Wellington travellers urged to keep their wits about them

The NZ Transport Agency is warning Wellington motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to keep their wits about them and take extra care as rain and winds looks set to get stronger this afternoon.

Regional performance manager Mark Owen says heavy rain makes getting around more risky for all travellers, and the Transport Agency is asking everyone to be take extra caution today.

“We all know that a wet rugby field can result in errors on the rugby field; it’s the same on the roads, except the stakes are even higher.

“Bad weather makes the roads more dangerous.  Heavy rain makes our roads more greasy, and reduces visibility – this adds up to a greater risk of crashes.

“To adjust for the weather, it’s important to drop your speeds, increase your following distances, and drive to the conditions.”

Mr Owen advises travellers to remember that people are more prone to making errors in wet and windy conditions, and because of reduced visibility and control, those errors can result in more grave consequences.

He says it’s not only drivers who make errors in wet weather.

“When it’s hosing down, pedestrians sometimes make rash decisions when crossing the road.  Raincoat hoods can also impede visibility, and we’re asking motorists to keep their eyes peeled for pedestrians and expect the unexpected.”

NZ Transport Agency is also encouraging motorists to give extra space to cyclists and encouraging cyclists to consider leaving their bikes at work, if they have a secure storage area, and taking the train or bus home instead.

Mr Owen says motorists should also be on the lookout for surface flooding, slips and debris brought down by the rainfall.

Wellington City Council has echoed this advice and asks motorists to drive to the conditions and to watch out for the possibility of slips on the more narrower and twisty roads around the city.

The weather contributed to a number of crashes this morning so motorists are advised to take extra care on their trip home this evening.

The wild weather will also mean that journeys will be slower and could be subject to disruption this afternoon no matter how you choose to travel. Therefore allow at least 15 minutes extra for journeys across the region and in particular leave extra time to get to Wellington Airport or the ferry terminals so you don’t miss your flight or ferry.

If you’re travelling on the Rimutaka Hill Road (State Highway 2) or on the Kapiti Coast then take extra care as strong winds will make driving difficult for high sided vehicles like caravans, trucks and campervans as well as for motorbikes.

The MetService has issued a severe weather watch for Wellington, Wairarapa and Marlborough;

  • Up to 10mm of rain is forecast for this evening in Wellington with more coming overnight
  • Southerly gales may become severe in exposed places of Wellington and the Kapiti Coast until Tuesday morning
  • A storm warning is in place for the Cook Straight with southerlies expected to reach 55knots and a 4 metre swell

For the latest info on highway conditions, please check www.tfw.govt.nz(external link), follow us on Twitter @NZTAWgtn, sign up to email alerts onthemove.govt.nz or visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link)