Care urged on roads this holiday weekend

Police are reminding drivers to take extra care and make this holiday weekend one to remember for all the right reasons, particularly as the recent cold snap affects driving conditions.

National crash risk data compiled by Police indicates that crashes caused by alcohol and speed - including driving too fast for the conditions - and other bad driving behaviour, such as poor judgement, observation, handling and failing to give way increase over Queen's Birthday Weekend.

"Easter 2012 was the last time there was a fatality free holiday weekend on our roads, and we would love to think we could have another one that does not end in tragedy for someone," Assistant Commissioner Road Policing Dave Cliff said.

"Given that Queen's Birthday Weekend is the only holiday weekend during winter, the risks of having a crash to due to poor weather conditions like those the country is currently experiencing are significantly higher, which means it is vital that motorists adjust their driving behaviour accordingly. 

This means driving to the conditions, increasing following distances, and paying extra attention. Also, if the weather is severe, and you don't have to travel, consider staying at home.

"This is particularly relevant given the recent cold snap, which has seen snow and ice close roads and lead to a number of crashes."

During Queen's Birthday last year there were four fatal crashes resulting in seven deaths, and 17 crashes involving serious injuries. A further 59 crashes caused minor injuries.

Mr Cliff said police would also be focusing on alcohol, restraints and speed this weekend, with a variety of tactics in place, including routine breath testing and a lowered 4 km/h speed tolerance.

"The lowered speed tolerance was introduced at Queen's Birthday Weekend three years ago, and has been in place for all holiday weekends since. In that time, it has had a positive effect on driver behaviour, with a decrease in crashes since its introduction. That translates to fewer people killed, maimed or injured.

"The message to all motorists this holiday weekend is really very simple - drive to the conditions, pay attention, don't drink and drive and make sure you are wearing your seat belt."

Queen's Birthday weekend 2013 officially starts at 4pm Friday 31 May and ends 6am Tuesday 4th June.


- The Aucklander

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