Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on drivers to ensure both they and their vehicles are fit for the road if heading away over the holiday period.
With 326 people killed already this year, including 21 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.
Brake is also reminding drivers to ensure they are fit to drive, by not consuming any alcohol or drugs before driving, getting a good night’s sleep before a trip, and taking regular breaks every two hours on long journeys.
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 people are driving longer distances to be with family and friends, risking fatigue, distractions and speeding in order to get to their 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 make key checks on your vehicle before setting off, slow down, keep your attention on the road and take regular breaks.”
The Christmas period sees many parts of the country experience higher traffic levels than usual, and some areas also have planned roadworks taking place. Brake is reminding 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 regular breaks. The charity is also calling on drivers to slow down and have patience around roadworks, to help keep roadworkers safe.
Many holiday destinations around the country see an influx of people at this time, including families with children. Brake is calling on drivers to slow down around towns, communities, and beaches, and look out for people on foot and bike, particularly children.
“Roadworkers do an important job, and they also have families they want to get home to. If you’re driving through roadworks this summer please slow down, drive to the conditions and have patience, so everyone can make it home safely. Whether you’re at home or away, there are also more likely to be people out and about on foot and bike, including children, so we urge drivers to take extra care to look out for them, particularly around facilities like beaches and playgrounds,” Ms Perry said.
Other key road safety messages that help to keep everyone safe:
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 seats.
Sustainable: Only drive when you have to. Take public transport, or walk or cycle instead, if you can.
Read more about the Brake Pledge: http://www.brake.org.nz/get-involved/make-the-brake-pledge