'Road Whisperer' tells new drivers: it's OK to be nervous

The latest THINK! road safety campaign encourages new drivers to 'learn the ways of the road' with the help of the Road Whisperer. 

Speaking in a southern US drawl, with sunglasses, scruffy beard and straggly hair tucked under a peaked cap, the character -- an homage to The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges in cult film The Big Lebowski -- is a surprise passenger who pops up to offer advice to young drivers.

One in five drivers are involved in a collision in the first year after passing their test. Research shows that young drivers often feel vulnerable on the road, which can lead to them driving more defensively and taking unnecessary risks to over-compensate for their inexperience.

The ads deliver the message that it's only natural for new drivers to be nervous, and that confidence comes with real road experience.

In the eye-catching films, the mysterious Road Whisperer offers tips relating to situations where new drivers feel particularly vulnerable or have the highest road casualties, including driving at night, and on country roads and motorways. The campaign also highlights the importance of checking your tyres, and looking out for vulnerable road users.

The films will be broadcast online and on social media, with the Night Driving film also shown in cinemas.

The New Driver campaign builds on an earlier THINK! campaign, 'Mates Matter', which encourages young men to set new 'man' standards by accepting their inexperience and not giving in to the perceived pressure to perform.

Launching the latest campaign, Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman said: "Everyone feels some nerves when they're on the road for the first time, but it takes a good driver to admit it.

"Confidence comes with time and practice, so it's important to keep learning and build up experience to become a better driver.

"And that commitment to keep learning is what this THINK! campaign, with its tips and guidance, aims to create."

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