Nation: road safety and median barriers

Roads and cars have evolved into high risk arrangements, designed for us to legally whiz past each other at 100 km per hour with a barely a metre separation. It is no wonder there are some horrific accidents.

This morning on Newshub Nation:

This is a complex issue that is difficult to deal with, within a budget.


  1. chrism56

     /  June 30, 2018

    Median barriers will stop head on smashes. However, unless the road is widened to allow their installation, there will be a lot more nose to tails and hitting stationary object type crashes. That is because the barriers create a narrow trench effect with nowhere to go for evasive action. Eliminate one death for 10 more injuries type stuff.
    And there will be a lot more road closures as the crash will totally block traffic – they will need to close the other lane to allow emergency vehicle access.

  2. PDB

     /  June 30, 2018

    I personally don’t know the area well where the big crash occurred but I did read a lot of comments about it and many said the road there had been upgraded fairly recently making it very safe for those driving normally without undue risk.

    Main roads can only have median barrier (or as Ardern said ‘medium’ barrier) over more than a short length where there is two-lanes or more each way otherwise no one has an opportunity to pass slower drivers and chaos & frustration ensues.

    A pity then that this govt has waged war on these type of roads (e.g. RoNS) which are by far the safest of all & if constructed in the right areas take more traffic off of other nearby roads making those safer as well.

  3. PartisanZ

     /  June 30, 2018

    The fallacy of RoNS is that a few maybe hundred kilometres of 4 lane motorway, with all the side-and-median barrier trimmings, at $50 million per km, will somehow make the total 11,000km of State Highways and 83,000km of local roads (61% sealed) safer …

    It’s another day of renounce thought and deny reason …

    The reality of Labour-led’s median barriers is they’ll be in known Black Spots and additional to other measures to create safety …. like, for instance, no passing …

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 30, 2018

    Median barriers are eminently sensible so long as they don’t simply enforce a queue behind slow traffic. My practice is to keep as far left as possible when there are no barriers thus giving maximum protection against any oncoming or overtaking idiot. Many head on smashes occur on roadways where there was ample room for three cars abreast if only some had kept left. IMO the practice of directing traffic to the centre of rural roads by marking unnecessarily wide shoulders is dangerous and should be ignored.

    • PDB

       /  June 30, 2018

      If single-lane each way roads with long stretches of median barriers were to become the norm I’d suggest the idiots on the roads would increasingly start overtaking on the shoulders as I’ve witnessed a fair few times already. Median barriers do make a difference to road safety but need roads widened (as chrism56 describes above due to road blockages/accidents) and at the very least need at least three lanes created with alternative double lanes each way along the length of the median barrier for the regular passing of cars to be carried out.

      • Gerrit

         /  June 30, 2018

        You need a break in the barriers at every intersection. If there was to be review of where the accidents occur, most I would suggest would be at intersections.

        The breaks in the barrier at intersection would make the incidents where a campervan (as I found just north of Otorahonga one day) on the wrong side of the road, worse as they would not be able to pull back onto their side of the highway due to the barrier.

        People need to figure out how to do the intersections if barriers were to be installed on open highways.

        Every farm entrance would need a break in the barrier to allow truck movement, milk or stock, who need the width of the whole road to turn into the gate. Not to mention every residential property along the highway need access unless you are going to force left hand turn exits only on rural properties.

        • Blazer

           /  June 30, 2018

          ‘You need a break in the barriers at every intersection’…no kidding!!No wonder you were in senior…management.Bol.

          • PartisanZ

             /  June 30, 2018

            But, of course, it’s not as though ANYONE AT ALL is talking about having median barriers down the middle of every km of State Highway, let alone local roads … They’re talking about having them in dangerous sections …. some of these will be quite short distances …

            Do this, PLUS provide additional passing lanes, and you’ve got safer roads suitable for and appropriate to most regions of New Zealand in terms of their GDP contribution alone …. which is the only way Righties measure appropriateness … isn’t it? Is it cost-effective?

            Orh no, its not … when it comes to roads you can toss out that “cost-effectiveness” stuff which forms the foundation of everything else neoliberal … like low wages … low priced imported goods from sweatshop economies …

            We can maintain the semblance of First World status simply by having fiscally irresponsible 4 lane motorways criss-crossing the nation to cope with our 9 days of severe holiday congestion each year …

    • Blazer

       /  June 30, 2018

      ‘. My practice is to keep as far left as possible’…onya Al…about…time! 😉

  5. Gezza

     /  June 30, 2018

    “Despite private motor vehicles commanding the vast majority of space on urban transport corridors, there is a general reluctance to concede any of this space to enable other transport modes.

    For example, local retailers vehemently protest the removal of carparking to allow installation of cycle lanes, even when there is clear evidence that doing so is good for business.

    From Rhys Jones’s article. What’s he talkng about? The only comments I’ve seen or heard from businesses except cafes where this has been done have been that it has been bad for their business.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 30, 2018

      It stands to reason that it will be bad for business. how could it not be ?

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  June 30, 2018

    It’s offensive rubbish to say that we use cars as Americans use guns; how many people deliberately set out to do a massacre with a car in NZ ? Did the people in the terrible Waverley crash see their cars as weapons ? It’s a gross insult to make this comparison. Irrationally dedicated to our cars ? Based on what ? Did he ask people if they are ?

    Most people don’t drive like maniacs and use the car as a weapon of mass destruction.

    A few do and ignore their own safety and everyone else’s. As that policeman on the ad says, everyone thinks that they drive well….but he’s never seen anyone crash well.

    For all we know, the Waverley crash could have been caused by a driver having a heart attack. This happens and the person can hardly be blamed for it. A man I know had something lock (not brakes, something I forget) and sailed helplessly across the main highway. By good luck, there were no cars very near. I think that he had to change his undies when he got home !

  1. Nation: road safety and median barriers — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition