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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Taranaki motorists are being asked to do their part in keeping the roads safe this holiday season by planning ahead, driving sober, buckling up and slowing down.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says more cars on the road, tired drivers and people driving on unfamiliar roads can make holiday driving stressful and risky.

“We can all take simple actions to stay safe. That means checking your car is safe before your journey, keeping your speed down, driving sober, watching for the signs of fatigue and sharing the driving.

“Allow plenty of extra time to make sure you get to your holiday destinations safely. Remember, you’re on holiday, so there’s no need to rush.”

Where possible, motorists are asked to plan ahead and travel outside peak periods. The Waka Kotahi interactive Holiday Journeys map – journeys.nzta.govt.nz/summer-2020(external link) – shows when and where traffic is expected to be heavy based on travel patterns from previous years.

“Motorists travelling between Taranaki and the Waikato are advised to allow additional time due to significant work sites on State Highway 3, including the Awakino Tunnel Bypass project.”

However, because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, we suggest you visit our Journey Planner website – journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link) – before you leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

With fewer people travelling overseas because of COVID-19 this year, the Christmas-New Year holiday period is expected to be a very busy time on Taranaki roads.

“We don’t want anyone’s holiday to be marred by an avoidable tragedy on the roads. Deaths and serious injuries on our roads are not inevitable, and New Zealanders don’t need to accept that serious crashes are just another part of the holidays.

“We’re all human and we can all make mistakes, but every one of us also has the power to make decisions which will keep the roads safer for everyone. Mistakes are inevitable – deaths and serious injuries from crashes aren’t.”

Ms Speight says while most work stops before busy holiday travel periods like Christmas and New Year to minimise disruption to people’s journeys, there would be a large amount of work on state highways across Taranaki in the new year.

“This work is essential for the safety and resilience of the state highway network, so we ask motorists to be patient, understanding and drive to the conditions.

“Within our worksites, we regularly see vehicles travelling at speeds over the temporary speed limit, passing other vehicles where it is unsafe to do so and clipping road cones, all of which puts themselves, other road users and our road workers at risk.  Our contractors also frequently deal with aggressive and abusive motorists.

“Ultimately, motorists need to put themselves in the boots of our workers and understand the very real danger their driving behaviour can create, not just for our workers, but for themselves and other road users as well.

Ms Speight says roadworkers are all someone’s, husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. They go to work, do long hours, and expect to go home safely at the end of the day.

“If you find yourself delayed by roadworks, use the time to relax, have a stretch or wind down your windows and get some fresh air. You will soon be on your way again.”

Tips for safe driving on your summer holiday

Drive to the conditions, allow plenty of time and take regular breaks to stay alert.

  • Be patient when driving this summer so everyone can relax and enjoy the holidays together.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Drive to the conditions – whether it’s the weather, the condition of the road you’re on, the time of day or the volume of traffic on the roads.
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert.
  • Allow plenty of time. You’re on holiday, no need to rush.

Vehicle safety

  • Your vehicle must be safe to drive before you set off on your summer holiday.
  • There are basic checks you can do yourself, including:
  • Tyres – minimum tread is 1.5mm but the more tread, the better the grip.
  • Lights – check lights work so your vehicle is visible in poor light.
  • Indicators – ensure all indicators work so people know which direction you are moving.
  • Windscreen and wipers – check for wear and tear so you can see the road safely.
  • For more information on self-checks, visit our website at nzta.govt.nz/twirl(external link)

 Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer. Keep up to date with:

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