A COLAC driving instructor says motorists must change their behaviour behind the wheel during winter or they’ll find themselves “in strife”.
Paul Uytdehaag, who has been a driving instructor with Colac’s Active Driving School for six years, said winter was already starting to take its toll on Colac and district roads.
Mr Uytdehaag, a former policeman, said motorists too often failed to adjust to poor road conditions, particularly early in winter.
He said early-season rain changed road conditions dramatically.
“When the roads actually become wet for the first time after a while, it’s a lot greasier than what it is when it’s been raining for a while,” he said.
“All the oils come to the surface and of course it makes it a lot more slippery.”
Mr Uytdehaag said weather and road conditions could vary in different areas of the Colac district.
But he said drivers should take the same precautions regardless.
“It doesn’t hurt to go five or 10 kilometres below the speed limit – you drive to the conditions of the road and it doesn’t hurt to just back off a little bit,” Mr Uytdehaag said.
“Depending on if you’re in Elliminyt or Colac, the fog or rain conditions could differ but if it’s pouring, you go slower and if it’s foggy and you can’t see, go slower,” he said.
“And your headlights should be on low beam in the fog, not on high beam.”
Mr Uytdehaag said a wet and windy day could make the environment surrounding roads just as hazardous to motorists as the road conditions.
“There’s always going to be some sort of loose object especially on the Apollo Bay and Lorne roads,” he said.
“You could even be driving around the streets and there could be bins on the road but people still just fly around.
“If they don’t change their driver behaviour they are going to be in a lot of strife – back off that’s all you’ve got to do and look ahead it makes it a lot easier.”
Mr Uytdehaag said learner drivers should get experience in poor conditions to ensure they were better prepared for independent driving.
“A lot of people are not equipped for it or used to these conditions – it doesn’t make you a worse driver, it just makes you less experienced at it,” he said.
“Learners need to get as much variety in their driving before they get their Ps so they are a bit more equipped when they get their Ps.”