HUNDREDS of year 11 students from around the district will visit Towac Park this week but by the time they depart racing should be the last thing on their minds.
The track is the venue for the annual Rotary Youth Driving Awareness program and its aim is to show them some of the consequences of poor decision making while driving.
There are also opportunities to ride in cars driven by police officers and experience the progressive loss of control of a vehicle as speed increases.
The day-long sessions are a powerful learning tool which challenge young drivers, many of them still on their L plates, to test their judgement about stopping distances or the consequences of a momentary distraction.
The exercises usually show that in the absence of experience their judgement is frequently wrong.
This should come as no surprise, as with all skills, experience is the only way to hone one’s judgement.
The aim of the awareness program of course is to let young drivers experience situations they could encounter on the road in a controlled environment.
Armed with experience gained in the course, more of them are likely to appreciate the wisdom of leaving a safe braking distance from the car in front or focusing on the traffic ahead rather than a mobile phone screen.
The day comes to a climax with an address from a crash survivor whose life has been changed forever as the result of a road accident.
The course is a challenging and interesting one for students. Its merits in preparing young drivers for their responsibilities behind the wheel are reflected in the enormous support from local schools.
Of all the work Rotary does for the community the youth driving program is among its most important.