23 Dec 2018

Police urge drivers to take care after 'horrific' start to holiday season

11:55 am on 23 December 2018

The police are urging holiday drivers to take extra care.

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Photo: RNZ / Catherine Hutton

Four people have died in road crashes so far this weekend, and officers say they do not want to tell more families their loved ones have died.

The first casualty was in Christchurch on Friday night, followed by a second near Tauranga early yesterday morning.

A third person crashed in Canterbury around midday yesterday, and the fourth was killed when their van rolled north of Twizel.

In a statement, the police said four deaths in 24 hours was a "horrific" start to the holiday season.

"We cannot imagine how this will impact the families of those involved at what is supposed to be a happy time of year," national manager road policing Superintendent Steve Greally said.

"The last thing Police want to do is turn up on a loved one's doorstep in the days before Christmas and tell them someone is dead."

He said people should ensure they wore seatbelts, and were sober and well-rested if getting behind the wheel.

"With more people on the roads over the holiday season, and with bad weather forecast for a number of regions in the coming days, it's also crucial that you drive to the conditions."

Mr Greally told RNZ they have extra people patrolling the roads at this time of year.

But he also said drivers need to act sensibly.

"We're out there in big numbers over the holiday period, we always are, trying to keep people safe from themselves, I mean it really comes down to driver responsibility, people making stupid decisions and putting everybody at risk, it's incredibly tragic."

The official holiday road toll period begins tomorrow afternoon.