GO Rentals have revealed New Zealand's first driving simulator which has been designed to replicate the on-road conditions of the nation. While New Zealand is a developed nation, the diverse terrain often lead to roadways that are narrow, hilly and windy with plenty of sharp corners, driving conditions that drivers from other developed nations may not have experienced. The goal of the driving simulator is to be proactive and improve driver skills and lower the number of accidents. Three years in the making, the driving simulator is the brainchild of New Zealand Rally Championship driver Rhys Gardener and was designed and developer by Dunedin business CoDrivr. Their plan is to roll out simulators across the country in partnership with rental vehicle companies, airports and regional tourism operators.
Data from international research and safety experts have often regarded driving simulators an effective method of preparing drivers to handle unpredictable roadways and an opportunity to learn in a more forgiving environment. Managing Director James Dalglish released a statement that while the simulator is to target international tourists that plan on driving, New Zealand license holders will also be allowed to gain experience on challenging roads before they get behind they travel the country side. "Our roads have a reputation for being as challenging as they are scenic, and for many drivers the adjustment to different conditions, formats, and topography around the country can be a formidable experience," Dalglish said.
"We're committed to instilling confidence and capability into all drivers, not just those visiting from overseas." Ministry of Transport data from the 2017 Overseas Driver Crashes Report showed that international drivers with licenses were involved in 24 (8 percent) fatal traffic crashes, 114 (5 percent) serious injury crashes, and 506 (7 percent) minor injury crashes in 2016. In comparison, in total in New Zealand that same year there were 286 fatal crashes, 2,099 serious injury crashes, and 7,583 minor injury crashes, indicating that even local drivers have trouble with the roads. The driver simulator has launched at GO Rentals' Queenstown branch with additional simulators expected to be in other branches within the year.