Fasten your seatbelt, plan ahead, keep your eyes on the road, reduce your speed, drive to the conditions, and do not drive if you're tired, drunk, or on drugs.
These are the simple messages being repeated to New Zealand motorists to keep themselves and others safe on the road this summer.
The Christmas-New Year's holiday road toll has skyrocketed to eight - double the 2019/2020 holiday.
Two people have been killed each day since Christmas Day, and holiday traffic will build again in the lead-up to New Year's Eve tomorrow.
Terry Charleston, 34, and Rebecca McAlees, 24, were the first road victims after crashing on Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd in southeast Auckland on Christmas Day.
Two people were killed in a crash between a milk tanker and a motorcycle near the Oreti River bridge in Southland on Monday.
Road policing manager for Tāmaki Makaurau Inspector Scott Webb says any death is too many and motorists need to be patient.
"The repercussions for family and loved ones across the spectrum is huge."
Roads throughout the country are expected to be busy over the holiday, especially those leaving our biggest cities.
Between 2015 and 2019, an average of 11 people have been killed and more than 400 injured during the Christmas-New Year holiday.
NZ Transport Agency general manager safety, health and environment Greg Lazzaro says everyone deserves a safe holiday.
"This is a special time of year, and we don't want anyone's holiday to be marred by an avoidable tragedy on the roads," Lazzaro said.
"Deaths and serious injuries on our roads are not inevitable, and we shouldn't accept that serious crashes are just another part of the holidays.
"We're all human and we can all make mistakes, but every one of us also has the power to make the right decisions, which will keep the roads safer for everyone."
The Ministry of Transport's official year-to-date road toll shows 317 people died between January 1 and December 28 in 2020, compared to 350 in 2019.
Brake New Zealand director Caroline Perry says any death is a tragedy but this time of year makes it especially hard on families.
"It can be even more devastating over the Christmas period, knowing families have had the news their loved one isn't coming home again," she said.
"Wearing a seatbelt is the easiest and simplest thing you can do to reduce your risk of being killed or seriously injured if you are in a crash.
"It dramatically reduces the risk whether you're a driver or a passenger. It's vitally important and only takes two seconds to belt up."
AA spokeswoman Catherine Gaffaney says mobile phones are one of the biggest distractions for drivers.
Motorists should put their phones on "do not disturb" mode, put it somewhere they can't reach or see it or hand it to a passenger, she says.
"The basics are really important," Gaffaney said. "Everyone needs to be buckled up and no drinking or drugs if you're going to be behind the wheel.
"Just ensure you're doing those basics and making sure everyone in the car is safe."
Two dead after Christmas Day crash
Terry Charleston, 34, and Rebecca McAlees, 24, were killed after a single-vehicle crash on Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd around 7.30pm on Christmas night.
Speed is suspected to be a factor in the crash which killed the pair, from Whitford in Auckland, and a dog.
Charleston's older brother Jason Ward urged motorists to slow down.
"The skid marks go for tens of metres. They start way up the road," he said, after visiting the crash scene.
"Speed was a mega-factor. He has come round that bend at an absolute horrific rate of knots."
The 43-year-old wants people across New Zealand to drive safely and sober as a difficult year nears its close.
"Don't speed," Ward urged motorists. "If you are going to speed there is a race track [for that]."
Two dead after Boxing Day crash
Jack Heritage junior and Viliami Muru-Teutau, both 20, died on Boxing Day after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed in Massey, West Auckland.
Two other people were injured in the crash.
Muru-Teutau was a promising young rugby player who leaves behind a partner and a 1-year-old daughter.
Heritage, named after his father, was set to embark on a new chapter in the military next year.
Heritage snr says there has been an overwhelming level of support, with many young people among the grieving who he had a special message for.
"I have been telling them; 'I wouldn't want your parents to go through what we are going through now'," Heritage said. "It is so painful."
"So please... learn from what has happened. Just be careful. Think of your parents. Think of your life."
Muru-Teutau's family tonight said they were devastated at the loss of a vibrant, happy and much loved son, and young father.
"We can't believe he is gone. We are in a state of shock and our hearts are broken.
"Vili was a young man who had everything to live for. He is the father of a 1-year-old daughter, and as one of five children, Vili's death has crushed his parents and family. There are no words to describe the pain and grief we are feeling."
Two dead after crash in Southland
Two people died after a crash between a milk truck and a motorcycle in Southland on Monday afternoon.
A man died at the scene and a woman later died after being flown to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition.
The crash happened at 1.30pm on the Riverton-Wallacetown Highway at the Oreti River Bridge.
One dead after crash in Pahiatua
One person died after a two-vehicle collision in Pahiatua, between Masterton and Woodville, just before 5am yesterday.
Police were notified of the crash on Nikau Rd at 4.58am. Another person suffered serious injuries and has been taken to hospital.
One dead after crash in Dairy Flat
One person has died in hospital after a serious crash in Dairy Flat yesterday morning.
Two vehicles collided on Kahikatea Flat Rd. A local told the Herald the crash involved a six-wheel truck and a car coming out of a driveway.
NZTA's top tips for 'driving safely, arriving alive':
• Check your car is in good "health" before you head off: check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
• Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
• Drive to the conditions: whether it's the weather, the road you're on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
• Avoid fatigue: take regular breaks to stay alert.
• Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
• Be patient: overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time because of the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
• Allow plenty of time: remember you are on holiday, so there's no need to rush.