Those who live and work on the Napier-Taupo Rd are calling for speed limit drops after a week of horror on it that's killed two and injured at least eight.
The Tarawera Café has served those who drive the at-times notorious State Highway 5 for over a decade.
Marie Whaiapu, who has worked there for most of that time, says the tragedy and anguish she's seen is "far too common".
"It's horrible," Whaiapu said.
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She says more needs to be done, not just to warn drivers the road is tricky, but also force them to slow them down in certain parts.
"There has to be more warning signs and they have to get people to slow down especially in built-up areas or communities.
"Where we are [a 100km/h speed limit] makes it extremely dangerous for people coming in and out of this place."
Whaiapu suggested stretches around the cafe and surrounding community, as well as Te Pohue and Te Haroto, needed to be limited to 70km/h so people living in those areas could feel safe.
The stretch of road on State Highway 5 saw no fatal crashes for 18 months but has had four deaths, two double fatal crashes, in December.
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The NZ Transport Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Eastern District road policing manager Matt Broderick said after the first fatal crash in early December that NZTA had done a lot of work making the road safer recently with safety barriers and resealing, but "it's still a challenging road that does not forgive mistakes".
Whaiapu said one of the big issues with the road this time of year was the lack of knowledge of the road that tourists had.
Dutch tourists Timo van Rooy and Ellen Verhoeven drove the road on Friday. They're on holiday around New Zealand and are driving everywhere themselves.
"It is very different to roads in Europe where the max speed limit is 130km/h and it is only 100km/h here," van Rooy said.
"The roads themselves are also a lot rougher than what we are used to but we have focused on driving to the conditions and just staying focused on roads like this.
"We drive maybe at most three hours a day and even during that time we are stopping often to see new things and take in the sights as well."
Russian born Vlad Vasin has lived in New Zealand with his family for eight years.
He was driving the Napier/Taupo Rd for the first time on Friday and said although he hasn't driven much on New Zealand roads he does know how dangerous they can be.
"One thing we have noticed is how quiet this road has been for this time of year, compared to the Wellington area where we are from."
Tarawera Café owner Jim Andrews said spots like his café give drivers a bit of a place to stop and stretch their legs or have a rest and make sure they are refreshed to continue along the road again.
He said he also had plans to open a new rest spot further closer to Te Haroto which he plans for it to be a bit of a truck stop as the café isn't easily accessible for trucks and their drivers.