Safe driv­ing calls for com­mon sense be­hind the wheel

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Sum­mer is just around the cor­ner, and for many Kiwi teenagers it’s the sea­son for road trips and mu­sic fes­ti­vals.

For the par­ents of teen drivers it can be a nerve- rack­ing time as their chil­dren em­bark on long jour­neys, some for the first time, to at­tend sum­mer mu­sic fes­ti­vals all over the coun­try, from Coro­man­del Gold in Whi­tianga to the Rhythm & Alps fes­ti­val in Can­ter­bury.

To help par­ents en­sure that their teen will be safe on the roads this sum­mer, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency (NZTA) is pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal ad­vice and free tools via a ded­i­cated web­site: safe­teen­driver.co.nz.

The web­site en­cour­ages par­ents to work with their teen to iden­tify haz­ards they may en­counter when trav­el­ling by them­selves, and how to man­age them.

‘‘We’re urg­ing par­ents to stay in­volved and help keep their teens safe on the roads this sum­mer as they drive long dis­tances to sum­mer fes­ti­vals around the coun­try,’’ said NZTA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Danger­field.

Long af­ter teens get their li­cence they will face sit­u­a­tions on the road they haven’t en­coun­tered be­fore and be­ing pre­pared will help them stay safe.’’

Driv­ing to a fes­ti­val can be a daunt­ing task for a teen who hasn’t yet ex­pe­ri­enced nar­row, wind­ing roads, road works, sunstrike, hol­i­day-mak­ers tow­ing boats, heavy traf­fic and fa­tigue.

Get­ting in the car with them to prac­tise be­fore they set off can be a good way to help them man­age the risks when they’re on their own, even if they have al­ready driven by them­selves.

To pro­vide teens with spe­cific ad­vice to help them ar­rive at their sum­mer fes­ti­val des­ti­na­tion safely, the Safe Teen Driver web­site now also features a Sum­mer Fes­ti­vals Map.

The map gives ad­vice on the ty­pog­ra­phy of some key routes and high­lights con­di­tions that some teens might not have ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore: safe­teen­driver.co.nz/fes­ti­valmap/

As part of the trip-plan­ning process for fes­ti­val-go­ers, par­ents and teens should plan the route they will take to the fes­ti­val be­fore they leave, so they can fo­cus more on driv­ing and less on find­ing their way. It is also im­por­tant to make sure your teen un­der­stands how to drive to the con­di­tions, and ad­just their speed when the road, weather or traf­fic con­di­tions change.

Driv­ing too fast for the con­di­tions is the most com­mon fac­tor in teen driver crashes.

‘‘As well as safe driv­ing tips for teens, the Safe Teen Driver web­site features tips for par­ents on some of the most ef­fec­tive ways to talk to your teen about safe driv­ing,’’ said Mr Danger­field.

To find ad­vice on how to get safely to High Life, Coro­man­del Gold, Para­chute, Ragga­muf­fin, Rhythm & Vines, WOMAD, La De Da, Ragga­muf­fin, Home­grown, Lu­mi­nate and Rhythm & Alps visit: safe­teen­driver.co.nz/fes­ti­valmap/

Tips for plan­ning a jour­ney:

Does your teenager know that driv­ing at night re­quires more en­ergy, con­cen­tra­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence? En­cour­age day­time driv­ing when it is eas­ier to spot haz­ards, vis­i­bil­ity is bet­ter and they are less likely to feel fa­tigued.

Even a New Zealand sum­mer has its fair share of wet weather.

Weather con­di­tions can af­fect stop­ping dis­tance – it takes longer for your teenager to stop on slip­pery, wet roads. In poor weather, en­cour­age your teen to dou­ble the two-sec­ond rule to cre­ate a safe dis­tance be­hind the car they’re fol­low­ing.

Most teenagers love the sun, but do they know how to avoid sun strike? To help min­imise the ef­fects, tell your teenager to keep their wind­screen clean (in­side and out), wear sun­glasses when driv­ing and use the car’s sun vi­sors to block it out.

Let them know that some­times the only safe thing to do is pull over and wait for a few min­utes un­til the an­gle of the sun changes.

Ev­ery­one loves to go on hol­i­day over the sum­mer sea­son, and of­ten this means teens will en­counter heavy traf­fic as they travel to the sum­mer fes­ti­vals. Re­mind them that in th­ese sit­u­a­tions the best re­sponse is to be pa­tient, re­duce their speed and reg­u­larly scan the road to be aware of their sur­round­ings.

Af­ter the big event is over, it’s im­por­tant your teen knows not to push their lim­its on the way home.

Talk to them about driver fa­tigue, en­cour­age them to get some rest and to eat break­fast be­fore hit­ting the road in the morn­ing.

If pos­si­ble they should share the driv­ing with oth­ers who are also rested.

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