Stay safe and plan ahead when travelling through Wellington this summer


With Wellington drivers preparing to embark on their summer holidays, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists to plan ahead, be patient and drive to the conditions.

"Traffic is always heavy in and out of Wellington during the Christmas and New Year period, particularly on State Highway 1,” Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says.

“Congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times. We know how frustrating this can be for motorists, but the most important thing is that everyone arrives safely at their destination.

“We’re reminding motorists to drive to the conditions, keep a safe following distance and be patient in high traffic flows. Everyone needs to take responsibility to stay safe on our roads.

“For people heading out of Wellington, traffic will be particularly heavy on State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast from 9am through to 5pm in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve. For those heading into Wellington, it will be heaviest between 10am and 5pm.”

The Transport Agency has produced an interactive holiday journeys map(external link) which shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the summer holidays, based on previous years’ travel patterns.

“This is a great tool which can help you decide whether to take an alternative route or leave when traffic flows are lighter, either early in the morning or late at night,” Mr Owen says.

“Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather or even driver behaviour, motorists should also check our journey planner website(external link) just before they head off, which provides traffic information and updates on delays, road works and road closures in real time.”

Tips for safe driving on your summer holiday: 

  • Check your car is in good “health” before you head off. Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
  • Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
  • Drive to the conditions - whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks to stay alert.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Be patient – overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Allow plenty of time. Remember you are on holiday, so there’s no need to rush. 

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