Caution urged on roads this Easter weekend

Drivers are being urged to be cautious and courteous as Easter Weekend approaches.

Police, the NZ Transport Agency and ACC issued the message – Kia mataara, kia ta haere i ngā rori hei ngā rā o Te Aranga – this morning.

“People need to remember road safety is everybody’s responsibility,” says Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Sandra Venables.

She said last Easter, poor driver behaviour and speed were the main contributing factors of crashes.

“The most common factors were people not driving to the conditions, driving under the influence of alcohol, or being distracted.

“We want all road users to take care of themselves and their passengers.”

Police say they’ll be focused on preventing harm and addressing poor driver behaviour this weekend.

“We know the four main behaviours that contribute to road trauma are going too fast for the conditions, impairment (such as fatigue, drugs, or alcohol), distractions (such as using a cell phone), and not wearing seatbelts,” said Assistant Commissioner Venables.

NZ Transport Agency Director Safety and Environment Harry Wilson says because there will be more people on the roads over the holiday weekend it’s important to plan ahead and be patient if you are caught up in traffic.

“We don’t want to see people getting impatient and taking unnecessary risks such as dangerous overtaking manoeuvres or following too closely.”

He said everyone can get real-time travel information at www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz, so it was important people planned their journey and plan to take regular breaks.

Those messages also apply to motorbike riders, says ACC’s Chief Customer Officer Mike Tully.

“We’ve had lots of riders out enjoying the fantastic weather over summer, but sadly 19 riders and two pillions have lost their lives so far this year.

“As we move towards winter, and more challenging conditions on the roads, we want people to ride within their capability; at a pace that feels comfortable, and to wear good quality safety gear.”

He says while motorcycle riding is acknowledged as high risk, knowing how to handle the conditions can reduce that risk.

“That’s why we think Ride Forever safety training courses are so great; we’d love to see every rider do a course – it could be a lifesaver,” Mike Tully says.

Assistant Commissioner Venables says even with all our agencies working together, all road users need to be responsible and look out for each other, so everyone can get where they’re going safely.