Four-time winner of the Bathurst 1000 Greg Murphy is passionate about driver safety education. Last week he came to Taupō and held a practical driving training day.

Attended by mainly young drivers with a parent in tow, Greg is quick to point out the information he has to offer is for all drivers.

"The whole idea is to create awareness around a number of items that link together so they [participants] know what's needed to be a safe driver."
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He says it doesn't matter if Mum or Dad have been driving for 10 or 15 years.

"Who taught them? They might not necessarily know the right way to drive."

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Sponsored by Holden Street Smart, local councils and the police, the 30-odd participants paid $79 for the course. Greg says the day was about opening up a greater understanding of driving that most people wouldn't normally get to know about.

The course was booked out, and Greg says this highlights that more parents can see the importance of improving their children's driving skills. Highly critical of the current driver licensing system, Greg says "theory does not cut it" and the defensive driving course is geared towards people "completing their licence and not towards creating better drivers".

So passionate is he about improving practical driver training, he invited Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter to come along and be part of the day. The pair met two months ago when Greg called on the minister to include practical training as part of the Government's Road to Zero strategy.

Greg does not think the roads around the Central Plateau are particularly challenging to drive. He says people don't know how to drive the Central Plateau roads, and so this makes them anxious and the road confronting.

"There is nothing wrong with the road, it's the way we look at it. It's about having knowledge, and being prepared."

Part of the course was to improve driver skill of understanding of the vehicle and the role the weather plays.

Greg says when it comes to safe driving, speed gets a bad rap.

"You can still crash at 80km/h. Safe driving is about reaction time and knowing what to do when conditions change."

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He says analysing a situation and then making an adjustment in time is key to safe driving.

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