Motorists planning to include Waitangi Day on Tuesday as part of a longer weekend holiday need to plan ahead to avoid congestion on the main routes north, allow extra time for your journey and drive safely.
Check out the NZ Transport Agency traffic data from previous years to see expected travel patterns at www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots
“If you plan to travel outside these times you’ll be giving yourself a much less stressful long weekend, helping to ease congestion and making our roads safer,” says Transport Agency Safety and Environment Director Harry Wilson.
For motorists heading north through Puhoi and Wellsford, traffic is heaviest on Friday between Midday and 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
Returning home on Monday or Tuesday the traffic will be heavy from 10:30am through to 6-8pm.
Traffic heading south out of Auckland is expected to be heaviest on Friday from 10:30am to 8pm. On Monday returning traffic is expected to be heaviest between 3:30pm and 7pm on Monday and between 4:30 and 6:30 on Tuesday.
Wherever you are travelling this weekend, the Transport Agency urges you to drive safely.
“Stay sober, stay alert, keep to the speed limit and drive to the conditions. Make sure everyone wears a seatbelt. Help make our roads safer for yourself, your family, your friends and all other road users this holiday weekend,” says Mr Wilson.
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, your following distance, and adjusting your driving for wet and windy conditions.
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 along the way, and be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.
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. And be sure to take enough games, books, DVDs 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.
Don’t drink and drive. The alcohol limit for adult drivers is now lower, and your judgement and reaction times begin to deteriorate after even one drink. Keep it simple – if you’re going to drink, don’t drive.