• address Kaye Street, PO Box 138, Charlton 3525
  • phone (03) 5491 1593 or John Harley 0418 529 718
  • email jharley@bigpond.com

The driver centre was officially opened on 15th May 1988 with the intention of teaching pre driver education to as many students in the area as possible.

The track is 1.7 km long, 800 metres sealed road and the rest gravel. It features operating traffic lights, pedestrian crossing, hill crest, a roundabout, divided roads, stop and give way signs, angle and parallel parking bays and facilities for U and three point turns and overtaking.

Four Toyota Corolla vehicles are used, two automatic and two manual.

The normal program is for six students to share a car, with half in the car and the other half in the theory room for approximately 45 minutes, then the groups swap over. Up to 24 students can be accommodated at a time.

Whilst in the car students learn correct adjustments of all controls, steering techniques, correct road positioning, turns, correct roundabout usage, reversing, angle and parallel parking, U turns, three point turns, hill starts, gear changing and overtaking as well as the vital importance of having good observation at all times when driving.

In the theory room subjects covered include speed, alcohol/drugs, aggression, fatigue, peer group pressure, intersection and basic road rules. Students are taught the very basics of how to drive a vehicle in a safe and predictable manner. They are taught how to drive “systematically” (a set order of doing things), and how to develop “good observation” so they are in a position to take evasive action if needed.

The main aim is to give these 15-16 olds a “solid foundation” on which to build the rest of their driving experiences.

Over the years it has been found to be very beneficial to teach teenagers the correct way to drive before they obtain their L’s; this not only makes them safer on the roads (and therefore safer for other licensed drivers), but also takes away the initial stress from the parents, because the student drivers know how they should drive and also why it should be done that way.

In excess of 800 students per year complete the program, coming from a wide radius including Ararat, Horsham, Kaniva, Swan Hill, Balranald, Deniliquin, Echuca, Bendigo, Kyneton, Gisborne, Daylesford, Caroline Springs and Ballarat.