Auckland Transport's Vision Zero campaign links road rage message with rugby players

A new road safety campaign is linking road rage with professional rugby players to show how athletes don't fly off the handle during games.

It's part of the new approach to reduce road deaths and fatalities to zero as part of Auckland Transport's (AT) Vision Zero movement.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald says professional players practice taking a breath when things go wrong.

"You might have dropped the ball, the crowd might be at you or you might not be playing well," he says.

"You go 'right what's important next, I acknowledge I might be rattled, so what's next', and get excited about that."

MacDonald practices what he preaches when driving his car.

"Often in rugby, we will say 'that's interesting' and move on. Acknowledge it, but not make a big deal out of it. Don't let it stay in your head for a long time."

There were 41 road deaths in the city last year, and AT's road safety programme aims to have zero fatalities by 2050.

Compared to the safest European cities, Auckland pedestrians are three times more likely to be killed on the road, cyclists are six times more likely and moped riders seven times.

Bryan Whittaker from AT says the statistics show why this road safety campaign is "so important".

"The irony is that we know what to do, it's just getting on and getting it done."

MacDonald added it would be an "amazing" achievement if Auckland had zero road deaths.

The Vision Zero policy is also targeting slower speeds, safer cars and roads.

But driving calmly is perhaps the one thing drivers can try to control.