ROSSLYN, South Africa – Nissan and MasterDrive invited Miss South Africa to enhance her driving safety skills through a Defensive Driver Training course in a Nissan Juke, in June.

The internationally recognised training course, in which Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters took part, is designed to reduce crashes and improve driving standards and the Juke, loaded with safety technology, was the perfect car to use.

With a university education, clothing and other overheads, the investment in a person, by the time they turn 21, is in excess of two and a half million rand. Given that obtaining a license is the first step one takes when moving forward in life, it is imperative, given our appalling road safety statistics, that we enhance our skills.

"Car accidents not only have financial impacts but also psychological ones, with the ability to forever change a person's life and even sometimes costs them their life altogether," says Managing Director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert. He believes training is the tool through which South Africans can empower themselves while simultaneously becoming safe and responsible road users.

Automotive technology will also continue to play a critical role in the reduction of road accidents. "Through the development of innovative technologies that help drivers avoid risk, our aim is to reduce the number of accidents on the road," says MD of Nissan Group of Africa, Mike Whitfield.

A testament to Nissan's Intelligent Mobility vision of moving towards a safer and more sustainable future,the Nissan Juke features a number of innovative safety features. While four cameras give the driver a 360-degree bird's eye view around the vehicle, Intelligent Lane Intervention issues both visual and audible alerts to help the driver stay between the lines when it detects that the car is straying from its lane.

The Around View Monitor assists with parking and also with pulling out of a parking space safely. At the same time, Moving Object Detection acts as another pair of eyes, alerting the driver when an object is detected moving behind the car. Intelligent Blind Spot is another innovative feature which detects when another vehicle has moved into the Juke's blind spot and signals this with a status light next to the door mirror.

"Statistics from the Association for Safe International Road Travel indicate that almost 1.3 million people die in road crashes every year worldwide. Combining responsible road-user behaviour with the latest in road safety technology will help to save many of those lives," says Whitfield

"If each person in this country commits themselves to fulfilling their role as responsible road users, we have the potential to drastically reduce the high fatality rates on our roads," agrees Herbert. "These fatality rates are not someone else's problem. It's my problem, it's your problem, and it's our problem. Until each person accepts this responsibility we will only achieve limited results."

"We want to play our role in road safety by encouraging and helping road users to fulfil this responsibility and hope that Demi-Leigh will do the same, using the positive influence she has on South Africans to encourage them to take road safety seriously."

"Road accidents are still a leading cause of deaths in our country, highlighting the importance of the ongoing drive towards greater safety on our roads," says Nel-Peters. "Initiatives like this have the potential to make a real difference and I feel privileged to be a part of the process."

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