Christmas holiday traffic: The worst times to be on the road over the break

Publish Date
Tuesday, 17 December 2019, 11:46AM
Photo / File

Photo / File

The time to stop, relax and bask in the summer sun is almost upon New Zealand but there's just one more hiccup in the way: holiday traffic.

And with almost double the number of deaths in December so far compared to last year, police are pleading with drivers to take it easy.

To help combat the amount of time stuck in traffic, NZ Transport Agency developed an interactive map highlighting the worst times, days and locations to be on the move.

Overall, the weekends are the worst times to travel, with heavy traffic beginning around mid-morning and finishing in the evening.

While traffic is tipped to be bad out of most main centres, horrendous traffic was also expected throughout the Kāpiti Coast.

Starting on Friday and running through until January 5, traffic on State Highway 1 between Peka Peka and Ōtaki would be busy each day.


On Friday, traffic would be busy from 8am until 6.30pm, with its heaviest between 10am and 5.30pm.

The story is worse for Saturday, with traffic building from 6am and becoming heavy for most of the day between 6.30am and 5pm.

And Sunday does not offer much reprieve, with traffic heaviest between 8.30am and 5pm.


Predicted peak times are subjected to change based on the number of traffic incidents, weather and even driver behaviour.

To stay up to date with the latest updates, NZTA said commuters could check their "Journey Planner" for accurate information about road and traffic conditions.

NZTA's top tips for safe holiday driving:

  • Check your car is in good "health" before you head off: Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
  • Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
  • Drive to the conditions: whether it's the weather, the road you're on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Avoid fatigue: Take regular breaks to stay alert.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Be patient: overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Allow plenty of time: Remember you are on holiday, so there's no need to rush.


This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.