Give road safety your full attention this long weekend, says charity

Brake, the road safety charity is reminding both locals and visitors to keep road safety front of mind if they're travelling this Queen's Birthday weekend, and to commit to giving the road their full attention to keep themselves and others safe.

With lots of fans due to arrive for the British and Irish Lions tour, and many people heading away for the long weekend, the charity is urging drivers to follow some simple but essential road safety messages.

Brake is reminding drivers to check that both they and their vehicle are fit to drive before setting off, and during the journey. That means having enough sleep before setting off, taking regular breaks on long journeys, wearing your seat belt and minimising distractions.

Brake urges drivers to take at least a 15 minute break from driving every two hours during long journeys, and to switch their phone off while they're at the wheel.

Drivers should also conduct key checks of their vehicle before setting off, and drive to the conditions. Weather forecasts for the weekend show some areas are likely to have heavy rain, while others may experience ice and sunstrike with clear and sunny conditions but cold temperatures.

Brake's advice for drivers:

  • Check your vehicle before setting off, including tyre tread and pressure, lights, oil and water levels, and windscreen wipers.
  • Avoid driving in treacherous conditions like heavy rain, fog and ice, delay your journey if possible.
  • Slow down, put your lights on and increase your following distance in wet weather, and where sunstrike or icy roads are a risk. Remember stopping distances are at least double on wet roads, and can be 10 times greater on icy roads.
  • Keep a careful look out for people on foot and bike.

Last year 11 people were killed in crashes over the Queen's Birthday weekend. Brake is calling on drivers to follow its Pledge for safe driving:

Slow: Drive within speed limits, drive at 30km/h or lower in communities, and slow down on rural roads too. Avoid overtaking unless you're sure it's safe.
Sober: If driving, don't drink any alcohol, or take any illegal drugs or medication that could affect driving.
Sharp: Drive alert - not tired, ill or stressed. Get a good night's sleep before driving and take breaks every two hours. Have an eye test at least every two years and wear glasses or contact lenses if needed.
Silent: Phone off or on message service. Minimise other distractions, such as sat nav/GPS and tuning the radio, as much as possible.
Secure: Always belt up and insist that everyone else in the vehicle does the same and adjusts head restraints. If travelling with children, ensure you have correctly fitted, appropriate child restraints. Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and serviced.
Sustainable: Only drive when you have to.

Caroline Perry, Brake's New Zealand director said: "We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend and get to their destinations safely, so we're reminding drivers that there are some key, simple things you can do to reduce risk. Fatigue is a risk, particularly on long journeys, so we're urging drivers to take regular breaks every two hours. Minimising distractions, ensuring everyone is wearing a seat belt, and keeping below speed limits is also vital.

"Winter weather and reduced daylight adds to the risks when out on the road, so it is essential that drivers are prepared for the conditions, drive carefully, and avoid taking risks which could result in tragedy. Road crashes are devastating for families and communities, and drivers have a responsibility to do everything they can to keep themselves and other road users safe. Remembering key messages can help save lives."

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