MAYOR: Slow down, people make mistakes behind the wheel

Published: 7 December 2023

Council’s roading contractors are busy upgrading stop and give way signs at many rural intersections – signs are bigger, there are more of them, and some have white backgrounds designed to make them even more visible.

No-one sets out to die on our roads, yet mistakes happen and sadly we have had people killed at some of our intersections in the district. So, as Christmas fast approaches, please drive safely.

That message is spread year-round by the Ashburton District Road Safety Co-ordinating Committee, which meets every three months and includes representatives from emergency services, road and transport advocates and agencies like ACADS who have been out in the community talking about not driving if you’ve been drinking.

This week’s meeting agenda had nearly 100 photographs of improvements to some of our rural intersections. They showed new, larger stop and give way signs, and additional signs warning drivers that the new, larger stop and give way signs were coming up.

We also heard about an impactful video being filmed by the South Canterbury road safety team that will be available to our district next year. It deals with young people and and the effects of dangerous  and impaired driving, though that is a subject for all ages.

Speed is another matter for all drivers and we are expecting Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to adjust the speed limit through Rakaia township down to 50km/h in the new year. This will be very welcome by those who live there and who have been asking for a lower limit for years.

The speed over the Rakaia River bridge is eventually expected to drop to 80km/h and drivers will also have to adjust to slow-moving heavy traffic pulling out of the new weigh station that is under construction on the northern side of the river.

Some decisions Council has no say in, but we can monitor the consequences and push for improvements.

We continue to hear unfavourable feedback on the permanent 30km/h speed reductions past local schools and we will be reviewing that decision in February. Variable speed signs, with limits during school time only, may be the best solution at some schools on busier arterial roads but these will cost a whole lot more.

Stay safe on the roads these holidays - drive to the conditions and slow down, because people make mistakes.

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