Safe driving

At this time of year when people are returning from holiday, you don’t want to be in a traffic jam. The NZTA website has cameras showing congested highways. The map of New Zealand on this site has symbols to show different hazards such as road works, or strong winds on high mountain passes.

You can also type in your address and destination for an email about road conditions on the route you plan to travel.

Yesterday was a busy day on the roads as some people had to start work today after their holiday. Next Sunday could also be busy as many businesses which closed for two weeks will open again on Monday.

There will be many tourists travelling in New Zealand for the next two or three months, many of them in rental cars and unfamiliar with New Zealand roads. Our highways are very winding in many places because of our geography. We have hills, some mountain roads, roads through forests, and high, narrow roads above river valleys.

This holiday period which began at 4pm 23rd December and finished at 6am this morning was especially tragic as 19 people were killed in road accidents. This is a very high number for our small population. Police are not sure why there were so many accidents. Five motorcyclists were killed and four pedestrians. In some cases, car drivers and passengers were not wearing seat belts, sometimes alcohol was the problem, sometimes speed, tiredness or lack of experience.


• congested (adj), congestion (n) – too much traffic, cars moving very slowly
• hazards (n) – places where there is danger
• mountain pass (n) – lower road between two mountains
• destination – place you are going to
• tragic (adj), tragedy (n) – very, very sad
• winding (adj), (also windy) – many bends in the road
• lack of (n) – not enough (Note: this is a very common expression eg. lack of time)

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