Shift­ing road shar­ing per­cep­tion

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion/news -

If we stopped think­ing ‘‘cars’’ and started think­ing ‘‘peo­ple’’, would it change the way we drive?

That’s the ques­tion at the heart of a new New Zealand Trans­port Agency road safety ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign launched last Thurs­day which aims to change the way Ki­wis think about the road and the peo­ple they share it with.

The Drive So­cial cam­paign is part of the Government’s Safer Jour­neys strat­egy, ap­ply­ing the safe sys­tem ap­proach to make the whole trans­port sys­tem more ac­com­mo­dat­ing of hu­man er­ror.

Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­off Danger­field said one el­e­ment of cre­at­ing a safer sys­tem is to en­cour­age drivers to be more tol­er­ant of other peo­ple on the road.

‘‘If we ac­cept the idea that the road is a so­cial space and that the peo­ple we share the road with are part of our com­mu­nity, then we have to ac­cept that the way we be­have on the road has an im­pact on the whole com­mu­nity and that the way we drive af­fects ev­ery­one else.

‘‘ Ki­wis are gen­er­ally a friendly, pa­tient and ac­com­mo­dat­ing bunch. But put us be­hind the wheel and it can be a dif­fer­ent story. We be­have dif­fer­ently in our cars.

‘‘This cam­paign is ask­ing peo­ple to look at driv­ing from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive – to think about driv­ing as a so­cial ac­tiv­ity rather than as an in­di­vid­ual pur­suit,’’ Mr Danger­field said.

All of the cam­paign’s ad­ver­tis­ing di­rects peo­ple to the driveso­cial. co. nz web­site, which in­vites them to find out who they’re shar­ing the road with dur­ing their morn­ing com­mute.

The web­site lets peo­ple join a com­mu­nity where they can dis­cover some­thing about the other peo­ple who drive on the same roads as them.

It taps into strong so­cial me­dia trends to find con­nec­tions be­tween peo­ple.

‘‘The more we can get ev­ery­one to think peo­ple in­stead of think­ing cars, the more likely we’ll all be able to see how our own be­hav­iour af­fects oth­ers,’’ Mr Danger­field said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the new cam­paign go to: http:/ / www. nzta. govt. nz/ about/ ad­ver­tis­ing/ drive- so­cial/ in­dex.html.

Sign up for Drive So­cial at: http://www.driveso­cial.co.nz/.

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