal and stop the car.
And when it’s dark and the weather is not fair, Tuason advises adding one or two seconds to the three-second time frame.
The three-second rule is among the many things that he teaches drivers to educate them on defensive driving and road safety.
Tuason offers four types of driver training programs for corporate clients that can include seminars, actual hands-on training, and assessment of driving skills.
“So we take people out of their comfort zone, let them try things that they are not used to, and then hopefully arm them with information so if they get into trouble [when driving], they’ll know what to do,” he said.