The cold has arrived, and with snow blanketing many parts of the country it's a reminder that the winter festival season is upon us.
For parents with teenagers heading to one of the many winter festivals scheduled for the next few months, it's time to start thinking about how you can help your teen drivers prepare for a safe journey to and from their festival destination. Remember, it is not just advice for when they arrive at the event that is useful – but guidance for the drive there and back is vital too.
For some teens, this will be their first experience of driving long distances in potentially wet and icy conditions – a stressful experience for both the driver and the parent waiting at home.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has created a dedicated website to help parents with teen drivers - www.safeteendriver.co.nz - which offers a set of practical skills and free tools to encourage parents to work alongside their teens to help identify and manage risk situations, when driving by themselves.
“The Safe Teen Driver website not only provides useful festival hazard advice to discuss with your teen, it also suggests some different ways to talk about the risks so they don’t think you're over-reacting,” says NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield.
NZTA Access and Use Regional Manager Kate Styles suggests the following tips for driving to the Nelson Winter Music Festival (6 – 22 July 2012):
- If your teen is coming from either Blenheim or Takaka extra care is required when driving over the Whangamoa Hill or Takaka Hill, as they are both steep, narrow and very windy road alignments. There are a number of sheer drops at the road edge. It can be daunting the first few times you drive it so make sure your teen knows what to expect.
- The Takaka Hill and Whangamoas are prone to winter weather conditions with ice and snow at times. Make sure that before your teen leaves home you are all aware of the current road and weather conditions.
Other key areas the NZTA encourages parents to discuss with their teen drivers includes:
Highlighting the best route and busy areas
- Where possible, parents should thoroughly plan their teen’s route with them, so they can concentrate on driving and not be distracted by navigating
- The www.highwayinfo.govt.nz site lists current road conditions and any delays, hazards or closures on the state highway network.
The importance of getting enough sleep
- Even moderate sleep deprivation can be dangerous when driving
Driving at night
- 40% of crashes involving young drivers happen when it’s dark
Driving with friends in the car
- When a young driver has two or more passengers in the car with them, they’re ten times more likely to have a crash than if they were driving alone. If those passengers are about the same age as the driver, the risk is more than fifteen times higher than if they were driving alone.
Please visit www.safeteendriver.co.nz/festivalmap/ for more tips.