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Police warning ahead of wintery weekend

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/06/2016
Police will also be out in force, along with the 4km/h speed limit shadow being enforced. © Getty Images Police will also be out in force, along with the 4km/h speed limit shadow being enforced.

As a wintry chill sets in across the country ahead of the Queen's Birthday weekend, the police and the government are warning travellers to be wary on open roads.

Last year five people were killed and 28 seriously injured in 96 crashes over the long weekend, with over half of fatal crashes on the open road.

The official holiday period road toll kicks off at 4pm on Friday - running until 6am on Tuesday - and police are warning drivers to prepare for lower temperatures and unexpected winter weather.

"It only takes a split second to lose control of a vehicle in wet or icy conditions," National road policing manager Steve Greally said. "Our roads are unique, they are challenging and they are demanding."

He said driving too fast contributed to about a third of all fatal crashes and drivers needed to adjust their speed to worsening conditions. Police will also be out in force, along with the 4km/h speed limit shadow being enforced.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said a recent survey had found seat belt use was slightly down to 96.5 per cent and drivers needed to buckle up.

"It's so easy to help keep yourself and your family safe on the roads and yet some people still refuse to buckle up. It defies logic," he said. "A 2014 study also shows that 30 per cent of fatalities could have been avoided if the person had been wearing a safety belt or helmet."

The first and only year where there was no fatalities over the weekend was 2013, while the highest toll ever was 24 in 1973. Meanwhile, hikers are also being warned to check the weather, be well equipped and plan their trips, while hunters are being urged to remember firearms safety rules.

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