Rain forecasted for this Sunday through to Tuesday in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty can create dangerous driving conditions after the extended dry spell experienced in these regions, and the NZ Transport Agency says people will need to take care on wet highway roads.
“Because we’ve had so much sunshine, expect road surfaces to be slippery when it does rain,” says the NZTA’s State Highway Manager, Kaye Clark.
“All summer long, dust, dirt, oil and other debris builds up on the surface and when it rains, those ingredients combine and get stirred up to make driving conditions slippery and dangerous. Conditions are at the worst in the first few hours of rain, and light rain is more of a challenge than a heavy downpour.”
Mrs Clark says a good plan for people after weeks of driving in dry weather is to allow more time for travel.
“One of the most common causes of a wet weather crash is driving too fast for the change in road and weather conditions. Reducing speed to 10km/h below the legal limit and increasing your following distance to 4 seconds will greatly reduce the risk of a crash – vehicles need 2-3 times more stopping distance on wet roads “
As Easter approaches, Mrs Clark says people should also prepare their vehicles for the unsettled weather ahead like checking tyres - having a larger tread depth greatly increases the ability of the tyre to grip in wet weather - and brakes, lights, windscreen wipers and wiper cleaning fluid.
‘We’re well into autumn and the checks will help ready people for the different driving conditions that follow the change of seasons,” she says.