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Safe driving this long weekend

Horizons Regional Council

Monday, January 14, 2013

Safe driving this long weekend

Horizons Regional Council is encouraging holiday-makers travelling by car this Wellington Anniversary Weekend to consider who else is sharing the road and ensure they’ve had plenty of rest before heading off on their journey.

Horizons road safety coordinator for Palmerston North Alane Nilsen says it’s important to remember that the roads will be busier and consider what state of mind other drivers may be in.

“There will be some drivers who are aware of other drivers and paying attention to what is going on around them however there will also be drivers who are in a hurry or frazzled from the increased volume of traffic,” Mrs Nilsen says.

“It’s important to keep this in mind. By this I mean taking extra care and waiting or yielding even if you have right of way if it looks likely the other driver won’t.

“Making eye contact with the other drivers where possible is essential. You then know they have seen you and you can also give friendly waves and indications.

“These acknowledgements and letting traffic into queues may be all another driver needs to reduce their stress and make their day a little better,” she says.

“Pay it forward folks. You never know when it will be your turn to get the wave through.”

Mrs Nilsen says it’s also important to get plenty of sleep the night before as a lot of people tend to hit the road straight after work.

“Remember to share the driving if this is possible and stop to take a break every two hours,” Mrs Nilsen says.

Common signs of fatigue include yawning, sore heavy eyes, changes in driving speed, missing road signs or time lapses, and drifting over the centre line or road edge.

“If people recognise that they are experiencing any of these signs they need to pull over where it is safe to do so and have a 20min power nap, a stretch and get some fresh air,” she says.

Driving in the summer heat can also be a factor in driver fatigue making it important for drivers to keep well hydrated.

“A good tip to prevent fatigue when you are driving in the heat and using your AirCon is to remember to ensure air is circulating in from outside and not recycling from within the vehicle. This will help keep fresh cool air flowing and help keep you alert,” Mrs Nilsen says.

Other precautions people can take to stay safe on the roads include: checking the weather and anticipated driving conditions; packing an emergency kit with water, snacks, warm clothing and a first aid kit in case of a breakdown; and packing activities to keep children entertained.


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