If you and your family are leaving town these school holidays to enjoy the New Zealand countryside, Police wish you safe travels.
“A safe trip on our roads depends on a number of factors that shouldn’t be left to chance,” says Acting Superintendent Gini Welch, National Manager for Road Policing.
Planning your journey is a key component. Think about the time of day you are travelling, especially if you are unfamiliar with the route. If the journey is a long one, factor in breaks and sharing the driving.
“Remember traffic volumes increase on our roads during school holidays, which increases the risk of serious crashes.
“So make sure you play your part in staying safe on the road. If you’re the driver, put your phone away before you set off, and don’t let people in the car distract you from what you’re doing. It’s your job to get everybody to your destination safely.
“Watch your speed and your following distances. The trip may involve traffic getting out of the main centre – you don’t want to start with a fender bender. The margin for error is also reduced when road and weather conditions aren’t favourable. When you’re travelling at higher speeds on the open road, if anything goes wrong, the speed you’re travelling at will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the crash. So take care and always drive to the conditions.
“Make sure you’re well rested before you set off. Driving fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving drunk or drugged.
“Finally, don’t be complacent about wearing your seatbelt – everybody in the car should be wearing a seatbelt or a child safety restraint. And if the family dog is coming too, it’s a good idea to have them in a car harness or crate.
“Spring weather in New Zealand is temperamental. It can still be cold and icy in places, incredibly windy in others, and sun strike is a major problem at certain times of the day.
“So just keep these things at the front of your mind when you’re on the road and enjoy your journey safely.”