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Are you a skilled driver?

Are you a skilled driver?

Driving is a skill. Just like your skill with making the perfect coffee or pulling off hipster jeans, if you practise, you’ll get better. Yes, most of the driving lessons and courses available are targeted at young people about to sit (or resit) their restricted test. But a refresher on the road rules or an advanced driving skills course is not something just for beginner drivers. We could all learn something from the experts, and the advanced driving skills courses available in New Zealand are suitable for all ages. Even if you’ve been driving for years, defensive driving skills could save your life.

Practice makes perfect

Practice is a handy resource put together by the New Zealand Transport Authority and ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). This website gives you a free, practical plan designed to help you pass your restricted with ease.

Find a mentor

If you’re a young or inexperienced driver, it’s worth finding someone who's experienced to give you encouragement and advice. As an inexperienced driver on your restricted licence, you are more likely to crash than at any other time in your life. Your first 6-12 months of driving by yourself are the most risky. Getting some support, and/or doing a defensive driving course, can help keep you safe.

Here are some things that an experienced driver can help you with:

  • Encouragement – a driver with years of experience can pass on lots of wisdom. They can help you identify and manage risks. Get them to drive with you when you first encounter potentially risky situations such as heavy traffic, new routes, wet weather and driving in poor light.
  • Practical tips – your mentor can show you how to monitor your speed, anticipate and deal with hazards, read road conditions, drive safely at night, deal with the unexpected, stay alert, evaluate risks and cope with distractions. They can also help you plan your route if you’re driving somewhere for the first time.

Advanced driving skills courses

A course in advanced or defensive driving will help you identify and handle potential hazards you may encounter while driving. These courses teach you skills that can reduce your chance of being involved in a crash, such as:

  • Scanning the road and surrounding area while driving
  • Hazard identification
  • Risk management

You can undertake an approved driving course once you have obtained your learner or restricted car licence. Passing an approved advanced driving course can:

  • Reduce the minimum age at which you can get a full car licence from 18 years to 17½ years
  • Reduce the time you need to stay on a restricted car licence – by either three or six months, depending on your age

Approved advanced driving course providers

Defensive Driving Course

This course is available throughout New Zealand and provided by trainers who are affiliated with the AA Driving School. Successfully completing this course reduces your time on a restricted licence.

AA Driving School

0800 223 748
www.aa.co.nz/ddc

Street Talk

Street Talk courses are offered through the following organisations and can reduce your time on a restricted licence.

Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA) (Auckland region only)
0800 WAATEA
0800 922 832
www.muma.org.nz
After hours: 0274 922 555

New Zealand Institute of Driver Educators (NZIDE)

0800 STREET TALK
0800 787338
www.drivinginstructor.co.nz