A horror week on Northland’s roads, with five deaths, including three in the Far North, has road safety campaigners pleading with motorists to slow down, drive to the conditions and take more care.
A person died after a single-vehicle crash in Pukenui, near Houhora on Saturday shortly after midday. Police were notified of the crash on No 2 Arterial Rd about 12.20pm. The person died at the scene. Police said inquiries into the circumstances of the crash were underway.
It was the fifth road death in the region in a week, after two people died on Thursday evening in a serious crash on State Highway 14, near the intersection of Otuhi Rd, Wheki Valley, west of Whangārei abut 6pm.
Thursday’s deaths follow a crash on Tuesday where two people died in a serious crash involving two trucks on State Highway 10 at Kaingaroa in the Far North.
The collision occurred about 12.40pm at the intersection with Pukewhai Rd, roughly midway between Awanui and Taipā. One person was found dead at the scene while another was transported to hospital in critical condition but has since also died. SH10 was closed at Kaingaroa until 8pm that night with lengthy diversions in place after the crash.
A woman killed in a double-fatal truck crash in Northland is being remembered as a tenacious and witty firecracker of a person.
Rachael Phillips, also known as “Rachy”, died following Tuesday’s crash. In a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, friend of Phillips’ Rachel Arcus said the 38-year-old loved driving trucks.
“She was doing something she loved and lived a clean and healthy life,” Arcus wrote.
“She was tenacious, witty and never gave up. I just wanted to put a name/face to it so we really feel it, and it’s not just a number.”
Phillips’ was also a mother and had two children.
“Those poor kids ... what a tragedy,” wrote Arcus. “She was a wee firecracker ... fly high hunny.”
Police have yet to release the names of the other four people who died in the crashes.
The five deaths brought Northland’s road toll for the year to 20 so far, compared to 12 at the same stage of 2022.
The 2022 total of 38 road deaths was the highest in 22 years, and with the King’s Birthday holiday weekend likely to see an influx of motorists into Northland, road safety campaigners are concerned about the rising toll.
RoadSafe Northland coordinator Ashley Johnston said road safety is everybody’s responsibility; “and we all need to play a part in making sure we all come home to our loved ones at the end of the day”.
Johnston said motorists needed to drive to the conditions, with our weather at the moment wetter than normal and people should slow down and drive appropriately.
The region’s roads are also covered in potholes after massive rain this year, so people needed to be aware that roads they regularly drive on may have changed in that respect since they were last there.
She had some road safety tips for those driving around Northland:
■ Restraints – wear your seatbelts, no excuses.
■ Impairment – make sure you and those around you are not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – that includes illegal drugs but also prescription medication, educate yourself on the effects of driving on your medication and ask your medical professional directly if it is safe to be driving on this medication.
■ Fatigue – think about regular breaks, getting adequate sleep and ask yourself how do you feel?
■ Speed – slow down – your speed can dictate whether you walk away from a crash or not.