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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty to do their part in keeping the roads safe this holiday season by planning ahead, driving sober, buckling up and slowing down.

Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton 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.

“In the Waikato, delays are predicted on State Highway 2 Maramarua. Further delays are predicted on State Highway 1 south of Cambridge at Karapiro and on State Highway 25 at Tairua.

“In the Bay of Plenty, motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Ranges, on Sh2 between Paeroa and Waihi and again between Katikati and Tauranga.

“There will be roadside electronic signs displaying estimated journey times at key locations between Auckland and Tauranga to help motorists make informed decisions about their route and ease some of the congestion.

“Traffic between Katikati and Tauranga is expected to be at its heaviest in the days leading up to 3 January, due to the Bay Dreams event in Mount Maunganui.”

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 Waikato and Bay of Plenty 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.”

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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