National | Drive

Four deaths in 24 hours, drivers urged to keep safe

There have been four road deaths since the official summer holiday road toll began just two days ago, sparking renewed calls by road safety charity Brake NZ to take extra care on the roads.

Traffic's building on the motorways as the madness of the summer holidays kicks in but some would rather stay home.

"I'd rather stay behind and wait until Christmas is over and then go on holiday."

"We're not going anywhere we're going to a friend's, catching an Uber there and back, we're staying local and we won't be on the roads at all."

Last year there were 12 road deaths over the 12-day Christmas holiday period and 90 people were seriously injured. Brake NZ Director, Caroline Perry says with more vehicles on the roads comes a higher risk of roading accidents.

"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."

In an effort to reduce drink-driving numbers in Auckland on the Friday before Christmas, public transport was made free and NZ Police say there are only two people on record so far found to be driving under the influence. Perry took up the opportunity for a free bus ride and believes it's an effective way to prevent drink driving.

"A real mixture of ages, of people too. There were some younger groups of friends going out and also some older people heading to work do's as well so it was really great to see that initiative and we hope to see that again in the near future."

The official road toll period started at 4pm Friday and will end on Thursday 3 January 2019.