Christmas-New Year holiday period begins
For immediate release
24 December 2002
Christmas-New Year holiday period begins
The official Christmas-New Year holiday period for 2002/2003 begins at 4 p.m. today and runs through to 6 a.m. on Friday 3 January.
During the 2001/2002 holiday period there were 17 fatal crashes and 230 reported injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 21 deaths, 72 serious injuries and 339 minor injuries.
10 car passengers
7 car drivers
Fifteen of the 21 deaths in last year's holiday period occurred in open road crashes. Ten deaths were in crashes involving a head on collision, and nine of those were on the open road. A further nine deaths were in single vehicle crashes in which a driver lost control of the vehicle or ran off the roadway. Six of these were on the open road.
The most common factors
contributing to reported crashes over the holiday period
last year were alcohol (22%), drivers losing control (19%),
failing to give way (18%), driving too fast for conditions
(17%) and driver fatigue (14%).
For fatal crashes, driving too fast for conditions, alcohol, drivers losing control and driver fatigue were the most commonly reported contributing factors.
Holiday period two of four
The Christmas holiday period is a particularly
dangerous time on New Zealand roads due to several
there is more traffic on the road during the holidays
many people are driving on unfamiliar roads
many people are driving long distances and easily become tired or frustrated
driving can be stressful due to heat, noisy children, family tensions and general end-of-year tiredness
drivers may be fatigued from driving long hours or at abnormal times such as early morning or late evening
people on holiday can let down their guard when it comes to road safety - i.e driving too fast, not wearing a safety belt, etc
there is an increased incidence of drink-driving during holiday periods.
Historical Christmas-New Year Road Trauma Statistics
Year Deaths Injuries
1980 / 81 32 481
1981 / 82 35 602
1982 / 83 18 473
1983 / 84 17 523
1984 / 85 13 439
1985 / 86 25 532
1986 / 87 31 554
1987 / 88 22 544
1988 / 89 16 594
1989 / 90 19 596
1990 / 91 18 487
1991 / 92 17 537
1992 / 93 29 528
1993 / 94 17 372
1994 / 95 19 542
1995 / 96 26 598
1996 / 97 14 432
1997 / 98 26 387
1998 / 99 24 391
1999 / 00 17 390
2000 / 01 20 409
2001 / 02 21 411
Holiday driving - safety tips from the LTSA
Driving during the holidays doesn’t have to be
stressful or dangerous. By planning ahead, packing and
preparing properly and allowing plenty of time for long
trips you can help ensure your safety on the
Vehicle preparation and packing
• Have your vehicle checked before travelling. Many garages offer safety checks for tyre tread and pressure, lights, brakes, cooling systems and other components.
• Make sure everything is
securely stowed when you pack your vehicle. Even small
objects can become dangerous missiles in the event of a
or a crash.
• If you’re towing a trailer or caravan, load heavy objects evenly over all of the axles.
Trailers and caravans
• Check all towing attachments and make sure the couplings are compatible. Also remember to check the safety chain, trailer lights, tyres and brakes.
• Remember that if you are towing a trailer your maximum speed limit on the open road is 80 km/h. Keep left and pull over when it is safe to let other vehicles pass.
Holiday driving often means spending several hours behind the wheel. Long journeys can be tiring, and fatigue can be fatal behind the wheel. There are some simple ways to avoid fatigue and improve your alertness.
• Get plenty of sleep before your journey, and try to drive at times of the day when you are normally awake.
• Take your time and plan for rest breaks every couple of hours. Get out of your vehicle and take a short walk or do some other exercise to get your blood flowing and improve alertness. If you feel tired, take a short nap (less than 40 minutes).
• If possible, share the driving.
• Don’t drink and drive, and don’t speed. Many fatigue-related crashes also involve these two factors.
• Use air conditioning if your vehicle has it. Cool air will keep you more alert and will help avoid frustration and stress, which is a major cause of fatigue. Make sure your air conditioning is set to the "fresh air" mode, as per the graphic to the right.
Keep your cool
Driving can be a frustrating experience at the best of times. Add in busy roads and stifling heat and your patience can evaporate very quickly. For safety’s sake don’t let that happen. There are simple and easy ways to keep your cool and stay in control.
• Be courteous - let others merge into traffic and use your indicators before turning or changing lanes.
• Keep left unless passing. If you’re a slower driver, pull over when you can to let others pass.
• Be patient and don’t be provoked by other drivers' aggressive behaviour.
Keep an eye out for kids
Watch out for children on the road. Young cyclists and pedestrians can be unpredictable and poor judges of vehicle speed. Young children may also be learning to ride new bikes over the holidays. Please respect cycle lanes.
Keep an eye out for learner drivers - the holidays are a popular time to learn to drive.
Too many family holidays are marred by tragedy when a crash occurs and people aren’t properly restrained. It’s the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers are wearing safety belts. The law requires children to be restrained in approved child seats suitable to their size and weight. There is a $150 fine for each person not buckled up.
Share the road
Traffic volumes increase significantly during the holidays. You will have to share the road with other cars, as well as heavy trucks, buses, campervans and vehicles towing boats or caravans. Keep the following points in mind:
• Always keep a safe following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.
• Be patient. Trucks and towing vehicles have lower speed limits. If you’re travelling behind a slower vehicle, wait for a passing lane or until you can see clear road ahead of you and enough space to overtake safely.
• After overtaking a larger vehicle, don’t slow down quickly or cut in too closely. Larger vehicles take a longer time to brake and you could end up getting hit from behind.