Ahh Boxing day, the day when two of the major NZ pilgrimages occur. Either to the shops or hitting the road to head to beach towns around the country in the lead up to the new year. If you are doing any of these activities then it pays to remember that you’re not the only one so drive safely out there and expect there to be traffic and delays.

Below is from the NZTA.

Plan ahead to avoid heavy Boxing Day traffic  

Boxing Day (26 December) traffic will be heavy on regional highways and roads, and the NZ Transport Agency is advising drivers to plan for a safe journey and to avoid delays.

“This is one of our busiest times of the year – the time when Aucklanders traditionally head north and south for their holidays and the city’s Christmas sales start,” says the Transport Agency’s Highway Manager, Tommy Parker.  “We’ll be working hard to manage traffic flows as safely as possible and to keep people informed of traffic and road condition.

One of the busiest highways will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road on SH1 north of Auckland.

Last Christmas holiday there was an average of 19,900 trips a day – the busiest day was 2 January when there were 23,500 trips.  The yearly average for the toll road is 15,000 trips per day.

“The tremendous increase in holiday traffic on the toll road indicates just how busy highways will be in Auckland and Northland, and the need for drivers to plan their trips and to allow plenty of time for a safe journey.”

Mr Parker says the Transport Agency strongly supports the 4km/h enforcement tolerance being employed by Police as part of the Safe Summer programme.

“Evidence shows that even very small reductions in open road speeds leads to reductions in fatalities and serious injuries,” he says. “The Police will be out in force to make journeys as safe as possible by discouraging speeding, drink-driving, and other unsafe driving that puts everyone at risk.”

Mr Parker says drivers  can do their part by planning ahead to share the driving and avoid fatigue, being patient and keeping to safe speeds, driving sober, avoiding distractions and checking their vehicles before heading off.

“Away from city motorways, drivers will be sharing roads through towns and rural communities with a lot of other people.   Christmas is a popular time for children to learn how to cycle, but they often can make unpredictable moves and also can be poor judges of distance and vehicle speed.”

Mr Parker says the probability of death for cyclists or walkers struck by a vehicle increases rapidly with relatively small increases in speed.  A cyclist or walker struck by a vehicle at 45 km/h has about a 50% chance of survival, whereas at 55 km/h the survival rate plummets to around 15%.

“This is one of the reasons why we are 100% behind Police strictly enforcing speed limits to keep the roads safer for everyone this summer.

“The risk of a crash increases at this time of year because there is more traffic and more congestion. Our wish for everyone during the Christmas break is for a safe crash-free holiday. Too many Kiwi families have their holidays marred by avoidable tragedies on the road, but if we all do our part this doesn’t have to be the case,” Mr Parker says

I wonder if we’ll see any articles this year moaning about the Puhoi to Warkworth road?

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  1. Is it tomorrow that’s often called “Holiday Highway Day”? In other words, the one day of the year we actually need it.

        1. Warkworth and Wellsford bypasses are so logical it’s not even funny. Why haven’t these been started already?

        2. They were planned years ago, those plans for incremental upgrades got cancelled once the RoNS scheme was rolled out. We might have had the bypass under construction already if they stuck to the original programme, instead the only way to do it is as part of a billion dollar motorway that might be complete sometime around 2025.

  2. Shore to Warkworth this morning, no problem. A bit of queuing at the Warkworth signals, but not a new highway’s worth.

  3. Oh Dear. 1030am on Friday 27th and the traffic from Warkworth is queued back 11kms. When are they going to build this damn motorway so that I can get to my golf club in good time on 27th December and 2nd Jan?

  4. We drove to St Lukes at 12 noon for our sins and left just around 2:30. Bought only a handful of things in the end, certainly not the tsunami of bargains you would expect for enduring the parking and the crowds indoors. Now I know why it’s been about eight years since we last did this. Won’t be rushing back.

  5. I had the misfortune of needing to buy a phone yesterday (having held off for the previous two days). It wasn’t much fun.

    In the summer, elsewhere, the trains are always full on Boxing Day, and around the New Year period. They’re an excellent complement to a strong and vibrant city, where people enjoy their summers. I can’t wait until we have the same experience.

    1. Needed to buy a phone on a public holiday! What a First World sob story. Protect the workers’ and allow them public holidays off as well.

      1. I’m moving cities in two days, and need to be contactable. As they should, workers who are asked to do public holidays get time and a half, and a day in lieu.

        I’m someone who spent most of last year and this working with local colleagues in the poorest country in Asia – they enjoy their phones as much as we do, for all the same reasons. Humans value connection to the ones they love. Technology is rightly universal, which is why the (to pull this back onto topic) New Zealand dismissal of experiences outside the Anglosphere (UK, Australia, USA, Canada) is quite unjustified, no matter how common it may be.

  6. The MFD family is currently on vacation north of Newcastle, NSW. We travelled by train to Sydney for the day from a suburban Newcastle station rather than driving all the way.

    Impressions of the service:
    Low price. $29 return for a family of 5 for around 5 hours of travel.
    Very basic car interior. 1960s hospital green interior, flipover seats, no route maps or indicators, no food or drink for sale on a 2.5 hour journey. No power outlets. Faulty PA system on the return journey. AC set a bit too low for comfort.
    Slow but smooth.
    Delivered right to the heart of the city via the Harbour bridge.

    Research suggests the stock was a V set dating to the early 70s. Although I see many negative comments re the age of Auckland’s trains the interiors are vastly superior to these old NSW EMUs.

    Would we do it again? Absolutely. Beats driving and parking.

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