Kaipara College does RYDA by Lauren Morley, Year 13 Student Kaipara College

Since 2001, the RYDA (Rotary Youth Driver Awareness) programme has been educating young New Zealanders on road safety and awareness in schools. On Wednesday, August 10th, 2022, the Year 12s at Kaipara College were fortunate enough to take part in this programme. Much to the excitement of us students, this programme caused a cancellation of all classes for the day, and instead of a regular day filled with math equations and English essays, we moved around different stations, each filled with a new, fun activity relating to driver safety.
With approximately 230 deaths on our road so far this year, the need for driver education has never been more evident, especially for those of us who are new to the road. While not all students who took part in RYDA are driving, a main part of the course focuses on awareness on the road. This, in turn, creates not only better drivers, but also better cyclists, passengers and pedestrians. It’s all about keeping each other safe.
The staff who are part of the RYDA programme incorporated many people from all walks of life. Each session was incredibly interesting and engaging. These sessions included things such as using simple questions to determine our driving personality, creating scenarios that focussed on limiting distractions, and identifying hazards on the road. We also had the opportunity to listen to a couple of policemen: both have been front-line officers for over 20 years. They focused on the importance of responsible driving while on a restricted licence, as this group has the highest crash rate. The most exciting session of the day took us out onto Awaroa Road where we watched a driving instructor brake suddenly while speeding – many of us were shocked at how long it takes to come to a stop. This session ended with the car hitting a dummy. Although this isn’t appealing in a real-life sense, us students sure found it fun to watch.
The most impactful session of the day gave us the chance to speak to a woman named Kelly. In 2011, Kelly’s life changed in a single moment after a car crash on an Auckland motorway. With the number of deaths on our roads, it is easy to forget the massive impact on a person, as well as their family and friends, when serious injury comes from a car accident. Ever since Kelly’s accident, she has been taking part in many forms of rehabilitation, some of which included relearning to talk and walk. Kelly’s story is just one of many, and it was nothing short of inspirational. It only took a quick glance around the room to see that Kelly’s story resonated with everyone; she captivated the room. As a participant in the RYDA programme, I, along with many other students, are incredibly grateful to Kelly for dedicating her time to educating us on the importance of driver awareness.

Students participating in RYDA

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