Fatigue was a factor in a crash that killed a 25-year-old motorcyclist in Wellington early this morning, police say.

The Wellington man was struck by a car travelling the wrong way on State Highway 1 near Johnsonville about 3am.

He died at the scene from his injuries.

Wellington District Crime Squad are investigating the crash and have charged a 72-year-old woman with careless driving causing death.


She will appear in the Wellington District Court in the new year.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry said the investigation was continuing and anyone with information should contact police.

"Fatigue is a factor in this tragic incident and police urge people to travel safe over the holiday period," Verry said.

"Please plan your journeys to include regular rest stops and be patient in the increased traffic flow over the next few days.

"You are better to arrive somewhere late than not at all."

Wellington Police can be contacted on 04 381 2000, or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Yesterday, Superintendent Steve Greally, national manager for road policing, urged motorists to take care behind the wheel.

Greally said nobody should get behind the wheel if they were impaired by drugs or alcohol or if they were too tired to drive.


"And nobody should get in a vehicle with a driver who is in that state, either."

It was not worth risking your life, Greally said.

"Driving tired can be as dangerous as driving drunk or drugged; your reactions are slower and it's hard to concentrate."

That was not a good combination when you were in charge of a two-tonne vehicle, he said.

"Take breaks and share the driving when you can."

The death is the third on New Zealand roads this year during the official holiday period.

The period claimed eight lives on the roads last year.

The official holiday period runs from 4pm on Christmas Eve at to 6am on January 3.

The first fatal crash during that timeframe this year occurred in Whanganui early on Christmas morning.

Felix Newton, 17, died after crashing his ute into the Whanganui River off Victoria Ave Bridge.

Another person died yesterday, and several were injured, when two cars collided at an intersection in Palmerston North.

Four people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital after the crash.

Two people were in a serious condition, and the other two sustained moderate injuries.

By the end of last year, 378 people had lost their lives on New Zealand roads.

As of Thursday, the number of road deaths this year was 372.