A "significant" increase in travel between alert levels has sparked a plea for drivers to stay safe on our roads.

It comes after 13 people lost their lives on the country's road during alert level 4.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency figures show that while traffic volumes remain about 50 per cent lower than at the same time last year, traffic on state highways has more than doubled in the major centres since the move from alert level 4 to level 3 this week.

Waka Kotahi senior road safety manager Fabian Marsh said with the move to level 3 there would be more motorists on our roads but reminded the public there was no need to speed or drive recklessly.

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"If you're driving please slow down, be mindful of other road users and stay safe."

While the nine fatalities on New Zealand roads last month is provisionally the lowest on record for any calendar month, police say they are still concerned that some drivers are continuing to put others at risk by driving too fast.

"Thirteen Kiwis still lost their lives in road crashes during alert level 4, at a time when we had around 75 per cent less traffic on the road," national manager road policing acting superintendent Gini Welch said.

"The fact it's fewer than other periods is cold comfort to the families who are grieving for their loved ones right now."

Welch said police would be maintaining a visible presence in the bid to keep people safe,

A drive to the supermarket, takeaways, or a pharmacy is still a drive, she said, so put on your seatbelt, put away your phone, watch your speed, and absolutely never drive if you are impaired by drugs, alcohol, or fatigue.

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Marsh said with many more people walking and cycling, motorists were reminded to take extra care.

"We know that people are maintaining physical distances at the moment when they're out walking and cycling, and that is what we want to see.

"However, pedestrians and cyclists are also much more vulnerable to injury than drivers in a crash.

"If you're driving a vehicle it's crucial to stay alert, slow down and give plenty of room when passing people on bikes or on foot."

With the move to level 3 shift, there would also be more workers out on the roads doing maintenance.

Please be patient, be cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe, Marsh said.


"Roadworkers are stepping out of their bubbles to do vital work to keep everyone safe on the roads and we should all be grateful to them.

"Please be careful, be kind, and give them a friendly wave."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website