The NZ Transport Agency says there are several factors which combined mean Auckland and Northland drivers should take extra care on the roads this Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Safety Director Ernst Zöllner says the onset of winter, higher traffic volumes across the Auckland and Northland network as well as the extra cars from people heading away for the long weekend make this holiday weekend potentially risky on the roads.
“We’re encouraging all drivers to do their bit to help improve last year’s Queen’s Birthday road toll of five deaths and avoid a repeat of the tragic weekend recently that saw 11 people die as a result of road crashes.”
“This long weekend coincides with the start of winter on Monday (1 June) and we encourage all motorists to adjust their driving to winter conditions to keep everyone safe on the roads.”
He says unprecedented growth in traffic in recent years adds to the combination of risk factors.
“There are more cars using the roads than ever before, and with many people heading out of town to take advantage of the last long weekend for a few months, state highways across the country are expected to be even busier than usual.”
“Add the forecast wintry weather to that mix with wet, windy and icy conditions and driving can be even more of a challenge.”
“Drivers should adjust their habits. The room for mistakes is much smaller when there are more cars on the road and reduced road conditions. Potentially dangerous driving habits that some motorists may have got away with in the past are far riskier.”
Mr Zöllner says long weekends are a good opportunity for all road users to share in the responsibility of making our roads safer.
The Transport Agency also advises of the following road works and closures. Drivers are asked to observe any speed limit restrictions and watch their following distances through road works sites.
The NZ Transport Agency’s top winter driving tips:
Mr Zöllner says people also need to plan ahead before heading off by checking on road conditions and traffic congestion, as well as making sure your vehicle is ready for winter.
The NZ Transport Agency’s checklist for a winter-ready vehicle:
Find out about making every journey safer by visiting www.saferjourneys.govt.nz
Check the Transport Agency’s website: www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) for the latest highway information or sign up towww.onthemove.govt.nz(external link) for up-to-date information on what is happening on the route you plan to travel. Freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS for national and regional travel updates.
During Queens Birthday weekend in 2014 there were 4 fatal crashes and 86 reported injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 6 deaths, 24 serious injuries and 92 minor injuries.
The official holiday period for Queen's Birthday Weekend for 2015 will begin at 4pm Friday 29 May and end at 6am Tuesday 2 June.