Hastings Police officer Senior Constable Chris Leppien knows it’s not easy getting a driver’s licence – that’s why she’s developed a resource to make the journey a little smoother.
Chris has created a suite of videos and tip sheets for budding drivers and their families to help them navigate the steps to passing the practical driving test.
She’s developed the resources from what she’s seen from her years of mentor driving a range of people in the community.
“A lot of my teaching is around storytelling and shaping the resources to suit the audience," says Chris. "By putting stories to things that drivers need to remember, they seem to understand and retain it.
"For example... When turning left you're required to do a shoulder check. Why do we shoulder check? We're checking for Bob. Who's Bob? Bob is on his bike. DON’T HIT BOB!"
Chris says the resources have been developed so that as the driver masters each skill, their trainer can tick it off.
“Currently everyone is teaching learner drivers their habits, which often aren’t completely correct or sufficient to pass the required standard.
"Not everyone can afford to pay to get professional driving lessons, and without them it is very difficult to pass the practical test.
"It’s the safety checks that makes someone a safe driver and that is the part which is needed to pass the practical test.”
Chris says shoulder checking, following distance, vehicle positioning and mirror checking are things that keep new drivers and others safe.
"Unless they can demonstrate the technical skills, they will not pass.”
RoadSafe Hawke’s Bay has worked with Chris and provided the funding that has allowed these resources to be developed.
RoadSafe HB, who work jointly with Police and other key stakeholders to contribute to a reduction in the incidence and severity of road traffic crashes, say the resource will help produce safe competent drivers.
Chris says it’s taken her years to develop her teaching style and often it is tweaked to suit the person.
“I am hoping the videos will cater for a wide range of learning styles.”
Chris tested the videos and tip sheets with students and parents at Havelock North High School (HNHS) earlier this year.
Helen Tasker of HNHS says Chris presented the resources to parents and students and the feedback has been amazing, with parents now better prepared to assist their children to become safer and more confident drivers.
"We know that students have more opportunities available to them when they are on their restricted licence," she says. "These resources will help our students to get there sooner."
The resources are easily accessible by scanning a QR code, pictured above, which takes people to a web page where they can be downloaded.
“My hope is the resource will help to produce safe and competent drivers on our roads,” says Chris.