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Published: 2013-05-08 00:00:00

All road users are being urged to increase their visibility on Waikato’s roads to help reduce the risk of crashes over the coming winter months.

The “headlights on” safety messages form one part of the ‘reduce the risk’ winter campaign and will be seen on highway billboards being installed across the Waikato to tie in with Road Safety Week (6-12 May). 

“It’s not just about ensuring you can see the road in front and any hazards. It’s about doing all you can to help other motorists see you too, whether it’s day or night,” said Waikato Regional Council’s road safety coordinator, Monique Haines. 

“Over recent year it’s been encouraging to see so many motorists taking on board these messages in the Waikato by turning their headlights on outside the normal dusk-to-dawn period. 

“Having your headlights on is critically important for all road users, including truck and car drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists. Being visible really does reduce your risk of a head-on crash and so improves your safety.” 

Mrs Haines backed a recent call made by the Cycling Advocates Network for cyclists to ensure they are well-lit now that daylight savings has ended. 

“Respect other road users by ensuring you are wearing high visibility clothing when you are riding both a motorbike and a bicycle. 

“Cyclists in particular should ensure they know the rules around having lights on the front and back of bikes, as well as pedal reflectors or reflective clothing at night.” 

She also urged motorists to adjust to the conditions. “That means reducing your speed and increasing your following distance in rain, and stopping off the road if conditions deteriorate to the point that visibility is poor.” 

Billboards erected en route to the central North Island ski fields will also remind motorists of the need to take breaks. “Please don’t ignore the signs of fatigue. Take a break every two hours  or stop for a power nap before continuing your journey. It could save lives.” 

The Waikato Regional Road Safety Education Group is led by Waikato Regional Council, working in conjunction with other regional safety stakeholders including the NZ Transport Agency, NZ Police, ACC and local councils. 

For more information about the group’s work visit www.reducetherisk.co.nz.