Fatigue stop during festive time
Drivers heading through the Waioeka Gorge on Wednesday 28 December will get a special welcome to the region thanks to the efforts of staff from Tairāwhiti Roads, Gisborne Police and the New Zealand Fire Service.
The trio of organisations will have a fatigue stop at the Manganuku rest area where vehicles will be pulled over and travellers offered free coffee and a snack. Drivers will also receive a fatigue pack.
Tairāwhiti Roads road safety educator Dianne Akurangi says many people think of driver fatigue as someone falling asleep at the wheel, but it is far more encompassing.
“Falling asleep is an extreme form of fatigue,” she says. “Fatigue is tiredness, weariness or exhaustion and can impair your driving before you ‘nod off’.
“There are a few key things that need to be done before heading out on a long trip – have a good night’s sleep, eat good food and pull over for a rest if you’re feeling tired,” says Ms Akurangi.
“Our fatigue stop will be like a little camp site with music, shade, food and of course the swimming hole, which is very popular in summer.”
For the New Zealand Fire Service, volunteers from Matawai will be out in force.
Nevill Tohill, the chief fire officer at the Matawai Volunteer Fire Brigade, says the combined effort between the 3 organisations is fitting.
“We all work together pro-actively to prevent fatigue-related accidents,” he says.
Road policing supervisor Sergeant Dean Plowman is keen to encourage travellers to not just make the most of the fatigue stop in the gorge, but also plan a little to ensure everyone is safe on our roads.
“We want everyone to be safe and feel safe on our roads,” says Sergeant Plowman. “We want people to have the confidence that the Police, in partnership with many others, are focused on safer journeys for everyone.”
Sergeant Plowman says the December fatigue stop is an important part of what local police do in the lead up to Rhythm & Vines.
“This enables us to deliver key messages around driver fatigue and breath test every driver, so the messages are clear around these 2 potentially fatal activities on our roads.
“Driver fatigue has been identified as a serious risk to motorists at any time of the year but the risk increases during the festive season with many of us celebrating with friends and family and often burning the candle at both ends.”
Those driving long distances need to be aware of the dangers. A number of fatal and serious crashes both locally and nationally have fatigue identified as one of the causes.
“This work is important to us because if we can get the message out there that fatigued drivers are a serious risk to the safety of everyone on the road, then we may be able to save lives.”
Packing the packs . . . the team preparing for the fatigue stop look over the goodies to be handed out to travellers in the Waioeka Gorge, (from left) Tairawhiti Roads road safety educator Dianne Akurangi, Matawai Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Neville Tohill with the brigade’s operational support unit volunteer Anne Tohill, and road policing supervisor Sergeant Dean Plowman.