Keep calm and carry on (on the roads out of Auckland) - AA

14 December 2021

Keep calm and carry on (on the roads out of Auckland) - AA

The AA is urging motorists crossing the Auckland border on the 15th or over the weekend to be patient and allow plenty of time to get to their destination as the roads are expected to be busy.

AA road safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen says, “Travel early or late in the day if you can, check Waka Kotahi NZTA’s real-time Journey Planner for traffic updates before you leave, and be prepared for delays.”

All travellers aged 12 years 3 months and older are required to either have proof of vaccination or a negative test to travel out of Auckland and your vehicle could be stopped at a checkpoint to verify this, so make sure everyone in the car is following the rules and be ready for trips to potentially take even longer than normal holiday traffic. These requirements do not apply to motorists transiting through Auckland (e.g. from Hamilton to Whangārei) without stopping.

“If a family member or friend is expecting you, don’t give them a specific arrival time, and instead say you hope to be there ‘in the afternoon’ or ‘in the evening’ to remove pressure on yourself to arrive at a certain time,” says Dylan.

“And if you are stopped at a checkpoint during a slow or difficult trip, remember that the police officers are just doing what they are required to do and don’t let your frustrations boil over.”

In other countries there has sometimes been a surge in crashes when they came out of lockdown-type conditions, so the AA wants all drivers to have even more care and caution if they are heading out on the open road.

“If you haven’t been driving much in the past few months, don’t be surprised if you feel a little rusty. Be patient of other motorists and stick to the basics like driving to the conditions, increasing your following distance, looking over your shoulder to check your blindspot before switching lanes and ensuring everyone in the car wears their seatbelt.”

Motorists should also avoid alcohol, drugs or using their cellphone at all times behind the wheel.

“Leave your passengers to pick the music, help with directions and answer your phone, or simply set your phone to Do Not Disturb before you head off,” say Dylan.

“Get a good night’s sleep before your trip to ensure you’re well rested and take regular breaks on your way, especially if you’ve got a long journey ahead of you. 

“We all want to safely arrive at our destinations so we can enjoy summer so make sure you’re looking out for yourself, your passengers and others on the road.” 

AA Travel and Tourism General Manager Greig Leighton adds, “We’ve had a surge in accommodation bookings for the pre-Christmas period this year. With families having been separated by the border and Aucklanders locked down for several months, it looks like some people are using the leave they’ve accrued to start their holidays earlier this year.”

In a normal year, traffic is typically heaviest in the last couple of days leading up to Christmas, and often on Christmas Day, with the heaviest periods between 10am and 6pm.

More top tips for your road trip:

  • Before you head off ensure your car is road trip ready.
  • Think of your steering wheel as a clock and keep your hands at the 9 and 3 positions. It was previously recommended as 10 and 2, but given the majority of modern cars have airbags, this has changed to avoid injury.
  • When you stop to stretch your legs, give your kids and dogs the opportunity to stretch too. Never leave them in a hot car.
  • Keep a bottle of water handy and some healthy, energising snacks.

Waka Kotahi NZTA Journey Planner is available via

AA Members can call AA Roadservice for breakdown assistance on 0800 500 222 or *222

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