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It's the most wonderful time of the year... Yeah, right.

All we want for Christmas are safer drivers. We've put together some timely reminders to help keep the stress levels down and make driving these holidays more enjoyable.
Very angry man not driving safely.

Christmas falls near the start of summer holidays for most people Down Under, which can make it the worst time of the year to be on the roads - and definitely in the car parks!

According to the AA Insurance Lifestyle and Driver survey* over a third of Kiwi drivers say that they’ve experienced road rage over the Christmas period. And it seems you don’t have to be on the road, or even in your car for this to happen. The AA’s Customer Relations Manager said after the survey was published, “[Since last year] the only thing that has changed is the number of drivers who’ve had their parked car damaged – which increased from 53% following Christmas 2018 and 60% following Christmas 2019.”

We’ve all been involved in the hot and sweaty laps of the carpark, the endless waiting to zoom into the newly available space right by the beach, and the ‘last carpark in town’ honking wars when two other cars try to nudge in before you.

It’s not wonderful.

So we thought we could share some advice to make Christmas shopping trips less stressful:

  • Drive according to the road rules.
  • Indicate to let people know where you’re headed, use your mirrors, reversing camera and manually look around to see other drivers/pedestrians before reversing.
  • Try to be courteous and keep your cool.
  • Most drivers like to park as close as possible to their destination. Increase your chances of finding a park by looking a bit further away from the mall entrance, if you can make the walk.
  • Park away from where people are most likely to leave their trolleys, including trolley bays, footpaths closest to the store’s entrance, and traffic islands.
  • Don’t shop during peak hours when car parks are at a premium. Early morning, or later into the evening should be less congested.
  • Leave the car at home and take public transport instead, shop online, or get all your main shopping done early.

And the drive to the beach/bach/holiday getaway safer:

  • Plan your route, try not to travel at the busiest times
  • Make sure you are well rested and focused on the drive
  • Stop around every two hours to stretch and relax
  • Drive to the conditions
  • Check your vehicle, all fluid levels (oil, coolant, windscreen washer water) and tyre health
  • Share the driving when possible

We all know this is a busy time to be on the roads, that it will take longer to get anywhere and that you’re likely to hit heavy traffic at least once on your journey, or at the car park when you reach your destination! So why do we seem to forget it every summer?

Be prepared, expect the delays, empathise with others, and maybe it could turn out to be the most wonderful time of the year after all.

Happy holidays, from the Fleetcoach team.


*During June and July 2020, which was after the national lockdown in New Zealand, AAI surveyed 1,065 regular drivers aged 18 years or over about their driving. The maximum margin of error on the total sample of n=1,065 is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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