Keep Safe On The Roads Through The Holidays In NZ
Holidays are always a hectic time of year, often seeing us embark on lengthy car trips to visit family and friends, throughout New Zealand.
Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe on the roads.
With more kiwis travelling around our own back yard these days, the roads are likely to be busier than normal this holiday period. We would like to encourage everyone to plan ahead, take your time and be patient.
Making sure all the presents and luggage are packed will be at the front of your mind, but it’s also important to consider that bad weather and the hustle and bustle of the festive period can make driving more hazardous.
- Weather - Checking the weather before setting out on your trip is always a must. Watch out for unpredictable weather and plan accordingly. Here is a link to the NZ Metservice website: http://www.metservice.com
- Don't text and drive - Use a service like Vodafone's Drivesafe which auto-replies to text messages to say you are driving. There are also free apps like DriveSafe
- Tyres - your tyres will take some wear and tear on the road in the hot summer months, so make sure there is adequate tread, the correct air pressure is in each tyre, and that your spare, and tool kit is in good shape.
- Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front, remember the two-second rule for normal conditions and the four-second rule when wet or towing.
- Take care when overtaking - make sure you will have 100 metres of clear road ahead of you once you have finished passing. Keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle you wish to overtake so you can accelerate before overtaking.
- Front Windscreen – check your wiper blades so that your visibility isn’t impaired should you encounter some torrential summer rain. Top up your washer bottle too!
- Belts and hoses – have a look at your fan belts, as these are responsible for keeping the overall cooling system from overheating. If they are looking frayed, they might need replacing. The hoses should be free of cracks so that they continue to pump coolant to the radiator.
- Filters – air filters need to be cleared of debris for good airflow to keep the engine cool and keep the air conditioning system clear.
- Oil check – conduct an oil check before your trip this Christmas so that your engine is properly lubricated in the warm weather.
- Battery – give your battery a once over, cleaning off any built-up gunk and checking all connections are secure and keep some jumper leads in your boot.
- Lights – it’s a requirement to have all headlights and brake lights in working order to be on the road, but it’s worth double-checking that none need replacing to avoid any problems.
- Pay attention to your high and low beam - Dip your headlights as soon as you see an oncoming vehicle. If you are on windy roads and don't require high beam then try to avoid using it as it can be hard to dip your headlights in time.
- First aid kit – keep a first aid kit handy is always a good idea, for any unexpected injuries or health issues.
- Expect the unexpected! - Overseas drivers were involved in more than 400+ crashes on New Zealand roads last year. Failure to keep to the lefthand side of the road, poor handling and fatigue were the leading causes of deadly crashes.
- Keep the kids busy - Keeping the kids occupied by bringing along plenty of activities they can do in the back seat to let you concentrate on driving. You could also play games, an audiobook, or strap a tablet to the back of the seat to let them watch their favourite cartoons.
- Extra Time - If you’re travelling any great distance for the holidays, then chances are, you’ll be sharing the road with many other families who are doing the same. The traffic level can be unpredictable at this time, so better to be cautious and allow for extra time, especially if you’re travelling just before Christmas Day or New Year's eve. There may be more caravans and trailers towing boats and jet skis on the road, which can cause minor delays and require extra caution from all drivers. So allow an extra amount of time for your journey, even if you’ve done it before. Better to arrive safe and calm than rush and put your family or anyone else in danger!
- Here is a link to the NZTA to check the latest traffic reports: https://nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/
- NZTA interactive map of the most congested areas around NZ: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/holiday-journeys/summer-holidays-2020