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4×4 DRIVING SCHOOLS
As the 4×4 manufacturers produce more and more vehicles so has another industry sprung up along side it: The 4×4 Information industry, the part of the industry into which this site falls. Books, magazines, DVD videos, maps, self-guide guided trails and lastly 4×4 training.
The 4×4 driver training industry has been severely criticized for not having a regulatory body to formalize training, set a curriculum and recognizing and separating the fly-by-nights from the serious well-experienced schools that provide good, value for money training. On one occasion a 4×4 school in the town of Welcome was set up by a gent who attended a half-day driving school near Johannesburg. This, he felt, was sufficient to begin to teach others. By all accounts my blind grandmother was a better driver.
It is safe to say, in most countries, the standard of 4×4 training is not high and about 30% of the schools are good, 10% are excellent and the rest are poor, teaching incorrect and sometimes unsafe principles, and accepting wild and hooligan behavior all the while talking about protecting the planet and treading lightly.
I suggest getting word-of-mouth recommendations and treat lightly what you read in magazines. Journalists are often pampered by establishments to write good reports while they in many cases do not have the experience to judge if the techniques are sound and the training good value.
When I am asked which school I recommend, for years John Rich’s name comes to mind. John’s school is the Stoney Ridge 4×4 Academy in Natal which is, I believe, the best in the country and John is an outstanding instructor. To make contact with Stoney Ridge, call 0363 54 7012, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another element of 4×4 driving which is not covered well enough by any of the schools is high-speed gravel driving. In my view, this training of more value than off-road because its primary concern is the improvement of safety on long stretches of gravel found in semi desert regions, where so many lose their lives in unnecessary roll-overs.