Police are asking the large number of motorists heading into and out of Christchurch today and over the weekend to drive with care.
National Manager Road Policing Superintendent Paula Rose says increased traffic volumes, combined with badly damaged roads have increased the risks.
"One tragedy this week in Canterbury has seen the loss of many lives; it is vital that it does not lead to others.
"We have seen many people travelling in and out of the city in recent days and this is causing pressure on our roads.
"Some of the risks over the coming days include fatigue, drivers who are stressed and not concentrating, those who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and people driving cars that may not be road-worthy.
"People driving in the region should be reassured that police will be patrolling roads and highways and aiming to ensure motorists have safe journeys, every journey.
"What is needed is common sense, and for drivers to have a break when they feel tired."
Superintendent Rose says any perception that Police may be "too busy" to deal with traffic matters due to the focus on the earthquake response is wrong.
"We will continue to do everything we can to keep the public safe on our roads," she says.
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