Drivers warned to take care on roads over Easter

Canberrans have been urged to take it easy on the region's roads over Easter, as many take the opportunity of a long weekend to get out of town.

There are already reports of heavy traffic at the coast. The Narooma News says traffic on the Princes Highway in Kiama was queued for 7km by 2.30pm Friday, adding 45 minutes to most trips.

The Kings Highway is also usually congested at this time of year, particularly as residents stream to the coast in a bid to enjoy the last of the autumn warmth.

NRMA board member of south coast NSW and ACT Alan Evans said the number of drivers on the Kings Highway could quadruple during long weekends such as Easter and Christmas.

"It's one of the worst roads in NSW," he said. "It's better to be cautious and careful than taking a risk."

His advice to ACT motorists taking the Kings Highway to the coast this Easter was to drive steady.

Between December 2012 and January 2013 there were nine crashes along the Kings Highway, with speed a major factor in more than half the accidents.

"If I could I'd like to stop every motorist who's leaving Canberra or Batemans Bay and just say 'Are you sober?', 'You haven't taken drugs?', 'Is everyone belted in?' and 'Take it easy'," he said.

"If someone's doing 90[km/h] just sit behind them. Don't try and pass them. There's too much traffic, there's too much risk and lives are too precious."

On Thursday, ACT Policing joined NSW Police for Operation Crossroads, an annual road safety campaign that aims to reduce road trauma in the region.

ACT Policing superintendent Ben Cartwright said many drivers cross the ACT and NSW border over the Easter period and a joint operation was necessary to ensure road safety.

NSW superintendent Rod Smith said the operation would focus on speeding, drink driving and fatigue although highway patrols would also target licence offences, the use of mobile phones and seatbelts.

"All of our traffic police have a leave embargo over this period and we’ll be operating 24 hours a day," he said.

Superintendent Smith said ACT Policing and NSW Police had learnt from previous coordinated campaigns over the Easter period.

“We’re becoming more intelligent about where to task our troops and some of the strategies we use to prevent accidents and reduce road trauma," he said.

On the 2013 Easter long weekend, police caught 100 people speeding in the ACT, with 17 people caught drink-driving. More than 2400 people were breath-tested in total.

Three people were also booked for driving under the influence of drugs.

Traffic Operations station sergeant Rod Anderson said it was far more important to arrive at your destination safely than to speed or ignore the road rules and end up spending your holidays in hospital.

Sergeant Anderson said there would be widespread use of breath testing, roadside drug-testing and speed cameras across the weekend.

ACT Police Minister Simon Corbell announced on Wednesday double demerit points would apply on Canberra roads from Thursday, April 17, to Monday, April 21.

Drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 45km/h will gain 12 demerit points and risk the suspension of their license.

Roadwork on Fairbairn Avenue on Thursday between 9am and 1pm will reduce speed limits and close the westbound road shoulder.

Territory and Municipal Services has warned some minor delays may be experienced by motorists.

There will be no roadworks in the area between Good Friday and Monday April 28.

The story Drivers warned to take care on roads over Easter first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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