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Autostrada Wielkopolska inaugurates the first socio-educational project in Poland “Motorway Driving Lessons”. The project is aimed at enhancing traffic safety through constant improvement of the drivers’ skills in terms of driving techniques on high-speed roads which are growing in number each year. Theoretical knowledge gained during the driving sessions will be supported by practical driving lessons on the motorway. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the driving schools in Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie districts, with a renowned rally driver, Tomasz Czopik as the project’s ambassador.
Nowadays, the driving license course includes no obligatory part of driving on motorway or expressway sections. Many drivers have to face this challenge on their own during their first trip. That is why Autostrada Wielkopolska launched a groundbreaking project that will give the drivers opportunity to drive on the motorway accompanied by experienced driving school instructors. This will permit the drivers to become more confident and skilled when driving this type of roads.
– We have been constantly raising the level of safety related to road infrastructure available on the motorway operated by Autostrada Wielkopolska. Now, the time has come, to launch a project dedicated directly to the users of our motorway who are growing in number every year. It is our intention for every driver to be equipped with practical and, in the first place, proven skills that will help him/her feel confident and react properly when driving on the motorway. That’s why Autostrada Wielkopolska invited professional driving schools to the project and will make the motorway available to the participating drivers free of charge. The instructors will initially prepare the drivers theoretically and teach them how to drive on the motorway, testing their responses in situations that are uncommon on other city roads. This will help the drivers abandon their fear of using high-speed roads and make their trips on the motorway pleasant and, what is most important, safe, says Krzysztof Andrzejewski, Member of the Management Board of Autostrada Wielkopolska S.A..
The enrollment process has already begun in early July. During the first stage, the driving schools may apply for the participation in the project. The second stage of the process will commence in mid-August and will be addressed to persons willing to take a driving license course. In order to become a participant to the project it will be sufficient to select a driving school qualified to the “Motorway Driving Lessons” project which is nearest to the person’s place of residence and take a course there. The exact date of the motorway lessons will depend on the syllabus followed by a given driving school working with Autostrada Wielkopolska. The partner driving schools participating in the project will be able, among others, to enter A2 motorway at no charge and will participate in a contest. The winner schools will receive valuable awards in support of their didactic efforts. The first edition of the “Motorway Driving Lessons” will continue until November 2021.
For the purpose of the project an online platform www.kursjazdynaautostradzie.pl was launched where the trainees, instructors and owners of the driving schools, but also those drivers who wish to get to know the motorway environment better and improve their driving skills on high-speed roads, will find all necessary information. The participants will find there, among others, theoretical and practical information how to behave on the motorway, videos illustrating the rules applying on the motorway and teaching materials necessary in the training process by driving schools.
The surveys made by ARC Rynek i Opinia [Market and Opinion] preceding the launching of the “Motorway Driving Lessons” project show that 66 percent of drivers make mistakes when driving on the motorway. Most respondents admit that they had no opportunity to learn how to drive on this type of road during their driving lessons before taking the driving license exam. It is true that driving on the motorway requires the drivers to remain extremely alert, focused and to be able to divide their attention. Optical illusion at exit with the need to lose speed, proper use of the acceleration lane or special layout of interchanges – these are but some of the situations that are absent on other roads but have to be faced by drivers on the motorway. Interestingly, there is common interest among Polish drivers in additional free driving lessons. As many as 80 percent of the drivers declare they are interested in learning the proper motorway driving techniques. The need for such training is also visible among those persons who intend to take the driving license exam. Here, 79 percent of respondents expressed their interest in additional driving lessons.
The “Motorway Driving Lessons” project may contribute to the efficient implementation of “Zero Vision” that is eliminating fatal accidents on Polish roads. The research by the Technical University of Gdańsk shows that the risk of death in an accident measured against the population of Poland in twice as high as the EU average and even tripled compared to the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The “Motorway Driving Lessons” project is not the only socio-educational initiative of Autostrada Wielkopolska enhancing traffic safety. The project “Motorway to School” was a huge success. In the years 2017- 2019, 11 thousand 1 -3 grade students from almost 200 schools in Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie were trained. The project was aimed at efficiently educating children in traffic safety rules by way of teaching, playing and using state-of-the-art technology. It was the first time in Poland that Autostrada Wielkopolska used virtual reality to teach traffic safety rules. With the involvement of experts, a special application was developed compatible with the VR goggles. After putting them on, children would find themselves in a virtual city where they were learning the most important traffic safety rules. Also, in the neighborhood of schools in Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie, 8 experimental pedestrian crossings were built, with Zbyszek the Zebra as the mascot of the project, 2 further crossings were given new vertical signs, cat’s eyes and red-painted pavement areas to slow the drivers down before the crossing.
The honorary patrons of the “Motorway Driving Lessons” project include the Marshall of Wielkopolskie District, the Marshall of Lubuskie District, the Mayor of Poznań and the National Traffic Safety Council.