There is more to driving than just ‘driving’. Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t receive much training beyond “this is how the car works and these are the rules you’re supposed to follow”.
There are a few examples from around the world of better drivers training programs. The one that comes to mind for me is Finland.
Finland has produced an extremely large number of racing drivers over the years, including Kimi Räikkönen, Mika Häkkinen, Tommi Mäkinen, Esapekka Lappi, and Jari-Matti Latvala. It turns out that Finland also has an incredibly in-depth drivers training program that helps to prepare their drivers for a wide variety of conditions.
Finland’s drivers training program includes a provisional license that lasts for two years, testing in a wide variety or road conditions, and testing on a skid pad.
In the US each state is in charge of developing their own licensing structure. I can’t speak for the other 49 states, but I can say that Michigan’s requirements are not exactly extensive.
In Michigan student drivers must complete two separate drivers training courses and 50 hours of driving experience, of which 10 need to take place at night, and finally they need to complete a road test and written test.
There are no requirements for learning winter driving techniques (or driving in the rain for that matter) though—and winter is a regular occurrence in Michigan. This baffles me since winter driving is one of the biggest problems I’ve experienced on the road—Michigan drivers don’t seem to have any idea how to drive when snow is on the road.
We need to improve our driver training, especially where snow and ice exist. That just happens to be a large portion of the country. I can concede that states with warmer climates and no snow can get around this requirement, but for the Northern states, there’s no excuse for not requiring better driver’s training.