Hacks to make travel to your holiday destination safe and enjoyable


As Wellingtonians start to pack their bags for their summer holidays, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging everyone to plan ahead for a safe and enjoyable journey to their destination.

“It’s been another long and stressful year and we know many people will be heading off on their well-deserved holidays over the coming days,” Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager Mark Owen says.

“Traffic will be busy over the Christmas and New Year period, particularly on State Highway 1 in and out of Wellington. Congestion and delays are inevitable at peak times, so people may like to consider avoiding travel during these times to make their journey safer and more enjoyable.”

Waka Kotahi has updated the online holiday journeys traffic prediction tool(external link) which shows predicted traffic flow over the Christmas and New Year holiday, based on previous year’s travel patterns. This handy ‘trip hack’ can help people plan their journeys and avoid delays.

State Highway 1 heading north out of Wellington is expected to busiest on Christmas Eve, for most of the day but particularly between 10am and 3pm. Monday 27 December is also expected to be particularly busy for most of the day, with heavy traffic starting from about 9am through to 6pm.

For people heading north on State Highway 2 over the Remutaka Hill, traffic is also expected to be busy over the Christmas and New Year period, particularly between 10am and 3pm most days.

“We want everyone to get to their destinations safely. More cars on the road, tired drivers and people driving on unfamiliar roads can make holiday driving stressful and risky. But there are simple things we can all do to stay safe,” Mr Owen says.

“We encourage everyone to check their car is safe before heading off, keep speeds down, drive sober, watch for signs of fatigue and share the driving, if possible.

“Always drive to the conditions, which can change quickly. Check the weather forecast before leaving home, as well as our real-time traffic updates(external link) for any incidents or closures.”

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 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.
  • Check that the Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness is up-to-date on any vehicle you plan to drive, including rentals.
  • 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/vehicles/choosing-the-right-vehicle/check-your-car-safety-basics/(external link)

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