The announcement state highways around Rotorua are set for a $15 million upgrade is great news.

The wider $600 million allocated to rural highways around the country is an attempt to make high risk rural highways safer and reduce the number of people being killed and seriously injured on them.

We reported earlier this month that five people have died on Rotorua roads already this year - the entire road toll for the region last year.

One of those fatal crashes happened on State Highway 5 at Tarukenga - one of the stretches of highway identified for safety improvements yesterday.

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Cam Morgan, who lost his wife that tragic January day, has told us it's a positive step forward and shared his hope for a safety barrier in the centre of the road to prevent more head-on crashes. It's exactly that kind of upgrade this money will pay for.

Of course, no matter how good the roads are and what improvements are made, they all count for nothing if drivers don't play their part.

A driver that is drunk, not paying attention or going too fast can cause carnage and tragedy on any road, no matter how good the road or how many precautions are in place.

Rural highways in New Zealand can be tricky, even for the best of drivers. Whether or not you grew up on them, one moment of inattention, one slippery patch of ice, a roaming cow or another unpredictable driver all have the potential to catch us out.

The Government is taking steps to try and lessen the likelihood of those inevitable human-error moments turning to tragedy.

It's now up to drivers to do their bit to make that investment count, and prevent more families losing a loved one.

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