Rebecca joined AA here. No, she doesn’t have a drinking problem as far as I know.
AA is what we call AAA, or triple A, in the United States. It provides roadside assistance if you break down, maps and other driving related stuff. I guess like some other things in New Zealand, you don’t get as much here, including the number of A’s.
If you are here or plan to be here more than a year, you are required to get a New Zealand driver’s license. I got mine but Rebecca flunked the eye exam portion of hers, despite being tested on several machines. She claims that her ‘good eye’ wasn’t quite up to snuff on the day of the testing, and also that she can see the big things on the road and that that is enough. I didn’t think so and neither did New Zealand.
Now she is required to see an optometrist here. A significant discount was provided if you were an AA member, hence she joined.
Apparently the road version of the driver’s license testing is fairly strict. One nurse at Rebecca’s hospital has failed it several times. Fortunately, we are not required to take it. It is amazing how much better we have both gotten at driving on the left. We hardly think about it at all. Rarely one of us still turns on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal.
One car I saw on the road this summer (tourist season) had a large piece of cardboard duct-taped to the trunk of the car which said in big block-letters, “I’m driving on the left for the first time!” I kept away.
Matthew, my son, also wants to drive here. Obtaining a learner’s permit is similar to in the United States. New drivers have to be accompanied by a licensed driver for six months, and then they can obtain a restricted license and finally a full-unrestricted license. All cars with drivers with learner’s permits are required to display a large yellow ‘L’ on both the front and rear windows of the car. Supposedly this allows everyone to recognize that this is a beginner driver and make appropriate adjustments—avoiding them or cutting in front of them.