Me and My Car: Stephanie Poole of the AA
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Stephanie Poole is the NZ Automobile Association's marketing manager for membership and brand. The AA and New Zealand Motoring Writers' Guild will announce the Car of the Year in Auckland on December 4.
What vehicle do you drive and why did you choose it?
I drive a 2008 Volkswagen Eos 3.2 - a friend of mine owned one and I liked the look and feel of it. Plus it has an automatic folding hardtop ... my previous convertible (a BMW Z3) had a manual roof so was very rarely driven with the top down.
Did working for the AA help you choose your vehicle, did you get advice from colleagues?
We've got a great team of technical advice experts at the AA. I mentioned to them what I was planning to buy, they talked me through the pros and cons, and gave me a list of questions to ask the dealer, such as did it have two keys, was the owner's manual in the car, and had the service record been filled out.
How often do you change cars?
I don't have a deliberate plan.
I'll change my car when I see something else affordable that I like better, or when my driving needs change.
What was your first car?
A 1972 Triumph 2500TC. It had a wood grain interior, and from the driver's seat I could pretend it was a Jaguar.
Who taught you to drive?
I had lessons with a driving instructor. He smoked all the way through my lessons and gave up teaching driving once I got my licence - not sure if my driving was to blame!
What's your favourite NZ road trip?
I don't get to drive this often enough, but the drive between Auckland and Rotorua is one of my favourites - Fitzgerald Glade is a really pretty stretch of road.
What's a good day trip out of Auckland?
The people at the other end of the trip are just as important, so visiting family in Thames and Tokoroa, or meeting them partway for lunch, is always a good day trip.
What are your three top tips to driving in New Zealand?
1. Assume other road users aren't paying as much attention as you are.
2. Keep your eyes open for signs showing speed limit changes.
3. If you feel tired, don't drive.
Any memorable road trips?
My husband and I once toured around the South Island in his Toyota MR2, stopping in scenic places and sleeping in a tent overnight. It was a great chance to see where my husband was born (in Murchison) and grew up (in Nelson), and the MR2 was a fun car to zip around in.
With upcoming Christmas road trips for travelling Kiwis, what are three tips for a safe and hassle-free trip?
1. Take your AA Membership card with you. Use it to make fuel savings at BP and Caltex, and you've got it with you in case your car breaks down and you need our help.
2. Keep your cellphone charged.
3. If you're an AA Member, download our free AA Roadservice app fromaa.co.nz/mobile-app before you hit the roads - it will help the AA locate you quickly and easily if your car does decide to let you down.