Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable summer holiday journey - Wellington region


With Wellington drivers preparing to embark on their summer holidays, the NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to plan ahead and make the right choices.

"Roads in and out of Wellington are always busy around Christmas and New Year, particularly on State Highway 1,” the Transport Agency’s Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says.

“Congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times, but if everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, the worst of the frustrations can be eased and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination.

“For people heading out of Wellington, traffic is 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 is heaviest between 10am and 5pm.”

Following congestion on the new State Highway 1 alignment between Mackays Crossing and Paekakariki over the weekend and early this week, the road is continuing to be monitored and swept free of any chips that becomes loose.

“We expect traffic flows to improve by Friday as the chipseal beds in and drivers get used to the new alignment, but we know that State Highway 1 is always busy at this time of year so there are bound to be congestion and delays,” Mr Owen says.

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 is lighter, either early in the morning or late at night,” Mr Owen says.

“Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and 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. 

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey this summer. Keep up to date with: