Race to be country's safest driver taking place on NZ roads this Easter

Don't worry, there's no street racing involved in this competition.
Don't worry, there's no street racing involved in this competition. Photo credit: Getty

Among those us getting in our cars and going on a road trip this Easter will be drivers across New Zealand taking part in a race to be the best in the country. But if you think this means there will be cars racing at high speeds down the main streets across Aotearoa, don't worry -it will actually be quite the opposite.

Users of the app GoCarma will be competing to achieve the safest drive over the holiday weekend and in order to achieve that they must stick to the speed limit and strictly follow the road code.

The app uses Bluetooth technology to track your speed, turning and braking skills and gives each drive a score out of 100. 

Michael Ross from Christchurch is a user of GoCarma and recently won the north vs south driving competition by recording the highest number of safely driven kilometres in one month.

He's sitting with an average score of 75 out of 100 per drive and says it's down to being vigilant about his speed and his patience on the road.

"I'm out every day doing something in the car but I believe that it's better to get there two minutes late than to not get there at all, so I'm conscious about my speed," Ross said.

While the app was launched by Tower Insurance, it's available to all drivers on both Apple and Android devices.

Research from Tower shows more than a third of drivers admit to looking at their mobile phone while driving and to running orange lights. Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders admit to driving when tired. 

GoCarma top tips for safe driving this long weekend:

  • Don't be a distracted driver. Keep your phone in the boot or backseat and keep anything you may need close to you, such as water, so you're not reaching into the back while driving.
  • Look further ahead so that you can smoothly moderate your acceleration and braking ahead of road conditions in front of you.
  • Keep to the speed limit. The faster you drive, the less time you have to respond to hazards ahead.
  • Be alert. Driving when you're tired, weary or exhausted slows your reflexes and affects your ability to concentrate and make good decisions.
  • Be safe. Claims for motor vehicle and home burglaries increased by 50 percent around Easter 2019. Make sure your home is secure and your car is parked in a safe or well lit place.

Tower is currently running competitions for users of the app with prizes from tourism start up Chuffed Gifts, which offers travel experiences rather than items as gift alternatives, and at the same time supports regional economies and struggling tourism businesses.