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Waikato & Bay of Plenty: Plan your long weekend travel to avoid delays

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The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists heading away this Waitangi Weekend to plan their journey and travel outside peak times to avoid delays.

State highways in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Coromandel are expected to be extremely busy from 4pm today, when holiday traffic hits the roads, the Transport Agency’s regional performance manager, Karen Boyt says.

“On some highways, such as SH1 between Auckland to Waikato and SH2 Mangatawhiri vehicle numbers are estimated to more than double as people race to relax on the beach this long weekend,” she says.

“We expect traffic volumes to be heavy in both directions, so it is important that motorists are prepared for delays, are patient, and drive to the conditions.”

State Highway 1 (SH1) between Hamilton and Karapiro is expected to be busy between 10am and 12pm tomorrow and again on Sunday between the hours of 11am and 4pm.
 
Both SH2 around Waihi and SH25A over the Coromandel Peninsula are expected to be busy, with a peak today between the hours of 6pm and 9pm, tomorrow between 11pm and 3pm, and on Sunday between 9am and 2pm.

People travelling north on the  Desert Road (SH1) are expected to experience delays between 4pm and 6pm today, 10 and 1pm tomorrow and 11am and 3pm on Sunday, due to the traffic.

Ms Boyt says the combination of more vehicles on the road, driver fatigue and other stressful things like heat, traffic delays and noisy children contribute to making the roads riskier during the holidays. 

“Stress-free journeys are safer journeys so it's important that motorists are patient and ready for the possibility of hold-ups when they set out on their holidays,” she says.

“Our websites help you plan ahead and choose the best times to travel and routes to avoid delays and reduce stress. Don’t forget, you can also follow us on twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates

Ms Boyt says it’s also important to remember that we all play a part in making our roads safer for everyone using them.
“We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes on the road can have serious or even deadly consequences. 

“Staying alert, keeping your speeds down, being courteous and driving to the conditions are all key elements of a safe journey for you and your passengers this summer.”

Find out about making every journey safer by visiting www.saferjourneys.govt.nz(external link) 

Check the Transport Agency’s website: www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) for the latest highway information or sign up to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link) for up-to-date information on what is happening on the route you plan to travel. You can also freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS for national and regional travel updates.

Getting there in one piece

Here are the Transport Agency's top tips for driving safely during the long weekend.

  • 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, and even you as a driver (for example being tired or on medication that might affect your driving).

     
  • Watch out for fatigue.  Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel.  Driver fatigue was a factor in 33 road deaths and 109 serious injuries in 2013. Get a good night's sleep beforehand, and plan in advance where you'll take breaks along the way.

     
  • 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 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.  Be sure to take enough games, books and DVDs 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.

For more information please contact:

Natalie Dixon
Waikato / Bay of Plenty Media Manager

T: 07 928 7908
M: 021 928 413
E: natalie.dixon@nzta.govt.nz

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