With Gisborne hosting the popular Rhythm and Vines festival, roads in and around the region are expected to be busy over the New Year holiday period, so Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging people to stay safe and plan ahead.
“It’s been a long and stressful year, and many people will be looking forward to a well-deserved holiday. The roads are expected to be busy this year as we welcome more domestic tourists to Gisborne,” Senior Network and Journey Manager Helen Harris says.
“Traffic will be particularly busy from December 28 through to January 1, with many visitors coming to town to celebrate New Years’ Eve and be among the first to see the sun rise in 2021.
“Some local roads will be closed for Rhythm and Vines, which will impact on the state highway network. This will all be sign posted so motorists should follow the message boards and be patient.
“There will also be a fatigue stop on State Highway 2 through the Waioeka Gorge on December 28 so motorists should be prepared to stop for Police.”
Ms Harris is urging everyone to do their bit to keep the roads safe this summer.
“There may be some congestion and delays during busy times which can be frustrating, but the most important thing is that everyone gets to their destination safely,” Ms Harris says.
“Plan ahead by checking out our real-time traffic updates(external link) online before heading off, leave plenty of time for your journey and drive to the conditions.
“Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone on the road at risk. Even when it isn’t the direct cause of a crash, speed is often the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or killed. For everyone’s safety, please slow down.
“We’re also reminding farmers to check their fences and ensure that stock is safely secured so that they can’t wander onto the state highway. Animals on the roads present a major safety risk, particularly when traffic is busier, so farmers must ensure they are kept off the road.”
Waka Kotahi will also be erecting more signage in the coming days to remind motorists to dispose of their litter appropriately.
“Litter on the state highway has been an ongoing issue in the region. Our contractors work hard to carry out important activities on our roads to keep people safe. They shouldn’t have to remove empty beer bottles or fast food packaging from the side of the highway,” Ms Harris says.
“Rubbish can be dangerous for motorists and the clean-up can put the safety of our road workers at risk. The clean-up also diverts resource and funding from other important road maintenance activities. This all completely avoidable if everyone cleans up after themselves.”
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.
Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer. Keep up to date with: