Enjoy the journey and arrive safely


With the holidays just around the corner and New Zealand already well into the season of Christmas parties, barbecues and other well-earned celebrations, the NZ Transport Agency is urging drivers to make the right choices to keep safe on the road.

“This is a special time of year, and no holiday should be marred by an avoidable tragedy. Deaths and serious injuries on our roads are not inevitable, and every one of us has the power to make good decisions which will keep the roads safer for everyone,” says NZ Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zöllner.

Roads across the South Island are expected to be busy from the middle of this week as people begin to head away.

“More cars on the road, tired drivers and people driving on unfamiliar roads can make holidays not only more stressful but also more risky. We all need to do the simple things right to get where we’re going safely.

“That means keeping your guard up and keeping your speed down, driving sober, watching for the signs of fatigue and sharing the driving.

“Many of the roads around our holiday destinations are narrow and winding. That makes the consequences of making a mistake potentially more dangerous, and it’s another reason to be patient and slow down.

“These types of roads are not designed for high speeds so adjusting your driving can prevent a small mistake from turning into a tragedy,” Mr Zöllner says.

The Transport Agency has also compiled a snapshot of likely traffic congestion hotspots(external link) based on previous holiday congestion, at www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link).

Transport Agency Journey Manager Lee Wright says the hotspot information provides a quick snapshot of highway routes, dates and times where traffic congestion was particularly heavy during the Christmas and New Year holiday period for previous years.

“It’s likely that congestion will be similarly heavy on these dates and times this coming holiday period, and we advise motorists to consider avoiding travel during the times of heaviest congestion,” says Ms Wright.

To minimise delays most road works, barring emergency repairs, around the Southern Region will be stopped from the end of last week to 6 January.

“There will still be some speed restrictions around work sites throughout the holiday period,” said Ms Wright. “Some long-term projects like Mingha Bluff to Rough Creek, on SH73 between the West Coast and Canterbury, will be controlled by traffic lights as it is down to one lane.”

For personalised information about driving conditions on frequently used routes, motorists can sign up to On The Move(external link) at www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)

People travelling around the Southern Region can go to a the Summer Journeys(external link): Be Smart and Plan Ahead web page that tells people what the current journey times are to get to key places. (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/summerjourneys/(external link) )

For real time information on highway conditions and incidents or to report issues on the network visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or follow @nztawaibop on twitter.

The Transport Agency’s top tips for a safe Christmas/New Year holiday on the road

  • Take the time to check your vehicle is safe –tyres/ spare tyre, indicators, windshield wipers, lights.
  • Allow plenty of time – make your journey part of the holiday.
  • Rest stops are important for the driver and passengers.
  • If possible, share the driving.
  • Many drivers will be on unfamiliar roads,(external link) so please be patient as we are all in this situation at some stage.
  • Driving in the holidays(external link) information.