Southern police district road policing manager Inspector Andrew Burns expected a traffic rush this afternoon and evening, as well as tomorrow morning, as people made their way to holiday destinations in the Waitaki Valley and Central Otago.
A similarly heavy flow of traffic was expected on Otago roads between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning next week, Insp Burns said.
It was important motorists allowed extra time to reach destinations, he said.
''People should think about when they leave, and make sure drivers are rested and vehicles are in good condition. The biggest message from us is for people to just take their time and not rush.
''When people are rushing they tend to make poor decisions and an extra five minutes can make all the difference,'' Insp Burns said.
Police wanted all holiday-makers to reach their destinations, and motorists had to be reminded that rushing on the road could mean people did not finish their journey, Insp Burns said.
''Just relax, take 10 deep breaths. Even if you are involved in a minor collision with no great drama it's going to cost hours of wasted time and effort, so take your time and enjoy the break,'' he said.
Highway patrol officers will be backed up by regular duty police on the roads during the next week.
Rural drink-drive squads will also be out in force across Otago.
Insp Burns said general traffic complaints could be made to the *555 number and any dangerous behaviour should be reported to police on 111.
''If there are motorists travelling slowly causing other drivers frustration, that's when people make poor decisions and we need to be told about it,'' he said.
Police have named the 24-year-old man involved in a fatal car crash just north of Invercargill on Boxing Day.
Shane Curtis Tosh, of Invercargill, died when his car left the Lorneville-Dacre highway.
A woman killed in a car crash in Hamilton on Christmas Day has been named as Rongmei Wang (71), a Chinese national, APNZ reported.
Ms Wang was a rear-seat passenger in a car that collided with a ute.