Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on drivers to give the road their full attention and avoid taking risks if heading away over the holiday period.
With 311 people killed already this year, including 19 so far this month, and many people heading away for Christmas and the school holidays, Brake is urging drivers to do everything they can to keep themselves and other road users safe by remembering some key road safety messages.
The charity is urging drivers to make sure their vehicle is fit for the road before setting off, by checking tyre pressure and tread depth, oil and water levels, windscreen wipers, and making sure that lights and indicators are working.
The start of the Christmas period means more people on the road in many parts of the country. Brake is urging drivers to plan their journey in advance to ensure they have plenty of time to reach their destination so they don’t feel rushed and can take breaks every two hours on long journeys.
Brake is also reminding drivers of the other key road safety messages of the Brake Pledge:
Slow: Drive within speed limits, drive at 30km/h or lower in communities, and slow down on rural roads too. Avoid overtaking unless you’re sure it’s safe.
Sober: If driving, don’t drink any alcohol, or take any illegal drugs. Also be aware of medications that could affect driving and follow your doctor’s or pharmacist’s advice.
Sharp: Drive alert – not tired, ill or stressed. Plan your journey so you have plenty of time, and take breaks every two hours on long journeys. Have an eye test at least every two years and wear glasses or contact lenses if you need them.
Silent: Phone off or on message service. Set your GPS/sat nav, music etc before setting off, and pull over in a safe place if you need to change or check your GPS. Minimise other distractions as much as possible.
Secure: Always belt up and insist that everyone else in the vehicle does the same and adjusts head restraints. If travelling with children, ensure you have correctly fitted, appropriate child restraints.
Sustainable: Only drive when you have to.
Caroline Perry, Brake’s New Zealand director said, “Already this year more than 300 families have been given the devastating news that a loved one won’t be coming home. This time of year can be particularly risky because lots of us drive long distances with our families, risking fatigue, distractions and speeding in order to get to our destination. But the consequence could be that you don’t get there at all. We want everyone to get to their destination safely and enjoy the holiday period, so slow down, keep your attention on the road and take regular breaks.”