A free skills course that aims to teach new and young motorists safer driving practices will be held in Newcastle for the first time this week.
Ford's Driving Skills for Life course offers hands-on training by professional instructors to help participants become safer drivers.
"On the road, there's nothing more important than safety," Kay Hart, chief executive officer of Ford Australia and New Zealand.
"By helping new and young drivers to develop safe driving techniques, we're hoping to make the road safer for everyone and give participants the best possible start to a lifetime of driving.
"While each year cars get safer and safer, Australia's road toll has increased over recent years, which indicates the importance of teaching safe driving techniques to the next generation of drivers."
The Driving Skills for Life course has been held in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong the past five years.
Adelaide, Orange and Newcastle were added the course's expanded location offering for 2019.
The course will be held at Newcastle Showground in Broadmeadow on Saturday, November 9. There will be two sessions beginning at 8.30am and 12.30pm.
The course helps newly licensed drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 per cent of vehicle crashes, including hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed and space management.
Combining a mix of engaging elements, the course offers participants hands-on cycling VR simulations and a chance to test the limits of a car with ABS and stability control in a controlled environment.
The program also offers participants time in the Ford Impairment Suit, which mimics the affects alcohol has on a person. With 30 per cent of fatal road accidents related to drink driving, the activity aims to showcase the dangerous outcomes that drink driving can have.
The 2019 program has a focus on teaching new drivers how to share the road with other vehicles and cyclists.
Ms Hart said that with a significant number of Australians taking up cycling, the inclusion of driver techniques that improve cyclist safety in the driver skills program is crucial and timely.
"We know from our research that many drivers don't feel confident driving around cyclists, and that many cyclists are nervous being on the road with vehicles. That's why it's so important to include a driver-cyclist safety component in DSFL this year," she said.
Parents and guardians of young participants are encouraged to attend the course and take part in an informative safety session.
Registrations for the Newcastle course is open at FordDSFL.com.au.