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ACC: Practice Driving With Practice These Holidays

Practice Driving With Practice These Holidays

If you're teaching teenage children to drive over the holidays, make sure they get plenty of Practice - a programme developed for young learner drivers and their coaches.

Getting a driver licence is an important step for many young New Zealanders. It's a move towards independence and freedom, but it can have adverse consequences.

ACC Injury Prevention Programme Manager Kate Irvine said that, sadly, New Zealand's 15 - 19 year olds stand high in crash statistics. "They're around seven times more likely to be involved in crashes than 45-49 year olds," she said.

To help improve those figures, ACC and Land Transport New Zealand developed the free Practice programme. It provides young learner drivers and their designated coaches (generally parents or caregivers) with a practical step-by-step guide to help improve their driving skills and encourage sustained supervised driving practice.

Ms Irvine said overseas experience has shown that increasing the amount of supervised driving in the early phases of the licensing system is a key method of successfully reducing novice driver crashes.

"This step-by-step driver programme helps to improve the quality of training for learner drivers by supporting the people most likely to be coaches with training guidelines," she said. "The guides break down key manoeuvres so they can be easily explained, and encourages coaches to help their young driver practice in a variety of conditions.

"Young drivers should be practicing in all possible conditions, including driving in wet weather and at night. Driving down to the shops and back each day is not enough. Learning skills such as emergency braking, driving on multi-lane roads and overtaking safely can be invaluable."

When teenagers get their learner licence, they are automatically sent the registration form for the Practice programme by direct mail and can either sign-up online (www.practice.co.nz) or post back their form. At the same time they also nominate their coach (who must have held a full drivers licence for two years or more), who will assist with the supervised on-road driving practice.

The summer holidays are a great time to learn to drive. It's also a great time to teach good driving techniques. But young drivers need to Practice, Kate Irvine said.

"Encourage your child to sign up for Practice. It will not only help make them safer on the roads, but will help them when they sit their restricted licence test."


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