Traffic delays are inevitable this Auckland Anniversary weekend but planning ahead and allowing plenty of time for your long weekend getaway will help you stay safe and avoid the queues.
The NZ Transport Agency is expecting people will make the most of the long weekend and that means traffic will be busy on highways north and south of Auckland.
“With plenty of traffic likely on the region’s highways, it’s important drivers factor in plenty of time for their journeys,” says Brett Gliddon, the Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager.
“The trick is to be clever and plan your journey outside the times and routes when everyone else is on the move,” says Mr Gliddon.
On long weekends the traffic tends to start building from about 10 o’clock on Friday morning and remains heavy through until around 9pm. The heaviest flows are in the afternoon between 2pm and 8pm.”
The weather plays a big part in determining the busy periods heading home again on Monday.
“If it’s sunny people tend to squeeze the last bit of sunshine out of the day and don’t head home until mid-afternoon or late evening, if the weather’s not so great people return home earlier and we see plenty of traffic between midday and the early evening.”
One of the busiest highways will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland with more than 21,000 trips a day during previous anniversary weekends.
People using the Northern Gateway Toll Road can make the journey even more hassle free by prepaying their tolls at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link).
“For those travelling between Auckland and Northland, State Highway 16 is a really good option to avoid congestion on SH1 around Warkworth,” says Mr Gliddon.
State Highway 2 to Coromandel is another busy area for people heading out of town on Friday and returning again on Monday.
Plan ahead by signing up to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link) to get email notifications about road and traffic conditions where you plan on travelling, or check the Traffic and Travel pages at www.nzta.govt.nz(external link).
Don’t forget to check twitter and facebook for regular updates on delays, incidents and congestion hotspots.
Delays, heat, noisy children and fatigue are all factors that can lead to crashes, so give the road the attention it deserves.
Last year alcohol and motorists driving too fast for the conditions caused nearly half of all crashes in Auckland.
The Transport Agency advises drivers to stay sober and alert, watch your speed, make sure everyone is wearing a correctly fitted seatbelt, be courteous to other road users and drive to the conditions – these are things all motorists can contribute to making the roads safer.