Stay safe on the roads this festive seasonTransport
Transport Minister Steven Joyce is urging motorists to take care on the roads this festive season.
"Summer holidays should be a time for kicking back and relaxing with family and friends but too many Kiwis end up grieving for their loved ones after avoidable tragedies on our roads."
The summer driving period officially begins at 4pm on 24 December and lasts until 6am on 5 January.
It's New Zealand's busiest time on the roads and during this period last year, 18 people were killed, 65 seriously injured and 349 people received minor injuries.
Some of the biggest killers on our roads are speed (36% of deaths so far this year), drink-driving (14% of deaths) and risky over-taking (2% of deaths).
Mr Joyce says there's no excuse for dangerous behaviour.
"Drivers who drink, speed or take other risks are not just taking a gamble with their own lives - but with those of everyone else on the road."
The 2007 road toll was 423, so far this year's stands at 339 with 12 days to go.
"While the 2008 road toll so far indicates a positive downward trend, the number of people killed and injured on our roads is still too high," says Mr Joyce.
"We must remain vigilant in our commitment to road safety and drive to the holiday conditions.
"It's much more important to arrive safely a little later, than to take risks that place you and other road users in jeopardy."
Road Safety Tips
Ø Drive to the conditions, and stay alert and ready to slow down when the road or weather conditions change.
Ø Holiday driving has its special hazards and motorists should be patient and adjust their speed accordingly. There will be a variety of vehicles on the roads - motorbikes, cyclists, trucks, buses and caravans and pedestrians - so take care to share the road.
Ø There is simply no excuse for the big killers on our roads - speeding, alcohol and risky overtaking - take personal responsibility to ensure you don't fit into the big killer category.
Ø Think about the dangers of driver fatigue - recognise the signs of oncoming fatigue and take action, such as pulling over for a 20 minute power nap, getting someone who is not tired to drive or just breaking their journey.
Ø Being distracted from the driving task is also a risk to you and your family. Good drivers just drive.
Ø Follow the simple road rules:
- Have your vehicle checked before travelling
- Always be courteous and patient with other road users
- Always wear your safety belt and ensure passengers do the same
- Be extra vigilant around children, cyclists and pedestrians; and
- Remember good drivers just drive.
Motorcycle safety messages:
- Wear safety gear (e.g. no jandals)
- Roadway position - not lane splitting, overtaking on the left, driving down the shoulder
- Licensed drivers on bikes - have a license before you drive!