Drivers more courteous after change

Crash stats down on last year

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:21 20/06/2012
Traffic
DEREK FLYNN

Modified driving: Cars negotiate late afternoon traffic on the corner of Maxwell and Henry St in central Blenheim yesterday.

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Drivers in Marlborough deserve a big tick for their driving following the changes in the road rules in March, says Marlborough Highway Patrol.

Instead of more confusion and accidents on the roads, drivers are more cautious and courteous after the new intersection rules were introduced on March 25.

There were 27 vehicle crashes in the Marlborough area in March 2012, compared with 35 in March 2011, said a spokesman for the New Zealand Transport Agency.

In April 2011, there were 29 crashes in Marlborough, while 35 occurred in April 2012.

The number of intersection crashes in the Marlborough region show a similar trend, with 15 crashes reported in March 2011, compared to 13 in 2012.

In April last year there were 14 intersection crashes, while 15 there were in April this year.

Marlborough highway patrol manager Sergeant Barrie Greenallsaid the higher number in April could be attributed to the increase in traffic flow during the Easter period.

"Historically, April has always had more traffic on the roads," he said.

The changes to the road rules have made people more cautious on the roads, and more courteous to other drivers, especially when they are approaching a junction, Mr Greenall said.

People were aware there may be confusion regarding the new rules, and were being more careful because of that, he said.

"They know they are in the right, but the other person might not be sure what they're doing, so they exercise caution when they are coming up to an intersection," Mr Greenall said.

"A big tick to the drivers of Marlborough over the road rule change, as far as I'm concerned."

Nationally, one insurance company, AA Insurance, said it has received only a handful of claims that can be attributed to the March 25 changes.

"The handful of claims we received related, for the most part, to driver confusion about how to apply the catchphrase, `Top of the T goes before me'," said AA Insurance head of corporate affairs Suzanne Wolton.

Drivers are exercising caution and courtesy at intersections, with plenty of eye contact and hand and light signals between drivers, she said.

"As a driving nation, we have got ourselves sorted out pretty quickly, and, when in doubt, we have applied the universal rule: be cautious and courteous," Ms Wolton said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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