The health and safety of your team doesn’t stop when they leave the workplace. While you may not be responsible for your team’s wellbeing outside of work, reminding them to stay safe during the vacation break will help ensure your workforce is fit, healthy and ready to return to work after the New Year.

We’ve compiled a few useful summer road safety reminders below. Flick them around your team before you finish up for the 2019 Christmas break!

Summer Road Safety

Drivers should take extra care when travelling in holiday periods due to increased traffic volumes, fatigue and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

Other factors that can increase your risk on the road over the holidays, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency, include:

  • Increased stress from factors such as heat, traffic jams and noisy children
  • Decreased road safety vigilance (speeding, driving when tired, not buckling up) when people are in holiday mode
  • Increased instances of drink-driving

How to be Road Safe this Summer

Whether you’re nipping a few suburbs over to visit family and friends, or taking a longer trip to explore some of New Zealand’s beautiful sights, it’s important to give the road the attention and respect it deserves this summer.

Plan Ahead

  • Take just a few minutes to make sure your vehicle is safe before beginning your journey
  • Plan your driving to avoid the worst peak traffic periods, when many highways become congested
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Take plenty of rest stops make the drive part of your holiday

Have Your Vehicle Checked

Book in a pre-Christmas check or service with your mechanic. Most garages also offer safety checks for tyre tread and pressure, lights, brakes and cooling systems. A well-tuned vehicle is more fuel efficient, so planning head will save you money on fuel costs in the long run.

Pack Smarter

When packing your vehicle for a trip away, ensure everything is securely stowed. Loose objects can become dangerous projectiles in the event of a sudden stop or crash (even relatively small items), so take care to secure all of your family’s gear.

Drive to the Conditions

Driving to the conditions is vital – but it doesn’t only refer to the weather. When driving to the conditions, consider: 

  • The road you’re on
  • Traffic congestion
  • Your vehicle and load
  • Your alertness – if you’re tired, this will affect your driving

Be Mindful of Fatigue

Fatigue can be deadly when you’re driving. Plan to get enough rest before you set out on the road, and take regular breaks throughout your trip. Stop at rest areas to take in the view and stretch your legs, or take a couple of half-hour sojourns at one of the towns on your route to grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

Be Courteous and Keep Your Cool

Holiday driving can be frustrating when the roads are busy, the temperature rises, and out-of-town travellers drive slower to check road signs. One of the most important aspects of summer vacation driving is to be courteous to other drivers, and to keep any signs of travel stress in check.

  • Keep left unless passing
  • Be courteous and let others drivers merge into traffic
  • Remember to indicate before turning or changing lanes
  • If you’re on an unfamiliar road and driving a little slower, pull over when you can to let others pass
  • Be patient with other drivers on the road, including trucks and towing vehicles who have lower speed limits
  • Don’t be provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour
  • Never overtake unless it’s safe to do so. When traffic is busy, wait for a passing lane
  • Keep an eye out for cyclists and give them plenty of space
  • On country roads, be mindful of rural traffic (such as tractors) and horses

Remember the Two-Second Rule

Always keep a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.

Watch Out for Summer ‘Ice’

Few drivers have heard of summer ice, but it’s a hazard that is common over the Christmas and New Year period – resulting in conditions similar to the black ice experienced in winter.

During long dry spells, dust, dirt, oil and other materials can build up on the road’s surface. When it rains, the road surface becomes greasy – making it very slippery. Even a little rain after several days of dry weather can trigger these conditions, creating a potential danger for unsuspecting drivers.

If the road is wet after a long dry spell, be summer ice smart by:

  • Allowing extra travel time
  • Reducing your speed
  • Taking extra care on curves
  • Increasing your following distance from vehicles in front of you
  • Braking and steering gently

Find more driver safety information and tips via the New Zealand Transport Agency website.