Police urge drivers to take it easy over holiday weekend

By Mathew Dearnaley

Photo / Richard Robinson
Photo / Richard Robinson

Police and transport organisations are challenging drivers to make this Queen's Birthday weekend another public holiday with no road deaths.

Their call follows a zero road toll at Easter and one death last Queen's Birthday.

The Transport Agency is urging drivers to take special care in Northland, where it says bad weather has delayed the completion of safety improvements at a number of sites.

Traffic queues are also feared on the northern exit from Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula's west coast, where a detour of State Highway 25 remains after the agency was unable to finish repairs to a hole from an old mineshaft before the holiday weekend.

The police were delighted with a zero toll over Easter, making that the first public holiday with no road deaths since records began in 1956.

Acting national road policing manager Inspector Rob Morgan yesterday urged drivers not to let up over the safety of themselves and others.

"We would love to think we could have another holiday weekend that does not end in tragedy for someone, and we have shown that it is possible," he said.

"It is really very simple - drive to the conditions, don't drink and drive, and make sure you are wearing your seatbelt."

Mr Morgan said police were concerned to find that a number of recent road deaths involved vehicle passengers not wearing seatbelts.

"It's a no-brainer," he said.

"The two seconds that it takes to fasten your seatbelt may just be all it takes to give you a second chance of life." He said the police would again cut tolerance to no more than 4km/h above speed limits for the holiday period, which starts at 4pm today and will continue until 6am on Tuesday. The normal tolerance is 10km/h.

The Automobile Association shares police concern about unrestrained passengers.

Spokesman Dylan Thomsen said the AA was concerned about a provisional finding that 68 of 285 people killed on the roads in the past 12 months - almost one in four - were not wearing a seatbelt.

The Transport Agency says five people died and 33 were badly hurt in 649 crashes on Auckland and Northland roads over the past five Queen's Birthday holidays.

People should be patient and make sure their vehicles are winter-fit.

HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE MEANS FINE WEEKEND

Holidaymakers will be pleased to hear most of the long weekend will be settled and fine right up until Sunday afternoon.

MetService duty forecaster Leigh Matheson said a ridge of high pressure would move over the Upper North Island today and tomorrow, creating reasonably settled days. "There will be a little bit of cloud tickling the western coast of the south of Auckland ... but there won't be much in it really."

On Sunday a slow-moving front will start to make its way up over the South Island, bringing a few light showers to the west coast of the Waikato.

"But whether any of them reach the Manukau Heads is probably unlikely. I think most of Auckland should be reasonably fine."

But the clear weather looks set to end on Monday as a trough of rain picks up the slow-moving front, pushing it further up over the North Island meaning showers towards the end of the day.

Auckland

Today: High of 16. Southeast winds dying in the evening.

Tomorrow: High of 16C. Fine, late cloudy periods. Light winds.

Sunday: High of 16C. Cloud increasing, few showers developing. Light winds.

Monday: High of 15C. Cloudy periods, few showers. Northerlies.

Hamilton

Today: High of 14C. Fine with frosty start. Light winds.

Tomorrow: High of 15C. Becoming cloudy with a few showers. Light winds.

Sunday: High of 15C. Cloudy, a few showers. Northwest breezes.

Monday: High of 15C. A few showers. Northwesterlies

Tauranga

Today: High of 16C. Fine with light winds.

Tomorrow: High of 16C. Cloud increasing, few showers later. Light winds.

Sunday: High of 16C. Cloudy periods, few showers. Westerly breezes.

Monday: High of 15C. A few showers. Northwesterlies.

Source: MetService

- NZ Herald

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