Avoid the worst holiday traffic with the Waka Kotahi online prediction tool


Kiwis will be hitting the road in droves over the summer holidays this year, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has updated our on-line Holiday Journeys traffic prediction tool to help people plan ahead and minimise delays. The tool shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday based on previous year’s travel patterns.

“It’s been a long, stressful year for many people, and holiday traffic is predicted to be particularly busy this year from domestic tourism due to pent up travel demand and the lack of international travel options. Kiwis will be exploring our own backyard in record numbers, and that means the roads to and from our popular holiday spots are likely to be very busy,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Journey Manager Neil Walker.

“Some congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times, and starting your trip at non-peak times can make the journey safer and more enjoyable.  We’ve also crunched the numbers from traffic volumes for previous holiday periods and used that data to make our best predictions for when and where traffic will be heaviest this year.

“We’re encouraging people to use our holiday journeys tool to help plan their trips, but it’s hard to predict exactly what travel patterns will look like this summer with international tourists out of the mix and more Kiwis on the road, so we’re also encouraging people to check our real time updates on-line before they leave.” 

Holiday Journeys traffic prediction tool (external link)

Real time updates(external link)

Mr Walker also urged drivers to do their part to stay safe on the roads these holidays.

“If everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, the worst of the frustrations can be eased and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination. We want you here for Christmas – please drive safely.”

Top tips for safe holiday journeys

Plan ahead.  Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive and has a current WoF. Check your tyre pressure, lights and indicators, windscreen and wipers before you head off, and plan ahead to avoid peak traffic where you can. Build in extra time for rest stops or sightseeing breaks along the way. Waka Kotahi has crunched the numbers from previous holiday periods to produce a great interactive map which can help you avoid some of the busiest times on our busiest roads.

Don’t drink and drive.  Your judgement and reaction times behind the wheel begin to deteriorate after even one drink. Keep it simple – if you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Also be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.

Watch out for fatigue.  Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand, plan in advance where you’ll take breaks, and share the driving if you can.

Slow down and drive to the conditions.  This isn’t just about the speed limit, it’s also about the weather conditions, the road you’re on, the traffic, your vehicle and load, your following distance, and adjusting your driving for wet and windy conditions.

Keep your cool.  Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, stifling heat, and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient on the roads.  Don’t get provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour, and wait to overtake until you get to a passing lane or can see plenty of clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  And be sure to take enough games, books, or electronics to keep the kids occupied along the way.

Buckle up. Don’t let your family holiday be marred by tragedy simply because someone didn’t buckle up. If you’re the driver, you are legally responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 15 are securely restrained with either a safety belt or child restraint.  Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

Check your car – safety basics

Driving in the holidays


Editors’ notes:

Improving safety on New Zealand roads is a top priority for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Waka Kotahi is committed to Vision Zero, which aspires to a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.  Waka Kotahi and Police are working together with local government and others to deliver Road to Zero, the government’s road safety strategy for 2020-2030. Road to Zero aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next 10 years. 

Road to Zero(external link)


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