Myths and FAQs about speed

​​​How we manage speed on our roads can be an emotive issue, but at the end of the day the goal is to make our roads safer for everyone who uses them. There are many myths and misconceptions about speed - here's a few for you to consider alongside some FAQs.​​

Sp​eed isn't a problem, bad drivers are. Why aren't you focusing on them?

Even the most skilled drivers make mistakes, and most drivers understand New Zealand's roads can be challenging. Good speed management gives drivers the cues they need to judge the safe and appropriate speed for the road they're on.

We all make mistakes. Speeding is the one risk that good drivers can minimise.​

Going a few kilomet​res faster or slow​​er doesn't make any difference to safety 

Actually, it does. Speed is the difference between a correctable mistake and a fatal error. Every extra km/h increases the likelihood of someone being killed or injured in a crash. Regardless of what causes a crash, speed always plays a part. ​

Slowing down will make it take ages to g​et anywhere

Not necessarily. Research has shown driving at a speed appropriate for the road is likely to only result in a very small increase in travel time. Other factors, such as lights, traffic, and intersections have a much greater effect on travel time. ​

You just want to drop speed limits everywhere

No, we want to use local knowledge and data to make sure we've done everything we can to make your roads safer. This could mean road improvements so it's safer at the current speed limit, or it could mean lowering the speed limit. There may be places where speed limits could be increased. The aim is to make sure we have the right speeds on the right roads. ​

Modern cars are safer and bett​​er, so there's no need for us to drive slower

Cars may have evolved to go faster, but humans haven't. Our bodies feel the force of a crash the same way they did when the first car was invented. While modern cars have better safety equipment, NZ's fleet is relatively old. Half the cars on the road lack even basic safety features, like stability control or side airbags. Even the best technology won't stop another car crashing into you.​

Why have a variable lower speed limit outside some schools, not a permanent lower speed limit?

Schools are built on all kinds of roads and some of these roads support a permanent lower speed limit and some do not. Where a road is designed to be a major or minor arterial and is not primarily residential it makes more sense for the lower speed limit to only be in place when school is beginning and ending, and there are lots of pedestrians around. If a school is in a residential area where there are going to be more pedestrians and people on bikes then a permanent lower speed limit might make more sense, especially to the road users and residents in the area.

What is good speed ma​nagement?

Good speed management is when technology, data, first-hand observation and local knowledge are used to help make a road safer. Community engagement – before, during and after the consultation period – is at its heart. This ensures the public is fully aware and involved throughout any changes. ​

Page reviewed: 04 Jul 2019 4:24pm