Increased traffic will raise risk of crashes

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A word from . . . road policing manager Senior Sergeant Glenn Wilkinson

What a difference a year can make.

This time last year New Zealand was in Covid Alert Level 4 lockdown.

The borders were closed and New Zealanders weren’t allowed to travel over the Easter break.

Our roads were empty of cars other than those of essential workers and those of us making our run to the supermarkets for supplies before hunkering down at home.

This year we are expecting the long Easter weekend will bring large numbers of holidaymakers into Central Otago, the Queenstown Lakes area and beyond.

Many businesses will welcome the influx of people, and several events are being held around the patch.

However, the increased traffic flows will bring an increased risk of crashes.

The police will be out in force to encourage good driving behaviour, but we rely on everyone to play their part as well “Arrive Alive”.

Last year there were 38 lives lost on the southern roads, an increase on the previous year despite the effect that Covid-19 has had on visitor numbers.

The impact these tragedies have on the families and friends of those killed cannot be overstated, and for every fatal crash there are many more crashes where people receive injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

Our crashes tend to be caused by a few common themes, which the police refer to as the R.I.D.S. This stands for restraints (seatbelts), impairment (alcohol and drugs), distractions (such as cellphone use and fatigue) and the big one

Our advice to drivers hasn’t changed.

Give you and your family the best chance to get to your travel destination safely this Easter.

Wear your seatbelt.

I’ve never understood why we still see so many people driving without seatbelts.

It’s such a simple thing yet it will save your life.

Plan your trip so you can take regular breaks and don’t drive tired. Being alert will help you make good decisions on the road.

Lastly, and this should really go without saying: don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs. You not only put yourself at risk, but you are a danger to everyone else out on the road as well.

If we all take these basic good driving habits on board the roads will be safer, and we can all enjoy the well-deserved holiday weekend.