Keeping road safe for Christmas

By Ripeka Timutimu

Five people have died on our roads in the past three days, and police send a warning to drivers across the country. But one family says preparation is key to staying safe on the roads.

Kat Kupenga and her family are all packed and ready to hit the road.

Kupenga says, "We are off to Taihape for Xmas, then Gisborne, then camping in Te Kaha, so we have been packing lots of equipment and making sure we have everything when we go away its been quite stressful, and we ended up packing the whole house."

She has a plan to keep her whānau safe.

"I'm a pretty safe driver, I don't go over 100, we usually follow each other and always make sure the passenger is always awake and keeping us entertained."

Last year there were 12 road deaths over the 12 day Christmas holiday period and 90 people were seriously injured. 

Kupenga says, "We've seen a couple of accidents, fortunately you know we haven't seen it happen, you know people get in a rush try and overtake in unsafe areas."

Though the roads are quiet today in Wellington, yesterday a fatal accident occurred just outside of the city. This week BRAKE NZ also had a warning to families.

Caroline Perry, Kaiwhakahaere of Brake NZ says, "We know there are lots of people who will be heading off on the roads to see family and friends for Christmas and for the summer holidays so it's very important that everybody plans ahead, that's really key and make sure you leave plenty of time for your journey." 

Kupenga says even rural roads in her hometown on the east coast can be dangerous.

"There seems to be more and more people travelling to the coast in the summer, like camper vans and I think its more dangerous because there's hardly any travelling its up to us to make sure we are keeping safe on the roads."

To keep up to date with traffic, keep an eye on the New Zealand Transport Agency website here. Or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).