Thursday, May 6, 2021
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PLAN AHEAD AND DRIVE SAFELY OVER WAITANGI DAY LONG WEEKEND

Motorists going away for the Waitangi Day weekend are urged to plan ahead to avoid busy travel times on state highways.

Drivers leaving Auckland on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and returning on Sunday and Monday are likely to face heavy traffic volumes.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has updated its online holiday journeys traffic prediction tool for the long weekend to help people plan ahead and avoid delays. The tool shows predicted traffic flow based on previous years’ travel patterns.

“Congestion and delays are inevitable at peak times, so people may like to consider avoiding travel during these periods to make their journey safer and more enjoyable,” says Waka Kotahi’s Auckland Operations Manager, Rua Pani.

“Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather or even driver behaviour, motorists should also check our journey planner just before they head off, which provides traffic information and updates on delays, road works and road closures in real time.

Traffic heading north from Auckland on Friday will be busiest between Puhoi and Wellsford from Midday to 8pm. It’s also busy Saturday between 8:30am and 3pm.

SH1 is the busy main route north from Auckland, but motorists should consider taking SH16 as an alternative route as far as Wellsford. Electronic signs on SH1 will display estimated travel times via SH1 and SH16 to give motorists a choice.

Heading back to Auckland, motorists can expect heavy traffic from 10:45am through until 5:30pm on Sunday and from 9am to 8pm on Monday.

The journey planner also shows busy traffic predictions on SH1 through Whangarei and Kawakawa.

For motorists heading south or to the Coromandel, the Southern Motorway (SH1) from Manukau to Bombay is busiest on Friday from 9:30am to 7pm and on Saturday between 7:00am and 1:30pm. Returning on Monday, the motorway is busiest from 1:30pm to 6:15pm.

“If you can plan your travel outside of these times you’ll be giving yourself a much less stressful weekend and help ease congestion levels for everyone else.”

Rua Pani also urged drivers to play their part to stay safe on the roads these holidays.

“We know that congestion and delays can be frustrating, but the most important thing is that everyone gets to their destination safely. Please plan ahead, be patient and drive to the conditions.

“Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone on the road at risk. Even when it isn’t the direct cause of a crash, speed is often the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or killed. For everyone’s safety, please slow down.”

Tips for safe driving this long weekend:

· Check your car is in good “health” before you head off. Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.

· Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

· Drive to the conditions – whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or amount of traffic.

· Avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks to stay alert.

· Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.

· Be patient – overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.

· Allow plenty of time. Remember you are on holiday, so there’s no need to rush.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

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