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Road Safety

Flush Median:

The centre flush median through Tinwald has been widened as part of the SH1 Tinwald Corridor Project and we wanted to remind road users how to use them in case you're unsure.

Below is a snippet from the road code on how to safely use a flush median:
- It's alright to drive on a flush median for a short distance if you're turning into or out of a side road or driveway. You can use them to slow down before making a right hand turn, or to merge left into a gap in the traffic flow.
- If  you're using the flush median to make a right hand turn you should indicate, then steer gently onto the median rather than at an abrupt angle. Use the median as an area to slow down and brake.
- Carry out a similar manoeuvre if you're using the flush median as a refuge before merging into traffic on your left. Remember to indicate and check your mirrors, accelerate and move gently into a gap in the traffic.
- When using a flush median, always remember to watch out for pedestrians, other vehicles using the median and any raised islands.

Flush Median

For more information on the SH1 Tinwald Corridor Improvements Project, contact or visit


At all intersections, check and check again.

Between 2019 – 2023, 312 crashes occurred at intersections in the district. Of those crashes, 144 involved an injury and nine were fatal.

How to reduce your chances of crashing at an intersection:
- When you come to a roundabout, slow down and give way to all vehicles that will cross your path from your right.
- At intersections with a Stop sign, always come to a complete stop. Do not just slow down.
- Always obey the Give Way rules – find out how they work in the official New Zealand Road Code.
- When approaching an intersection without any signs, Give Way to all vehicles where it is unsafe to pull out in front of.
- At intersections controlled by traffic lights, be prepared to Stop. If the lights have been green for a while, then it is likely they will turn amber soon. Do not speed up to get through the amber light. Always stop on amber if you can safely do so. Approaching at an appropriate speed makes stopping easier.
- Take special care to look for cyclists, motorcyclists and any pedestrians who may start crossing the road you’re turning into.

Learn more about Give way rules.
Know your way around roundabouts.


Road Safety experts agree that the largest contributor to road fatalities around the world is poor speed selection, in other words: speeding. The Ashburton district is no exception. In fact, speeding is one of the highest contributors to crashes in the district. No matter the cause of the crash, the speed of the driver determines the severity.

Faster speed means:
- More likelihood that the driver will lose control of the vehicle as the effects of a drivers mistakes are magnified.
- A decreased chance of anticipating oncoming hazards in good time as the distance travelled in the reaction time is greater.
- It takes longer to stop if there is a road hazard
- It is harder for other drivers to judge the speed of your vehicle
- Much greater kinetic energy that must be absorbed by the impact, in other words: more damage caused.

A pedestrian has a 10% chance of death being hit by a car travelling at 30km/h whereas a car travelling at 50km/h, the chance of death is 80%. With only a 20km/h speed difference the chance of a fatality is increased dramatically.

Reducing the average driving speeds by 4km/h would reduce the total number of road deaths by 15% and the total number injured by 8%. A 4km/h speed reduction in New Zealand would stop 480 injuries and save 45 lives a year.

  • At 60km/h the car will just hit the pedestrian
  • At 65km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 30km/h
  • At 70km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 43km/h
  • At 75km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 53km/h
  • At 80km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 62km/h

How can you help:The speed limit is set for a reason. Make sure you obey the speed limit!

If you see anyone driving recklessly, you can report them here.

Mature Drivers:

Road Safety is vital for drivers of all ages. As part of the Ashburton District Council Rod Safety Programme, mature drivers in the Ashburton district are offered a free annual course which is run by Age Concern.

What does this course involve:
You will be guided through a one day, five hour session using a workbook which you keep at the end of the session. The course is designed to informative, enjoyable and informal – there are no tests/exams and you will receive a certificate of attendance. This course is free with morning tea, lunch and refreshments provided.

Who is this course for:
If any of these scenarios have happened to you, then this course is ideal.
- Having several near misses, or crashes in the past three years.
- Being confused as to who should Give Way at an intersection.
- Experiencing difficulty in shifting focus from near to far objects.
- Having difficulty looking over your shoulder to change lanes.
- Saying to yourself ‘where did that car come from?'
- Having family or friends point out driving errors.

2024 course dates:
Friday 31 May 2024 – Senior Centre, Ashburton.

To book your place on the course, please contact Age Concern on (03) 366 0903 or email for more information.

Young Drivers:

The first six months after achieving a restricted license are the most risky for a young driver. They are five times more likely to be involved in a vehicle accident than a learner driver and seven times more likely than a 45 – 49 year old driver. It is generally accepted that the reasons for this increase are a lack of knowledge, insight, driving skill and general lack of experience behind the wheel.

How can you help your child become a safer driver:
Supervision even during their restricted license – the average supervised driving practice for young New Zealanders is 40 hours. It is internationally recommended that young drivers have 120 hours of supervised driving practice before driving alone.

Drop your bad habits:
A parents driving style, habits and attitudes to road safety will influence a young persons driving behaviour. A parent is likely to influence their child’s driving behaviour before they even begin the process of learning to drive.

Driver training:
Focus on the quality and relevance of the training you give your child when they are on their leaners and restricted drivers license. Too many young drivers are involved in car accidents, you have the knowledge and experience to make sure your child isn’t one of them.

For tips on how to be the best driving teacher, visit these tips for driving coaches.

Going for your license:
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have produced some handy g​uides to help you pass your Restricted license test and your Full licence test.
Drive​ - Online videos and resources by NZTA and ACC to help learner drivers pass their restricted licence test.


Research has shown that wearing high visibility gear such as fluorescent clothing including helmets can reduce a motorcyclists risk. The more visible you are, the less likely it is that a driver will not see you and the less chance there is of being hit. Never assume a driver has seen you, position yourself so drivers of other vehicles will see you. Get to know the blind spots and stay out of them.

Good gear can also prevent or reduce injuries in a crash by over half. Always wear appropriate safety gear when riding. Whatever your level, training will make you a better rider – as well as improving your handling skills, it will increase your ability to scan ahead for hazards, which will reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.

Always ride to the conditions.

Safe riding habits:
- Have a suspicious on road attitude.
- Scan for hazards by looking well ahead, behind and beside you.
- Use your mirrors frequently.
- Maintain a safety zone free of all hazards.
- If you ride faster or slower than the flow of traffic, you become a hazard.
- Identify an escape route in front of you at all times.
- Ride with your lights on day and night.
- Make sure other drivers can see you at all times (wear a bright coloured helmet, high visibility vest or strips)
- Ride and corner at safe speeds, no faster than a speed at which you can stop in the clear space ahead of you.
- Do not ride up between vehicles at intersections.
- Do not weave between vehicles on multi-lane roads – it is illegal and dangerous. Remain within your own lane and practice safe following distances.

Visit Ride Forever for information on training courses.
Visit NZTA for more information on motorcycles.

Visiting overseas drivers:

Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving in other countries. Several crashes in the district are caused by not keeping to the left of the road, fatigue, distractions of the landscape and loss of control due to high speed.

General guidelines to keep safe on the roads in Mid Canterbury are:
- If you are tired, pull over in a safe spot and have a rest
- Driver slower on unsealed roads (70km/h)
- Stay focused on the road, pull over to a safe spot if you want to look at landscape.
Always keep on the left hand side of the road.

Learn more about safe visitor driving in Mid Canterbury

Ashburton Road Safety Coordinating Committee:

A number of key partners are involved in Road Safety in the Ashburton district including:
- Ashburton District Council
- New Zealand Police
- Waka Kotahi, New Zealand Transport Agency
- Accident Compensation Corporation
- Fire and Emergency New Zealand
- other key agencies, groups and individuals.

These parties form the Ashburton District Road Safety Coordinating Committee. The committee meets every three months to discuss Road Safety issues.