Free expo offers plenty for young drivers

02:27, Mar 20 2014
NO CAR TROUBLE, HERE: Bronson Harrison of Dannevirke has a go at changing a tyre under guidance from Stuart Lange of Right Tyre Service.

There's more to driving than just getting your licence and heading out on the open road, some new and soon-to-be drivers have learned.

Young Driver - First Car, a free expo aimed at preparing young drivers for the responsibilities of safe motoring, made its final stop in Palmerston North last night after Dunedin, Whangarei and Tauranga.

Organised by Students Against Driving Drunk in partnership with Turners Auctions, the expo consisted of stalls giving visitors the chance to engage with information providers, and clinics giving practical demonstrations to equip new drivers for life on the road.

Among other things, exhibitors demonstrated general maintenance tasks and how to change a tyre.

One visitor, Pamela Allen, said she had come from Dannevirke with her son, Ben Dais, 15, as he was about to turn 16.

Ben said he was glad he went, as he had learned some useful information.


"I also learned how hard it is when you're drunk, to drink and drive," he said after experiencing a visual simulation of drunkenness, courtesy of the Horizons Regional Council road safety team.

"It was hard. It felt like a sign that was 1 metre in front of you was 5m in front of you."

Mrs Allen said she had gained some good ideas from the expo, but would have liked to have seen some information about driving schools.

SADD operations manager Julie Elliotte said the expo was designed for new or soon-to-be drivers and their parents.

"It's a one-stop shop, all you need to know about getting behind the wheel the first time, getting your licence, getting your first car, safety features, and what you should look for when buying your first car."

She said drivers were most at risk in their teenage years.

"If you are aged 15 to 19 years in New Zealand, you are more likely to die in a car crash than by any other cause and that's a scary fact for a teenager or parent to consider," she said.

Also at the expo was the Palmerston North fire station, with a graphic video about car safety, shown in a car.

Station officer Chris Faithfull said most crashes were preventable, which made education important.

Mrs Elliotte said this was the first time the event had been held.

"This is a pilot project we're doing to gauge whether or not it's something we should continue with in future," she said.

SADD had been hoping for more visitors at the four events, but Mrs Elliotte said the time of the event, from 5pm to 8.30pm, may have been too demanding on students and their parents. "I think we will work on the formatting. I think there's definitely a large gap in the market for this kind of event."

Manawatu Standard