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Plan ahead to avoid peak motorway times over Queen's Birthday Weekend

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The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging people in the Auckland and Northland region who are heading away for the long weekend, to plan their travel for a safe and enjoyable trip.

“This is the last long weekend for a few months and the last one before winter really sets in, so many people take the opportunity to head away for a break, or to visit friends and family,” says Auckland Operations Manager Rua Pani. 

Predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and changes in driver travel patterns.

“Going online to plan your journey before getting on the road reduces the chance of experiencing delays during high traffic flows on the highway. Our website www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) will tell you whether there are any travel warnings or closures ahead. You can also check out the cameras to see how traffic is moving in and out of the city,” Ms Pani says. 

“Motorists can also find out what the expected peak travel times are on the Agency’s Queen’s Birthday Weekend www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots to plan their travel and avoid peak holiday traffic.” Based on previous years travel patterns, the web page has maps and graphs showing the busiest times on state highway routes.

There are three hotspot areas for Auckland and Northland:

  • SH1 – Takanini (South of Auckland)
  • SH2 – Maramarua (East of SH1/SH2 Interchange)
  • SH1 – Between Pūhoi and Wellsford

The Transport Agency is predicting the heaviest time for traffic heading north out of Auckland over the long weekend will be 2pm–6pm on Friday on SH1 between Pūhoi and Wellsford. For traffic returning on Monday the busiest time will be between 12–6pm.

For motorists heading south out of Auckland, it’s busiest at Takinini on SH1 between 2pm–8pm on Thursday and midday–7.30pm on Friday. Coming back, the busiest time will be 12.30–7pm on Monday.

Top tips for a safe and enjoyable Queen’s Birthday trip:

Plan ahead
Get your vehicle checked before you head out, plan to avoid peak traffic where you can and give yourself enough time to take plenty of rest or sightseeing breaks along the way.  It’s your holiday after all, so why not make the journey an enjoyable part of it?

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

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 along the way, and be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving. 

Keep your cool
Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient while 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 enough clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  And be sure to take enough games, books, DVDs 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. 

Don’t drink and drive
The alcohol limit for adult drivers is now lower, and your judgement and reaction times begin to deteriorate after even one drink. Keep it simple – if you’re going to drink, don’t drive.

Check the latest weather conditions and warnings here:

Motorists can get real time information from:

For Auckland and Northland

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