The Easter road toll is on track to be close to the record low after one fatal crash over the long weekend.

The holiday road toll stands at one tonight - the second lowest since records began in 1980.

Motorists were urged to exercise patience and drive carefully this evening, as holiday-makers made the journey home after the Easter break.

Traffic was moving relatively freely across the country, with all major centres escaping the gridlock traffic this evening. However, earlier today traffic at Cambridge in Waikato was reduced to a crawl, travelling at a mere 18km/h and backed up for about 5km south of the town.

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Other key congestion points were on State Highway 1 between Taupiri and Huntly and further north around Rangiriri and Te Kauwhata.

Further inland, traffic was also building up at the intersection of State Highway 2 and 27, with people making their way through eastern Waikato.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) also warned drivers returning to Auckland taking SH16 as an alternative route from Northland, that only on city-bound lane on the Northwestern Motorway was open until 8pm, when it would also close for night construction work.

The route was flowing freely this evening.

Traffic was heavy on SH1 at Mt Wellington in Auckland for motorists travelling south, and SH1 at Walter Strevens Dr was also busy.

Earlier traffic was building up on SH1 through Cambridge from Hydro Rd to north of the town, due to road works, police said. Long delays were expected on SH1, SH2 and SH27.

"It is inevitable that with many motorists returning home today, that there will be long traffic queues," Inspector Tony Wakelin, from the police northern communications centre, said.

"Drivers should factor in extra time for their journey. Frustration can lead to taking risks so it's important to be patient and get home safely."

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The road toll stood at one tonight, following a two car collision in Canterbury on Saturday afternoon. One person died at the scene of the crash on SH8 between the Lake Pukaki Visitor Centre and Mt Cook Rd. A second person was flown to Christchurch Hospital in a serious condition.

Inspector Pete McKennie said police were "very pleased" with the general attitude of motorists over the Easter weekend.

"Police have put a huge amount of effort into targeting 'high-risk' drivers over the holiday weekend", Mr McKennie said.

"We have put a particular emphasis on targeting drunk - and-drug impaired drivers, speedsters and those who do not wear seatbelts or ensure their children are wearing seatbelts."

"Thankfully the vast majority of New Zealand drivers have taken these messages on board and are playing their part in keeping New Zealand roads safe."

In the past 24 hours more than 160 tickets had been issued to motorists along SH1, near Waikanae and Paraparaumu, Senior Sergeant Andrzej Kowalczyk from Wellington District Command Centre said, with 80 per cent of those issued for speeding.

"Whilst the majority of the public are abiding by the speed limit, it is of concern that some drivers are putting other motorists at risk," he said.

A second death on the roads is unlikely to be included in the official road toll, after a truck driver died at the wheel in Auckland on Saturday.

The man was aged in his 50s, and was believed to have died as a result of a medical event around 10am on Waipa St, Birkenhead.

The official Easter holiday road period started at 4pm on Thursday, and runs until 6am on Tuesday, April 7.

Last year's Easter road toll was five, from a reported 95 injury crashes.

Three people were killed on the roads in 2013 over the Easter holiday period. The only fatality-free Easter ever recorded was in 2012.

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* EASTER ROAD TOLL:

Year:Deaths: Injuries:

2014 5 140

2013 3 127

2012 0 135

2011 5 202

2010 12 231

2009 7 193

2008 9 196

2007 6 206

2006 5 170

2005 9 209

2004 4 170

* The only fatality-free Easter ever recorded was in 2012.

* The highest recorded number killed on New Zealand roads over the Easter holiday period was 21 in 1971.

(Source: NZTA)