Live: Labour weekend traffic builds out of Auckland as holidaymakers seek to escape early

by RNZand NZ Herald

Traffic is already getting heavy heading north out of Auckland between Puhoi and Warkworth as holidaymakers look to escape for the long weekend.

A lot of cars are also on the road on State Highway 1 heading south around the Bombay Hills.

Police are urging motorists to be patient on what are expected to be congested Labour Day weekend roads.

Inspector Peter McKennie said that keeping speed down is fundamental to safety and that many more New Zealanders will be on the road, because they have not been able to holiday overseas this winter.

He said it is also the first long weekend of spring and for many the first weekend since they have come out of alert level 2 or 3.

“There’ll be lots of people on the roads, we want everyone just to ease off on the accelerator, make sure you’ve got your seat belts on and get through your journey safely, it’s important just to be safe on the roads and to stay alert for your whole journey this weekend.”

Motorists should also make sure their vehicle is in a safe condition before heading out, he said.

“Particularly motorcyclists, so we’ve seen an increase in motorcyclists coming to grief on the roads just recently. You get a lot of seasonal motorcyclists who grab out their bikes during the finer weather, it’s very important for them to check their bikes, make sure they’re safe, in particular tyre pressure which is something they forget about and which can cause them to come to grief on bends if they’re not careful.”

McKennie said drink and drug driving will continue to be a focus, with suitable Covid precautions in place at roadside stops.

“We obviously have sanitisation procedures in place to make sure the devices we use are safe and so people can say their name and address into those devices with complete confidence from infection risk.”

Another accident prevention measure is “fatigue stops” which are being used in some areas to try and encourage drivers to take breaks.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council introduced the concept a decade ago in which drivers are encouraged to pull over, take a break and help themselves to free refreshments.

A fatigue stop has been set up today on State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupō, four days after a horror crash between a van and a truck on the road claimed one life and injured 10 others.

Road Safe Hawke’s Bay manager Linda Anderson said the group sets up rest areas with tables and chairs in 100km/h rural areas in partnership with police where people can call in and have a break and perhaps a coffee or refreshments.

“It actually is around having a conversation with those drivers about taking breaks throughout their journey,” she said.

She said some drivers can stay for up to an hour.

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