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Plan ahead and drive safely over Queen’s Birthday Weekend

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging drivers heading away for Queen’s Birthday Weekend in the Auckland and Northland region to take care and be prepared for heavy traffic, delays and changeable weather.

After the COVID-19 restrictions keeping people close to home for the last couple of months, Queen's Birthday is a last chance for a long weekend away before winter sets in. We could be in for a very busy weekend on the roads,” says Auckland Operations Manager Rua Pani.

“Metservice is forecasting rain for Auckland and Northland - not enough to break the drought in the north or to solve Auckland’s water shortage, but enough for drivers to need to take care, drive to the conditions, and be patient on the roads.”

“It may have been some time since people last drove a significant distance, so it’s important they check their vehicles are safe and roadworthy and that they be fully prepared for the journey. That means leaving more time for their travel, checking the road conditions before they leave and driving to the conditions once on the road.”

“Make sure everyone has their seatbelts on, remove distractions and stay focused on driving, don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking or are tired; and drive at a safe speed for the conditions.”

“We want people to arrive safely at their destinations and get home again without incident.”

Last Queen’s Birthday Weekend, there were 6 fatal crashes and 115 reported injury crashes across the country, with nearly 40% of crashes involving single vehicles where drivers lost control or ran off the road. 

Tips for safe long-distance driving:

  • Check weather and travel conditions on highways before you start your trip and on breaks throughout your journey - use www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link) or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
  • Plan your journey, prepare for delays, and be mindful of other road users.
  • Drive to the road and weather conditions
  • Slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards
  • If you are travelling long distances, share the driving and have regular breaks.
  • Wear your seat belt throughout the journey and check your passengers have theirs clicked in too.
  • Allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead
  • Avoid travel in bad weather if you can. Allow extra time if your travel can’t be delayed.
  • Don’t attempt to overtake other traffic unless it’s completely safe to do so – it’s not worth the risk.
  • Ensure your car is safe and equipped: spare tyre, warrant of fitness up-to-date, lights, brakes and wind-wipers all working, clean windscreen inside and out.

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