AT THE WHEEL
Experience Counts Boost your driving skills and learn how to make the most of your vehicle’s safety features at the Volkswagen Driving Academy By Netanja van der Westhuizen
hen Bongiwe Zondo completed an advanced driving course at the Volkswagen Driving Academy earlier this year, she didn’t realise how soon she’d be relying on her new-found skills. “A few weeks after the training, I dropped a colleague in Jeppestown, Johannesburg when suddenly a vehicle overtook us on the left side with its tyres on the pavement. Another car followed in hot pursuit, but it smashed into the car in front of us and chaos ensued. I was shocked, wondering what I needed to do and almost just closed my eyes, when the techniques I had learnt at the Volkswagen Driving Academy came flooding back to me.
If it wasn’t for their tips on how to stay calm or the brake-and-release method that they had taught us, we would have been history. I now realise the importance of this kind of training,” explains Bongiwe, a nurse advisor at the Mobile Clinical Support team at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health Research Unit. Bongiwe is proof that anyone can learn and apply advanced driving skills, and that this could make a difference on our roads. This is exactly what the Volkswagen Driving Academy is all about: imparting advanced driving techniques and knowledge to help people become safer drivers.
You can never be too experienced. Recently, a hundred Eastern Cape police officers, who drive Volkswagen Golfs, completed the Volkswagen Driving Academy’s High Performance Driving course.
Hijack Prevention R300 per person (excluding VAT) Learn how to recognise and protect yourself in a hijack situation. Then put what you’ve learnt into practice, dealing with confrontational situations in and around your vehicle.
Touareg Off-Road R1 650 per person (excluding VAT) Take the Touareg through its paces on the Academy’s challenging off-road track. With a good understanding of this very capable offroad vehicle, it is possible to take it anywhere without harming the vehicle or the environment.
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT The Driving Academy, based at the Kyalami race-track, opened its doors in May 2005. Since then it has given hundreds of drivers the practical experience and confidence to deal with potential dangers on our roads from avoiding collisions to the best way to respond in a hijack situation. “Although many people think advanced driving is about learning to drive like Michael
COURSES High Performance Driving R1 750 per person (excluding VAT) This full-day course teaches you to react quickly and safely in all road and traffic conditions. It includes training in vehicle dynamics and emergency simulations on the skidpan, as well as a chance to put your new-found knowledge to the test on the race circuit. Shayela Defensive Driving R1 250 per person (excluding VAT) The Shayela Defensive Driving Course is accredited by the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) and qualifies you for reduced insurance costs with selected insurers. Get to grips with defensive driving skills which will enable you to be a safer driver. 28 Volkswagen
Advanced Safety Driving R1 250 per person (excluding VAT) This course covers vehicle control, collision and hijacking avoidance, as well as defensive driving techniques. Skidpan R500 per person (excluding VAT) Learn about different kind of skids and how to stay in control of your vehicle if they do occur. Volkswagen drivers also learn how to make the most of their vehicles’ safety systems.
Corporate Team Building Build team spirit by completing advanced driver training and then put theory into practice on the Kyalami race circuit. All events, including catering, can be tailored to your needs. For more information on the Volkswagen Driving Academy contact tel (011) 466-9127, fax (011) 466-0521, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vwdriving.co.za.
Practising the nuances of cornering at the Volkswagen Driving Academy
Schumacher, it is all about safety. Our training is geared towards driving instruction for everyday use, within the law, and to enhance drivers’ understanding of vehicle dynamics, as well as how to effectively use its safety mechanisms especially in emergency situations. You don’t have to be a Volkswagen driver to benefit from our courses,” says Jessica van der Walt, Volkswagen Driving Academy Sales and Marketing Manager. The Academy has assembled a team of topclass instructors, most of whom are well-known in motorsport circles, to help you improve your driving techniques in a fun way. General Manager Ken Whitfield, for example, competes in a Golf GTI in the Wesbank Production Car Series. NEW ON THE MENU The team constantly develops courses and initiatives to meet its clients’ needs. For
example, the Academy started bi-annual road trips in 2006, giving drivers in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth the opportunity to experience the Academy’s advanced driving courses. The team may also be heading to Durban soon. This year the Volkswagen Driving Academy launched the Shayela Defensive Driving course accredited by the South African Insurance Association (SAIA). Volkswagensure offers drivers who have passed the Shayela Defensive Driving Course through the Academy, a 10% discount on the accident portion of their motor insurance premiums. Some of the other short-term insurers also offer discounts to clients who have done defensive driving courses. Jessica mentions that the Academy has also started hosting women’s days this year. “There’s a perception that advanced driving
is only for men, but that’s not the case at all. Everybody can benefit from our courses. Some women may feel more comfortable if they receive training in a female group and the women’s days will be targeted at them.” The Volkswagen Driving Academy’s first women’s day took place in Port Elizabeth in April 2007 and covered a combination of skills like skid control, emergency lane changes and hijacking prevention, she says. EXCITING ADDITIONS AHEAD In 2007 night driving and refresher courses may be added to the Academy’s offering. Its fleet of 12 Golf GTIs and four Touaregs will also be expanded to include the new R32, giving drivers the opportunity to discover a wider range of Volkswagen vehicles and their exceptional performance in any situation. Volkswagen 29