As people start socialising, driving to work again, and children return to school, Police and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency remind Kiwis we need to take extra care on the roads.
“Some of us may not have driven at all for seven weeks, or will have only taken short trips to the supermarket.
So we may be feeling a bit rusty behind the wheel or overwhelmed by the amount of cars back on the road again,” saying Acting Superintendent Gini Welch, National Road Policing Manager.
“We expect there will be a lot of people out and about this weekend, meeting up with family and friends they haven’t been able to see since before alert level 4.
“We know people will be keen to get a bit of normalcy back in their lives and head to their favourite cafe, the hairdresser, or visit malls with friends.
“We’ll also have children returning to schools on Monday.
So it’s important we remember to all take it easy on the roads this weekend and to slow down around schools next week.
“For parents, it’s also a good time to remind your children and teens about road safety.
Our kids have likely become accustomed to carless roads, so there’s a chance they may be a bit more complacent when they’re crossing roads.
That means reminding them of the basics is a good idea.
“We still came across people speeding during alert levels 4 and 3, so we want to remind motorists to slow down.
Even a small increase in speed results in a much greater increase in your stopping distance, and that in turn has a huge impact on the outcome of a crash.
It may mean the difference between life and death, or walking away versus being carried away with permanent injuries.
“How you act on the roads has an impact on everybody else around you.
So, let’s remember to stay kind and take care of each other,” says Acting Superintendent Welch.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager Road Safety Fabian Marsh says the roads will be much busier with the move to Alert Level 2, and he urged motorists to drive carefully, be alert, keep to the speed limit, and share the road.
“We know that more people are now walking and cycling, and we urge drivers to stay alert and take extra care around cyclists and pedestrians.
We know that people are maintaining physical distances when they’re out walking and cycling, and that is what we want to see.
However, pedestrians and cyclists are also much more vulnerable to injury than drivers in a crash.
If you’re driving a vehicle it’s crucial to stay alert, slow down and give plenty of room when passing people on bikes or on foot.”
Mr Marsh says Waka Kotahi is also urging care when people are driving through road work sites.
“Please be patient and respectful and look out for the workers’ safety and wellbeing.”