AA creates virtual driving site to prepare visitors for NZ roads

18 November 2015

AA creates virtual driving site to prepare visitors for NZ roads

A ground-breaking new virtual driving website is being launched by the AA to help better prepare tourists for driving in New Zealand.

The AA Visiting Drivers Training Programme will allow visitors to see real-world examples of our different driving environments and road rules well before actually getting behind the wheel here.

On the site users will be able to go through 15 different driving scenarios that have been filmed on roads that many tourists experience like around Queenstown and Auckland airport. Each scenario will require the user to answer a question about how to drive safely in New Zealand.

“The types of roads and conditions we have in New Zealand can be different from what visitors from overseas have driven in before,” says AA Driving School General Manager Nigel Clark.

“The AA Visiting Drivers Training Programme is a way that tourists can not only make sure they understand our road rules but also get a feel for the environments we have here.

“The AA wants this programme to help visitors be better prepared for driving here and to help make our roads safer for everyone.”

The programme received input from New Zealand’s leading driver training expert, Associate Professor Robert Isler of the University of Waikato while his daughter, Nadine Isler, an experienced online training creator, managed the project.

Visiting drivers adapting to driving in foreign conditions is a challenge shared by many countries but the AA believes its Visiting Drivers Training Programme may be one of the first uses of real-world footage and technology like this.

“Preventing crashes involving visiting drivers is an issue that a lot of the AA’s 1.5 million Members care deeply about, especially in the major tourism destinations,” says Mr Clark.

“There is a lot of work being done by Government and tourism operators to try and reduce these types of crashes. The AA, which is part of the Government’s Visiting Drivers project, wanted to take our own action as part of our commitment to improving road safety.

“This is just one part of making our roads safer and we hope that tourism operators and rental car firms will promote the programme with their customers to get as many visitors as possible completing it.”

The programme will be free for anyone to do but users will have an option of paying $10 for a certificate when they have successfully completed the programme. This certificate will entitle them to discounted hire equivalent to the cost of the certificate with rental vehicle firms Thrifty and Europcar that are partnering with the AA in the programme.

“The AA Visiting Driver Training Programme is a fantastic product to support safer driving in New Zealand and we look forward to promoting it to our international customer base,” says Thrifty General Manager Emma Gardiner.

Europcar General Manager Stephen Jones says they are also delighted to be part of this new initiative.

“At Europcar we want every journey to be a safe one and we believe this online training programme will help our visiting drivers understand some of the unique road conditions they may encounter in New Zealand."

For more information contact:

Nigel Clark
AA Driving School General Manager
New Zealand Automobile Association
T. 09 966 8808
M. 021 592 333
E. nigel.clark@aa.co.nz 

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