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Prepare your teen for their drive to this year’s Burton NZ Open near Wanaka


The current cold weather is another that it also winter festival season in Otago with Burton High Fives festival being staged in the Cardrona Valley near Wanaka from 15 - 18 August 2012.

The Burton High Fives is an invite-only global snowboarding competition.

For parents with teenagers heading to one of the winter festivals, it’s important to 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 – link) – 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 Greg Allnutt, NZTA Southern Region Manager.

Mr Allnutt suggests the following tips for driving to the Burton High Fives (Formerly the NZ Open) in the Cardrona Valley (15 - 18 August 2012):

  • Get your teen to plan their trip, check the weather forecast and road conditions before they leave, and think about where they’re going and what route they should take.
  • SH6 and SH8 to the north and south of Wanaka have several sections of winding, rolling and mountainous terrain.  Teens will need to take extra care especially on sections such as the Lindis Pass between Wanaka and Omarama, the Manuka Gorge between Milton and Lawrence and the Kawarau Gorge between Queenstown and Cromwell.  The weather in this area during winter can be treacherous, with fog, ice and snow ready to booby trap these roads, so teens need to take extra care and drive to the conditions. Teens will have to drive slower than they normally would; it only takes a spilt second to lose control in wet and icy conditions. 
  • Teens should carry snow chains that they know how to use and fit and should also be aware of when they need to put them on.

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.

Planning ahead

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 link) for more tips.