‘Low risk decisions’ theme of driving course

Ryda programme co-co-ordinator Liona Stanicich speaks during the Ryda Road Safety Day in Oamaru...
Ryda programme co-co-ordinator Liona Stanicich speaks during the Ryda Road Safety Day in Oamaru last week. PHOTO: NIC DUFF
Future road users were encouraged to make "low risk decisions" behind the wheel at an educational workshop last week.

Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (Ryda) ran a two day programme in Oamaru on Wednesday and Thursday.

It was a road safety education programme aimed at year 12 pupils that have been held throughout New Zealand and Australia.

The day is an evidence-based programme that has been put together by an advisory panel, Ryda programme co-co-ordinator Liona Stanicich said.

"One of the main things is that they understand why the rules are there.

"Quite often young people don’t really think about the why, they just think we're trying to spoil their fun."

The programme aims to "help them make low risk decisions and good choices so they can be responsible road users" and focuses on behaviour change, Ms Stanicich said.

"We try to get them from an early age when they’re starting their driving and passenger journey to try to get that behaviour change right from the start because they can pick up potential bad habits from whoever has taught them to drive."

She hoped they left the day feeling empowered to speak up when they felt unsafe.

"It’s not natural for all of our personalities to be outspoken, so if they can [learning something to use] . . . at a time where they are feeling unsafe that they will be able to feel like they can find a way, based on their personality, that they can speak out and get their message across."

Waitaki Girls’ High School, St Kevin’s College, East Otago High School and groups from YMCA South Canterbury and Growing Future Farmers all took part.

Ms Stanicich was really pleased to see the latter two attend.

"That’s been really good to have those other groups come along.

"They’re at the right age group but they’re just

not in your typical high schools."

Waitaki Boys’ High School was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Ms Stanicich was very grateful for the Oamaru police, Waitaki District Council and the Rotary Club of Oamaru for helping run the day.