Slow down, buckle up, and plan ahead for a safe Labour Day weekend


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and New Zealand Police are asking Kiwis to plan ahead, slow down, and buckle up for a safe 2020 Labour Day long weekend.

“Many roads around the country are likely to be very busy before and during the long weekend, and we’re anticipating high volumes of traffic on many state highways and some local roads. Congestion and some 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," says Greg Lazzaro, Waka Kotahi General Manager Safety, Health and Environment.

NZ Police Acting Superintendent Gini Welch says buckling up and driving at a safe speed are two ‘must do’s’ for safe holiday journeys.

“The biggest life saver you have in your vehicle is your right foot. That foot controls your speed and your braking. Just like physics teaches us, the faster you’re going – the greater the impact. So less speed, means less harm,”  says Acting Superintendent Welch.

“The next biggest life saver you have is your seatbelt. If something goes wrong, that belt could save your life.

“This is our first long weekend since June, and with travel restricted to our own backyard there will be more traffic on our roads. More traffic means more risk, just by sheer volume. So it’s even more important to remember the safety basics like wear your seatbelt and drive to the conditions.

“You don’t need to drive right up to the speed limit. If the road is wet or windy, slow down. And if you’re in traffic, it’s just as important to watch your speed and your following distance from the car in front. You need to give yourself space to react if something goes wrong up ahead.”

Greg Lazzaro says travel may be more spread out across the country this year with holiday makers taking the opportunity to have a longer break either side of Labour Day weekend and exploring different regions to normal.

“Leaving at non-peak hours can make travel safer, less stressful and more enjoyable.  You can plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable Labour Day weekend with the help of our on-line holiday journeys map.”

The holiday journeys map shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the Labour Day weekend on popular holiday travel routes, based on previous years travel patterns. 

Holiday journeys map(external link)

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, also check our real time Journey Planner for the latest traffic and travel information before you head off.  Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Journey Planner is a great tool to help you plan your trip with real time travel information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures just before you head off.

Journey Planner(external link)

On-road safety

  • Slow down and buckle up.
  • Drive to the conditions.
  • Keep a safe following distance.
  • Be patient when driving on the roads this long weekend so everyone can relax and enjoy the holiday together.
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert.
  • Allow plenty of time. You’re on holiday, no need to rush.

Vehicle safety

  • Planning a trip for Labour Day weekend? Checked your tyres? Put the safety of you and your passengers first and make sure your WoF is up-to-date before you head off.
  • Your vehicle must be safe to drive, so before you head off on your journey, check our car safety basics guide at

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