As Wellingtonians prepare to embark on their summer holidays, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has updated its online holiday journeys traffic prediction tool to help people plan ahead and avoid delays.
The tool shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the Christmas and New Year holiday, based on previous year’s travel patterns.
“Many people will be heading off on a well-deserved holiday over the coming days, after what’s been a stressful year. Given fewer people will be travelling overseas, we expect traffic to be particularly busy this year with more domestic tourism,” Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says.
“Traffic is always heavy in and out of Wellington during the Christmas and New Year period, particularly on State Highway 1.
“It’s inevitable that there will be congestion and delays at peak times, so people may like to consider avoiding travel during peak times to make their journey safer and more enjoyable.
“For people heading north, traffic will be busy on State Highway 1 on the Kapiti Coast from 9am through to 6pm most days, with Wednesday and Thursday prior to Christmas Day predicted to be particularly busy between 1pm and 5.30pm. State Highway 2 heading north over the Remutaka Hill will be slightly less busy.
“For those heading south into Wellington on State Highway 1, traffic is predicted to be busy most days from 11am to 6pm, particularly after Christmas. Traffic will be especially heavy on January 2 and 3 between 1pm and 7pm as people head home from their holiday.
“We’re encouraging people to use our holiday journeys tool to help plan their trip, but as this year is a bit unusual with fewer international tourists and more Kiwis traveling around New Zealand it is hard to predict exactly what traffic patterns will look like. That’s why it’s also worth checking our real time updates online before heading off.”
Mr Owen also urged drivers to play their part to stay safe on the roads these holidays.
“We know that congestion and delays can be frustrating, but the most important thing is that everyone gets to their destination safely. Please plan ahead, be patient 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.”
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. Keep up to date with: