Fears of widespread confusion and an increase in accidents at intersections, following the recent change to the right of way rules, have proved unfounded. AA Insurance says that it has received only a handful of claims that can be attributed to the March 25 changes.
"The low volume of claims suggests that New Zealanders understood the changes and drove more cautiously at intersections by reducing their speed and taking their time, pre-empting any rise in incidents," said Suzanne Wolton, Head of Corporate Affairs, AA Insurance. "The handful of claims we received related, for the most part, to driver confusion about how to apply the catchphrase, 'Top of the T goes before me'."
In these cases AA Insurance customers who were turning from the top of the "T" were hit on the front driver's side by third parties turning right from the bottom of the intersection.
The good news for the T-toppers who were hit is that, because they were not at fault, they did not have to pay any excess on the claim.
"Our observation is that drivers are exercising caution and courtesy at intersections during the first two months, with plenty of eye contact and hand and light signals between drivers," said Suzanne. "The overnight change to New Zealand's give way rules was a big step for all road users but all things considered it seems that, as a driving nation, we have got ourselves sorted out pretty quickly, and, when in doubt, we have applied the universal rule: be cautious and courteous.
"Even if you do have an accident as a result of the new give way rules and have car insurance, you should be covered." said Suzanne.
If you are involved in an accident it's important to not try and settle the claim yourself with the other driver. "This limits how we can sort things out with anyone else involved" Suzanne continued. "If you're pressed, say: 'I need to talk with my insurance company. They'll know what to do.'"
The more details you can provide your insurance company, the faster the claim can be settled.
In case of an accident:
- Check that everybody involved in the collision is okay and call the emergency services if necessary
- Don't try to settle the claim yourself - leave it to your insurer
- Keep a pen and paper in the car for writing down details
- Take a picture of the scene with a camera or phone
- Make sure you get the other driver's name, registration and insurance details
- Contact your insurer and provide as much information as you can
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