Drivers urged to take more care

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 12/08/2012

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Christchurch motorists are getting better at driving through intersections, but about half of the city's crashes are still caused by people not paying enough attention at a junction, new figures show.

NZ Transport Authority figures show 3577 crashes were reported at Christchurch intersections in the three years to March 31 this year. These resulted in 27 people being killed, 290 suffering serious injuries and 1418 suffering minor to moderate injuries.

Canterbury road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said drivers had improved over the past few years.

The number of drivers caught running red lights last year dropped by 8.8 per cent on the year before, while those caught failing to stop at a stop sign decreased by 3.3 per cent during the same period.

The biggest decrease last year came with drivers caught failing to comply with orange traffic lights, with 833 caught last year, down 19.7 per cent on 2010 (1037).

Despite the improvement, Christchurch was a "big city" and intersection crashes would happen, Stewart said.

"We do have a lot of multi- lane roads and intersections and high volumes of traffic."

After the February 2011 earthquake, the city had a "lot of displacement of traffic".

"[There was] a high volume of traffic going through roads that were never designed for that," he said.

Earthquake disruption had been one of many factors contributing to crashes at the city's intersections.

Most crashes were caused by drivers failing to give way when turning to non-turning traffic (720), followed by failing to see or look when required to give way to traffic from another direction (650) and failing to give way at a give-way sign (446).

"A better chance to get through safely is to reduce speed and think about what you're doing," Stewart said.

"For most people, that just sounds like common sense, but unfortunately for some people, they're just not thinking."

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- The Press

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