The NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists planning to head away for a well-earned break that preparing for a safe holiday journey is about more than just packing a suitcase.
Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner says a number of factors can make holiday driving riskier, including increased traffic volumes, people driving long-distances on unfamiliar roads, driver fatigue and the general stress from heat, traffic jams and noisy children.
“All of these things can make holiday driving difficult, and everyone makes mistakes, but by planning ahead you can make things easier on yourself and make sure you get to your destination safely. That means making sure your vehicle and its tyres are in good nick, avoiding alcohol, getting some rest before getting behind the wheel, and checking the latest road conditions before heading off.”
Mr Zollner said the Agency had also crunched data from last year’s Christmas New Year to compile a list of likely holiday congestion hot spots - to help drivers plan ahead to avoid the queues, and is offering the ‘top tips’ below for a safe holiday journey.
Getting there in one piece – top tips for safe holiday driving
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.
Find out about making every journey safer by visiting www.saferjourneys.govt.nz(external link)
For the latest travel information go to www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) or call the NZTA Freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49). You can also follow the @nzta_news twitter feed(external link) for updates on road conditions, delays and closures or subscribe for email updates at www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link).
For more information please contact:
NZ Transport Agency