Driving down State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupō at 80 kilometres per hour?
That's the new speed proposed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as part of a series of changes to highways around the Hawke's Bay region.
Waka Kotahi has proposed lowering the speed along the notorious road from 100km/h to 80km/h from Eskdale to just south of Rangitaiki - a distance of about 83km.
NZTA regional relationships director Emma Speight said the speed limit review on the winding section would aim to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes.
Also in the proposal is the idea of lowering the speed limit on State Highway 51 between Waipatu in Hastings to Marine Pde in Napier from 100km/h to 80km/h.
Since 2010, more than 150 people have lost their lives or been seriously injured in crashes on the two state highways.
Speight said even when speed doesn't cause a crash, it's a factor in the severity of impact.
"It can be the difference between a person being killed, seriously injured or walking away from a crash," she said.
Hastings deputy mayor Tania Kerr, who lives on State Highway 5, said locals have already contacted her with concerns over the proposal, despite years of calling for safety improvements.
"While there has been investment to catch up on deferred maintenance over this summer to help improve the safety of this route, and there are parts of this road where 100 km/h is not appropriate, there has not been enough investment and I'm very disappointed that this blanket approach of an 80km/h speed limit is being proposed," she said.
Kerr added that increased travel time, especially in emergency situations, is also a concern for locals.
"I strongly feel there needs to be continued and increased investment – not just a speed limit reduction, although that would be useful in certain, more dangerous sections of the road."
Truck driver Stuart Markham, a frequent driver on SH5, says while it is likely aimed primarily at cars, the proposed reduction will affect drivers' timings.
The speed limit for trucks over 3.5 tonnes is 90km/h on state highways.
"We're governed by the amount of time you've got to do things in a day and some companies even expect more than you're legally allowed to do," he said.
"But if they just taught drivers how to drive properly from the get-go they wouldn't need to keep reducing speed limits on major roads."
Waka Kotahi is formally consulting on the proposed speed changes on SH51 and SH5 and will be asking for feedback on the remaining sections of SH5, including Esk Valley and the Rangitaiki Straights.
"These sections have been chosen because they have a high crash risk and we know that lower speed limits save lives," Speight said.
"We also know that communities want to see speeds lowered in the areas where serious crashes are occurring."
English-born truck driver Markham said he's often shocked at the drivers on the "deadly road".
"British people can be arrogant and New Zealanders are very nice, but when they get behind the wheel they are the total opposite," he said. In the UK, drivers are courteous on the road but drivers over here behave selfishly, he said.
The introduction of safer speed limits is part of the road safety strategy Road to Zero 2020-30, which acknowledges that even responsible people make mistakes, and aims to minimise the impact of errors.
Speight said: "This is something we can do to prevent deaths and help us to achieve our Road to Zero target to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40 per cent over the next 10 years. However, speed is only one part of the puzzle."
An additional $2.5 million has been secured for safety improvements on SH5, which will be focused on the section from Ohurakura Rd in Te Pōhue to the Waipunga Gorge lookout carpark, and will include side barriers, road markings and rumble lines.
These improvements will be implemented over the next four months.
Waka Kotahi is also exploring further improvements between Marine Pde and Awatoto, including the possibility of repurposing the southbound passing lane to improve the right turn out of Awatoto Rd.
The formal consultation period began on Monday and will close at 11pm on May 9.
FIRST REACTION: WHAT DO HAWKE'S BAY RESIDENTS THINK?
Benjamin Alderton, Hastings
SH5: "I think it would increase congestion, which could make crashes more likely."
SH51: "There's less traffic there, going shorter distance so it wouldn't affect the road users as much as changing the Napier –Taupo Rd."
Mark Town-Treweek, Hastings
SH5: "I drive 100km/h along that road, so I'd be a bit of a fool to say take it back to 80km. In theory 80km would be good though."
SH51: "I think 80 is too slow - nobody does it. If I drive 80km/h in my car I get tooted at. If everybody's doing 100km we're okay."
Edward Manning, Napier
"Napier-Taupo is a dangerous road, and it does need some improvements. On the beachfront road, at peaks the traffic only does 80km."
Barry Coley, Napier
"The speed limits should be lower on both. I don't go any faster. On State Highway 51 the majority are only doing 80-90km anyway."
Ken Wheadon, Napier
"Some older people will drive 60km if the limit is 80km. There is nothing wrong with it as it is, just drive to the conditions."
SH5: "It will cause a lot more frustration - there's nothing wrong with the road, it's the idiot drivers. If you tried to slow it down it would be even worse."
SH51: "This could go to 80km/h - it would make more sense than State Highway 5."