Police and the NZ Transport Agency are reminding people to start their journey well rested and stay safe on the roads if they are going away for the long weekend.
“This is the first long weekend of the season and we want to encourage everyone to be alert and focused when driving,” says NZTA’s Director Safety and Environment Harry Wilson.
“People might think that driver fatigue means falling asleep at the wheel. This is at the extreme end of the fatigue scale, for most of us it might just be tiredness or weariness after a hard week at work. You can be fatigued enough for it to impair your driving long before you ‘nod off’ at the wheel.”
“When you’re tired your reactions are much slower and your ability to concentrate is reduced. Driver fatigue often combines with other factors, such as alcohol and speed, to cause road crashes. Fatigue needs to be taken very seriously.”
“If you’re taking a long trip, plan your journey to include regular rest breaks at least every two hours and where possible share the driving,” Mr Wilson says.
“Share the road like it’s your family driving around you,” says Superintendent Steve Greally, National Manager Road Policing.
“Drivers can keep themselves and others safe by paying attention to their driving and surroundings, driving to the conditions, never driving impaired, and always wearing their seatbelt.
“This is where Police’s focus remains as well. We know the four main behaviours that contribute to death and serious injury on our roads are people driving distracted, drivers impaired by fatigue, drugs, or alcohol, drivers speeding, and people not wearing their seatbelt.
“It’s based on science, it’s based on fact.
“It’s based on the horrific crashes our officers attend. Crashes they wish they never had to see, with deaths they wish had never happened.
“Everyone who uses our roads has a responsibility to ensure that safety is their first priority. If we all work together, we can make a difference and stop deaths on our roads.”