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Motorway Manners Campaign

17 May 2004

Motorway Manners Campaign

A comprehensive safety awareness campaign for motorists begins today promoting safer driving habits on Auckland’s motorways.

Radio advertising and variable messaging signs will highlight the Merge Like a Zip campaign’s key messages – merging safely, indicating before changing lanes and keeping a safe following distance. 25 billboards across Auckland will feature the ‘merge like a zip’ message. The campaign is to coincide with May’s annual peak in motorway crashes and will run for two months.

Transit New Zealand had received calls requesting that “Merge Like a Zip billboards be put back,” and that, “they (the billboards) made a real difference to driver behaviour”. This indicates that drivers perceive a need for on-going promotion of safer driving habits on the motorway.

Motorways are generally safer than other roads due to their design standard. Median barriers, clear zones, reflective road markings and high visibility guide signs are utilised. The motorways are maintained to a high standard, and distractions are kept to a minimum.

However, motorways have their own unique safety issues. Crashes are often caused by drivers being in the wrong lane or wrong position, and could be avoided if drivers followed driving rules like those being promoted in this campaign.

Merging is a good example, with the crash rate near on- and off-ramp merge areas more than double the rate on the motorway. Crash numbers peak on Fridays, representing more than 20% of crashes. Between 1998 - 2002 there were 8,087 reported crashes on Auckland’s motorways. 12% of these crashes occurred adjacent to the on-ramp merge areas.

“Poor merging, moving abruptly into another lane, obviously causes problems for other motorists. It results in secondary incidents involving motorists in adjacent lanes and in following vehicles. This is not just frustrating behaviour, it’s dangerous.

For this reason, we are once again underlining the importance of proper, safe merging with the Merge Like a Zip message which already has a high recognition factor with drivers, and perhaps even more important, has already shown that it is a message that works,” says Wayne McDonald.


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