Drive led her into business
DRIVEN by a desire to share her knowledge of road safety with the next generation of drivers, Grafton woman Barbara Paul decided to get herself into gear and do something to rev her vision into life.
"After spending a good part of my professional career with the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) as a driving examiner, I decided I wanted to get out there and start teaching a safe way of driving one-on-one with learner drivers," she said.
"I wanted to give kids a different insight into driving lessons.
"I wanted to teach them how to stay alive on the roads so 12 months ago I opened my own driving school."
All Areas Driver Training is the newest driving school in the Clarence Valley, with an ongoing, steady increase in business that has it fast becoming one of the most popular choices for L-plate holders.
Guiding learner drivers through their practice hours with patience and dedication in a supportive and encouraging environment, All Areas Driver Training ensures students understand how to control a vehicle, respond to changing traffic conditions and understand how to remain safe while at the wheel.
"Driving skills are so important because they keep you alive on the road," Barbara said.
"It is that simple.
"Many people might not be aware of this, but the safest drivers on the road are learner drivers with a supervising adult.
"However, as soon as young drivers pass their tests and acquire their P plates, the risk of them crashing and being seriously injured or killed is 30 times higher.
"Road safety is a matter of life or death and that is vital.
"At All Areas Driver Training, the first thing I do is show my students the car they will be driving so they can familiarise themselves with the vehicle.
"I point out any blind spots to the driver; show the students where the blinkers are, how to adjust the mirrors and how to operate the car.
"I also tell young drivers to leave two hands on the steering wheel while driving.
"If you don't use two hands to drive a car, you are not in control.
"It all comes down to making yourself as safe as possible and recognising how to stay safe.
"Driving should be fun and I try to make all my driving lessons as enjoyable as possible for my students.
"I'm a real people person and I love the contact I have with kids when I take them out driving.
"We have a ball.
"It doesn't matter if a learner driver stalls a car 10 times during a lesson, they're with me to learn driving skills - and I definitely don't get angry with them.
"I encourage all my students to take their time and relax.
"It's not a race to get P plates.
"The sign of a good driver is someone who is constantly making observations and someone who doesn't get tunnel vision.
"It takes time and experience to learn these skills and this is what I tell all my learner drivers."
Barbara recommends all learner drivers book a driving lesson with a qualified driving instructor prior to going for their P plates.
"Sometimes when parents take their kids for a driving lesson, their bad driving habits can rub off onto them unintentionally and in most cases unwillingly," she said.
"An experienced driver instructor is able to identify these habits and correct them.
"Qualified driver instructors are also up to date with the road rules and regulations and are aware if any changes have been made to them.
"A qualified instructor will also teach a learner driver more about observation while driving."
When asked to describe the importance of being in possession of an Australian driver's licence, Barbara said the list of possibilities a person could do when qualified to drive was limitless.
"Being in possession of a driver's licence opens up so much for people.
"They have so many more opportunities available to them, especially if they have to travel long distances for work or are employed as a driver.
"It's very rewarding for me as a driving instructor to see people I have taught to drive acquire their licences and move onto bigger and better things in their lives they would not have been able to do without a licence.
"I would also like to remind people that your licence is your independence and young drivers are not bulletproof.
"I think a lot of young drivers fall under peer pressure and I would like to tell them to slow down and look around.
All Areas Driver Training uses 2010-model Suzuki Swifts and provides learner drivers with the option of an automatic or manual.
Lessons cost $60 for one hour or $170 for three hours.
Parents are welcome to accompany learner drivers during lessons.
All Areas Driver Training is affiliated with the Australian Driver Training Association (ADTA) and Keys2Drive, an Australian Government-funded learner driver program which provides L-plate holders with a free driving lesson, accompanied by an accredited Keys2Drive instructor.
For more information, visit www.keys2drive.com.au or call Barbara.
To celebrate the first anniversary of All Areas Driver Training, Barbara is offering all learner drivers a special deal.
For this month only, learner drivers will go into a weekly draw for the chance to win a refunded driving lesson.
Draws will be held every Friday.
To book a driving lesson with Barbara, call 0488 332 022.