Test your safe driving on a simulator

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 20/03/2014
Driving simulator
SAHIBAN KANWAL/ Fairfax NZ

DRIVING SIMULATOR: Ambulance officer Karen Buckley takes the driving simulator for a test run. 

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Even professional drivers are keen to get behind the wheel of South Canterbury's latest road safety initiative.

Road safety co-ordinator Daniel Naude has leased a driving simulator to imitate "real life" driving conditions, which will help people who do not have full licences to improve their driving.

However, even seasoned drivers may find a use for the simulator.

"It is a really positive thing to do because you can test your driving skills without putting yourself or others at risk. And if there is a particular situation or environment you want to drive in, the instructors can simulate it," ambulance officer and first time simulator user Karen Buckley said.

"For people who have been driving for years, and for people who have not driven at all, if you get the chance to use the simulator, you should use it," Ms Buckley said.

The simulator is a computer-generated environment without any critiqueing.

"You do not have colleagues, or your spouse or kids, telling you how to drive. It is an unbiased, computer-generated opinion," ambulance officer Gordon Bell said.

The simulator is leased for one week a month, free to use, and bookings can be made online.

"Road Safety New Zealand funding is paying for the simulator. It's a project to assist people on learners and restricted [licences] by giving them additional scenarios on what they can expect out there on the roads. Like, for example, we can simulate driving in the fog or snow; conditions that you would not normally experience," Mr Naude said.

So far, since the initiative started in January, 34 people aged between 18 and 60, with a range of driving experience and abilities, have used the simulator, Mr Naude said. "We have had mainly young people who have not driven before, but we also get professionals and sometimes older people who just want to brush up on their driving skills."

People practising on the simulator can either do a particular module that will take a few hours or several modules run over a few days, if they have the time.

There is no age limit or limit on competency levels. To book yourself a test drive on the simulator go to the South Canterbury Road Safety website, www.scrs.org.nz/activities.

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- The Timaru Herald

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