GO EASY: NRMA driving instructor warns other motorists to keep their cool behind Learner and P Plater drivers.
GO EASY: NRMA driving instructor warns other motorists to keep their cool behind Learner and P Plater drivers.

Half of L and P platers have been ‘abused’ on the road

A NEW NRMA Northern Rivers driving instructor is urging drivers to show patience and understanding to learner and provisional drivers, on the back of startling research revealing the level of harassment inexperienced drivers encounter.

Instructor Nick Coulthurst said research conducted by the NRMA found NSW Learner and Provisional (L&P) licence holders had overwhelmingly experienced tailgating and other forms of dangerous behaviour from other drivers while driving at their restricted speed limits.

The research has been released to the NSW North Coast as the NRMA opens new Driving schools in Ballina, Byron Bay and Lismore.

An NRMA survey of 1,486 Members found 93 per cent of Learner and Provisional drivers had been tailgated by other drivers while they were driving at their restricted speed limit and almost 45 per cent said it happened 'always'.

In NSW, L and P1 drivers have a restricted speed limit to a maximum of 90 km/hr, while P2 drivers have a speed limit of 100 km/hr.

The NRMA research also found that 94 per cent of Learner and Provisional drivers have been overtaken in a dangerous manner, 65 per cent have been honked and had lights flashed at them; and 50 per cent have been yelled at and abused.

New NRMA Northern Rivers Driving Instructor Nick Coulthurst said a lot of L and P plate drivers in the region had to quickly learn how to safely navigate traffic on the motorway running through Ballina and Lismore.

"Anyone can learn how to drive but not everyone can learn to drive well. It's terrific being able to help teach drivers in our area how to be safe and go back to basics in my lessons," Mr Coulthurst said.

"Depending on the training level, I take students out onto the motorway and explain the three second gap rule and how to be able to identify and respond to hazards. So far it's been terrific."

Mr Coulthurst also helps the NRMA deliver the Keys2Drive program, which gives learner drivers one free hour-long lesson with their parent or supervising driver also in the car.