Motorists going away for Auckland Anniversary Weekend are urged to plan ahead, be patient, drive to the conditions and avoid busy travel times on state highways.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says drivers leaving Auckland on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and returning on Monday are likely to face heavy traffic volumes.
The Transport Agency has an interactive holiday journeys map for the long weekend, which shows predicted traffic flow based on previous years’ travel patterns.
“This tool is great because it can help people decide whether to take an alternative route or hit the road when traffic flows are lighter, either early in the morning or later in the day,” says the Transport Agency’s Auckland Operations Manager, Rua Pani.
“Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather or even driver behaviour, motorists should also check our journey planner just before they head off, which provides traffic information and updates on delays, road works and road closures in real time.”
We know that traffic heading north from Auckland on Friday will be busiest between Puhoi and Wellsford from 2pm to 7pm. It’s also busy Saturday between 11am and 2pm.
SH1 is the busy main route north from Auckland, but motorists should consider taking SH16 as an alternative route as far as Wellsford. At busy times, electronic signs on SH1 will display estimated travel times via SH1 and SH16 to give motorists a choice.
Heading back to Auckland on Monday the busiest travel times are from about 10:30am through until 4pm.
For motorists heading south or to the Coromandel, the Southern Motorway (SH1) is busiest through Takanini on Saturday morning between 8am and 11am. Returning on Monday, the motorway is busiest from Midday through to 5:30pm.
“If you can plan your travel outside of these times you’ll be giving yourself a much less stressful weekend and help ease congestion levels for everyone else,” says Ms Pani.
Tips for safe driving this long weekend:
• Check your car is in good “health” before you head off. Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
• Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
• Drive to the conditions - whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
• Avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks to stay alert.
• Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
• Be patient – overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
• Allow plenty of time. Remember you are on holiday, so there’s no need to rush.
Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:
• Traffic updates: nzta.govt.nz/traffic
• Facebook: facebook.com/nztaakl
• Twitter: twitter.com/nztaakl
• Journey planner: journeys.nzta.govt.nz
• Phone: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)