Winter is coming. The upcoming long Queen’s Birthday weekend coincides with the start of winter on Monday (1 June) and the NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to adjust their driving to winter conditions to keep everyone safe on the roads.
The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging all drivers to do their bit to help improve on last year’s Queens Birthday road toll of five deaths and avoid a repeat of the tragic weekend recently that saw 11 people die on the roads.
National Safety Director Ernst Zöllner says there are several factors that combined make this holiday weekend potentially risky on the roads.
“We have seen unprecedented increases in traffic volumes across many parts of the state highway network in recent years. There are more cars using the roads than ever before, and with many people heading out of town to take advantage of the last long weekend for a few months, state highways across the country are expected to be even busier than usual.”
“Add the forecast wintry weather to that mix with wet, windy and icy conditions and driving can be even more of a challenge.”
Mr Zöllner says drivers need to slow down, watch their following distances, take care when passing and taking corners and drive to the conditions.
“Drivers should adjust their habits. The room for mistakes is much smaller when there are more cars on the road and reduced road conditions. Potentially dangerous driving habits that some motorists may have got away with in the past are far riskier.”
Mr Zöllner says long weekends are a good opportunity for all road users to share in the responsibility of making our roads safer.
He says people also need to plan ahead before heading off by checking on road conditions and traffic congestion, as well as making sure your vehicle is ready for winter.
NZ Transport Agency’s top winter driving tips:
The NZ Transport Agency’s checklist for a winter-ready vehicle:
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 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. Freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS for national and regional travel updates.
During Queens Birthday weekend in 2014 there were 3 fatal crashes and 87 reported injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 5 deaths, 25 serious injuries and 92 minor injuries.
The official holiday period for Queen's Birthday Weekend for 2015 will begin at 4pm Friday 29 May and end at 6am Tuesday 2 June.