Services > Safe Speeds

Speed related crashes are an area of high concern and identified as a continuing road safety issue across the cluster.

As at April 2016 the death toll on NZ roads sits at 109. This time in 2015 there were 111. What are we doing to reduce our road toll?

23% of drivers in New Zealand travel above the 100km per hour speed limit on the open road. Wairarapa is a rural area with many open roads. 

For more statistics see:

5186 tickets issued to drivers speeding in a 50KM/H posted speed limit area (1167 issued in person, 4019 issued by post from speed camera)

Driving safely within speed limits

Many drivers aren’t aware that they can be travelling at the speed limit and still be driving unsafely.

The speed limit is the maximum legal speed that you can travel at on a road in perfect conditions.

However, road conditions are rarely perfect. As a safe driver, you’ll have to look out for changes in traffic, road and weather conditions, and reduce your speed accordingly.

Adjust your speed to the conditions

Traffic conditions

Traffic conditions that you might need to reduce your speed for include:

  • high volumes of traffic on the road
  • pedestrians, joggers and cyclists
  • holiday times when there are lots of visitors on the road
  • parked cars.

Road conditions

Road conditions you should reduce your speed for include:

  •   bumpy or narrow areas on the road
  •   wet, icy or gravel road surfaces
  •   signs warning of hazards such as sharp curves or a slippery surface.

Weather conditions

Weather conditions you should reduce your speed for include:

  • rain, snow and ice
  • wind
  • fog
  • bright sunlight. 


School & Buses

Signs operate on 7 day cycle come on when children are most likely to be travelling to or from school, can also be activated manually during the day if required due to activity at the school.

Current locations: MDC - Lake View School, Solway School, Masterton Primary School, Fernridge School, Mauriceville School, Tinui School, Johnston Street.

Stopping Distances

Faster you go the bigger the mess

Safe speeds are sometimes discussed in terms of ‘survivable speeds’ – the speeds at which a person is likely to survive a crash find out more: Survivable Speeds



Simply share a photo on your school facebook page telling us how your family parked the car and travelled actively. Include your name and use #waimovinmarch in your post and you are in to win!


The idea of “Park the Car” is described loosely to allow for students and families to share moments where you have decided to park the car/not use the car for travel and find an alternative active or more sustainable option. This does not have to be during school time, to allow for rural students and families to be able to take part, you can show us what you got up to over the weekends with friends.

How to take part:
-Schools MUST be signed up for Movin’ March in order for their student entries to be considered
-Students/Parents POST photos on their own school facebook pages or the Wairarapa Road Safety Council facebook page with a photo of what they did to “Park the Car”.
-On the POST include: Photo, a small explanation (including the student’s name entering) & #waimovinmarch
-Each post goes in the draw that is drawn on Monday 1st April.

Terms and Conditions:
-Each photo can only be submitted once & each individual student can only enter twice
-The hashtag #waimovinmarch must be used and all instructions completed correctly in order for the entry to be valid
-Draws will be done at random and the decision will be final
-Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash
-By submitting a photo on the school or WRSC facebook pages, you are consenting to the photo being used by WRSC or the school for related promotional use in other media forums such as website, newsletter and newspaper.

How the draw takes place:
-The RSC/RSM will collect entries via facebook searching the hashtag #waimovinmarch
-Any entries without the correct information supplied will not be put in the draw
-Entries will be printed, folded and drawn out of a box by a WRSC staff member.

Winter Driving in Wairarapa & BeyondWinter Driving in Wairarapa & Beyond

Wairarapa is renowned for its changeable weather. You could drive from Masterton down to Pirinoa and back out to Martinborough and have 3 different sets of weather conditions... which means you should plan and prepare before you land yourself on an icy, wet or even snowbound road. 

  • ›  Call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS  for the latest road conditions - CHECK BEFORE YOU GO

  • ›  Dress for the conditions, carry additional warm clothes and keep a survival kit in your vehicle in case you do get stuck.

  • ›  Ensure your car is roadworthy and keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle in case you get diverted onto another route or you are forced to turn back. GIVE IT A TWIRL


  • ›  Drive slower than you normally would – it only takes a split second to lose control in wet or icy conditions.

  • ›  Avoid sudden braking or turning that could cause you to skid. Accelerate smoothly and brake gently, and use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill.

  • ›  For vehicles without anti-skid braking systems, pump the brake pedal in short rapid bursts rather than pressing long and hard to avoid skidding or sliding.

  • ›  Drive at a safe travelling distance because it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule to ensure a safe distance between you and the car in front.

  • ›  When travelling in fog, rain or snow, drive with your lights dipped for increased safety. 


    For latest winter driving conditions in your area check our links on our Roading Conditions Page or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)


Bruce Pauling, Manager of the Wairarapa Road Safety Council said the 1,000 hi-viz vests rollout for Wairarapa Primary School students was a great example of community collaboration, with the goal of safety for our youngest and most vulnerable road users.

‘I approached TRANZIT with the idea and they immediately were on board. It’s a great fit for us as TRANZIT are a longstanding local transport service, heavily involved with our schools, and also support our councils’ ‘cycle safety programme’ in Wairarapa schools.

Schools get parents on board and the kids wear the vests to & from school, whether cycling, walking or scootering. Particularly important in the gloomy winter months, but important ‘all year round’ to be as visible as possible to our local drivers, who can then watch out for them.’
The initiative follows on from the Safety Councils’ rollout of vests for rural bus school students in 2016.
Gina Smith: Principal Featherston School
'A high percentage of our students walk or scooter to school everyday. They have two busy roads to cross and few crossings for them to use. At least now we know these students will be easier to see and therefore safer from those people who travel at some speed down these roads. We would like to thank our Wairarapa Road Safety Team and Tranzit for their generosity and caring enough to help keep our tamariki safe.

Jenna Snelgrove: Manager TRANZIT Coachlines Wairarapa;
'True to our company values, customers and safety comes first, so supporting Road Safety Wairarapa’s initiative to roll out high-vis vests in schools was a natural fit for Tranzit.

Lots of kids in our region walk, scooter and bike and hundreds of them catch our buses to school each day. Not many people know the legal speed limit to drive past a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off students is 20km in both directions. 

These are little people around big moving fast vehicles who might not be as aware of their surroundings, it’s about making road users more aware children are there and so they can change their driving behaviour around school buses. 

It’s fantastic to see Featherston school so supportive of this initiative.

Take up the Ride Forever #beabetterrider challenge and show us what you've got.

Challenge yourself to be a better rider


From November 2016 to March 2017, Ride forever posted videos of four basic manoeuvres all riders should be able to do, and challenged you to show us what you’ve got by posting a video of you doing each of them (check out the four manoeuvres further down the page).

Ride forever now have a NEW challenge for you—the offset weave. Take the challenge and get a mate to video you doing it, then post your video to your Facebook page with the hashtag #beabetterrider. Make sure your post is public so we can see it.

Whether it’s done perfectly or it all goes pear-shaped, not to worry, Ride forever have  got another $500 riding jacket up for grabs. All publically posted #beabetterrider videos of riders attempting the offset weave challenge will go into the draw to win. And even if you don’t win the jacket, you’ll automatically qualify for a free Ride Forever course.

Be a Better Rider challenge 5: Offset weave

‘Down with speed’ ‘UP WITH SEATBELTS’‘Down with speed’ ‘UP WITH SEATBELTS’

Speed facts don’t lie!

• The likelihood of a casualty crash involvement doubles for every 5km/h above a 60km/h limit & every 10km/h above a 100km/h limit

• Around town, the likelihood of killing a pedestrian increases from 10% at an impact speed of 30km/h to 70% at 50km/h (SLOW DOWN around schools and pedestrian crossings)

• The slower we go, the greater chances of stopping short of the hazard ahead

• Winter is coming and it takes a further 25 metres to stop on a wet road than a dry road at 100km/h (drive to the conditions)


 On Sunday 7th May the Wairarapa Road Safety Council are teaming up with Mitre 10 Mega Masterton (am) & Martinborough (pm) to raise awareness around speed & seatbelts. Come and engage at the stall or try the ‘seatbelt demonstrator’, and be in to win an automotive prize pack from each store, and one of two child restraints or booster seats from the Road Safety Council.

Chocolates, information & giveaways for the kids as well. Schools, kindys & early childhood centres have access to road safety resources to run activities around road safety to make the kids aware of safety on and around the road.

The road safety council will also be out and about at our 5 towns over the week talking to locals, listening to their concerns & handing out giveaways as well.

Bruce Pauling, Road Safety Council Manager and ex 30 year Police road policing veteran, wants locals to focus on reducing speeds and ensuring seatbelts are worn by….’everyone…. every trip…..every time’ ‘Our biggest issue locally are crashes resulting from speed and loss of control on our rural roads. Not only that, but we also lag behind the national ‘seatbelt compliance’ rate.’

Pauling says that over the years we have made great strides in drink/ drive attitudes and  behaviour, but sadly our ‘lax’ attitudes to speed and seatbelts are responsible for far too many deaths and injuries both locally and nationally.

‘We have to change mind sets such as ‘we are only going up the road, I’m a safe driver, or I’ll decide what I’ll do in my own car. You cannot predict what other drivers will do and what may happen. Mistakes happen, BUT if everyone is ‘belted up’ and you are travelling at a safe speed for all the conditions, then the outcomes WILL be better for yourself and your passengers.’

‘Families don’t have to suffer the emotional and physical pain that serious crashes bring. ‘Ninety three deaths could have been prevented in 2016 on NZ roads, by simply wearing a seatbelt. These are avoidable tragedies. It takes a few seconds to put on your belt, doesn’t cost anything, and saves lives. Why wouldn’t you wear one?’

As far as the safety of our ‘littlies’ in vehicles go, Pauling says ‘positive modelling’ reinforces safety with children. ‘Kids will copy adult behaviour for sure. Be the role model by ensuring you and they are properly restrained. Inform them it is for every ones safety, and it’s the law’.

Always wear your seatbelt

Road Safety Week 2017 in Wairarapa will take place 7-14 May, and will coincide with the

4th Global Safety Week focusing on speed, and locally also on seatbelts.

Find out more, visit us at:

 Finally, Pauling says, ‘As locals, we all travel the same roads…do the right thing and reduce your speeds, and do the easy thing and wear your seatbelts’.

Rural Schools High Vis Vest RolloutRural Schools High Vis Vest Rollout

Children waiting for the school bus on rural roads are often hard to see. We are providing children (via their schools) reflective vests to be worn when on the roadside waiting to get on and off the bus to help increase their visibility.

As a parent you’re probably well aware that children can be on the roadside waiting for the bus between 7-8.45am and returning between 3.15-4.30pm so if you’re on the road take more care knowing that a child may be running late in the mornings or excited to get home in the afternoons.

What else can you do to help make our roads safer?

1. The legal speed limit to drive past a stopped school bus is 20km/h in both directions, please slow down.

2. Look and think ahead when driving. Especially when coming into a section of sun strike or shading.

3. Look twice, when you quickly scan the road your brain only picks up what it is expecting to see, take a second look.

4. Encourage your child to be comfortable in bright colours. And if you’re out walking, riding or jogging on your rural road, make sure you can be seen.

Please share these messages with your neighbours. No matter if you’re walking, riding, jogging or driving, we ALL have a responsibility for our own safety and of those around us on Wairarapa Roads.

For more information contact your school in the first instance or contact us:

Holly Hullena - Projects Coordinator

Wairarapa Road Safety Council

Ph: 06 377 1379 / E:

Slow Down Wairarapa WideSlow Down Wairarapa Wide

September is "speed" month on the NZTA and Police road safety calendar.  This month has traditionally been one of the years worst months for speed related crashes nationally, and we want to highlight the issues and remind people what they can do locally to lessen the risks.

Unfortunately, speed related crashes are our single biggest issue across the Wairarapa region, and especially on our local roads.

Between 2010 and 2014, as a region, we suffered 6 fatalities and 28 serious injuries from these crashes….this is not even counting minor and non-injury crashes.

First we need to accept that we have a problem, and that as locals, we are speeding, crashing, and hurting others and ourselves. We need to fully understand that our local roads are not highways. They can be narrow, windy, unlit at night and have changing surfaces. It’s not always ok to travel 100km/h, and by slowing down, if we do make a mistake and crash, then the chances of injuries are greatly reduced.

Our local campaign is called ‘Slow down-Wairarapa wide’. We’re asking locals no matter what town or rural area they’re from, to drive to the conditions on our local roads, and not to be complacent. The Mayors of our three District Councils have endorsed the campaign by appearing in our print ads in our local papers this month. We want our drivers to look after themselves and others, slow down and enjoy the journey.

Road Safety Week 2017

Wairarapa Manager Bruce Pauling took to the streets across the Wairarapa Region to share road safety messages with the community and get feedback from our road users. The main theme for Road Safety Week Nationally was Speed and Restraints.

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