I was first introduced to the Emotional Driving program whilst in Hiasa and my first impressions from the presentation was that it was hard hitting in its subject matter, whilst mixed with some very practical demonstration and participative activities. However as someone that does 48000KM per annum it proved to me what a serious activity it is and one that we take for granted every day. The message is very clear and expands on Gonvarri’s every day message with regard to Health and Safety and gets you to think in the same way when driving or a passenger in a car:
- Think about your surroundings – Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle condition.
- Think about distractions – In the car and around the car.
- Think about your method – Speed, distance, safety and reaction time.
However the thing that struck me most was the emotional impact, on the driver, other parties involved, the families and the emergency services.
Unfortunately when I was 18 (30 years ago) I experienced some of the above when my best friend was involved in a serious car accident. He had been the lone passenger in the back of the car, at a time when seat belts weren’t compulsory. The car was involved in a collision where the car had over turned, he had been thrown around the back of the car and eventually came to rest half out of the back windscreen.
The next time I saw him was in Oxford Infirmary, a hulk of a building which only contributed to the desperate feeling when I first visited him. He had had his head shaved and his skull split for a serious operation on his brain and looked in an awful physical condition. The emergency services and doctors had worked all night to stabilise him, his parents and his sister had been with him all night and now his friends were circling around him trying to come to terms with what had happened.
Thankfully David went on to make a full recovery and whilst I am not in contact with him now, I always find it very easy to recount the depth of emotions that I felt and experienced from everyone involved through David’s accident and recovery.
And this is one of the overriding messages that I have taken from my Emotional Driving experience. Cars have become immeasurably more technical, with vehicle manufacturers committing millions to advancing the safety of their vehicles and whilst we can improve our driving techniques, please don’t take it for granted, because the Emotional consequences can be life changing.