With a long public holiday weekend ahead, the NZ Transport Agency encourages drivers to take extra care and be patient, particularly if they are driving long distances in wintry conditions.
Rain has fallen steadily across parts of the South Island from Fiordland to Takaka this week, with more forecast and cold temperatures likely for the first official day of winter in the South Island.
The MetService(external link) says snow is a possibility on the South Island’s alpine areas/ ranges.
While Transport Agency highway crews will be monitoring past trouble spots with machines ready, people should also be ready for winter conditions, says Transport Agency Journey Manager Tresca Forrester.
The Transport Agency’s management of the alpine passes (Lewis and Arthur’s) and Haast Pass in South Westland will be the same this winter as last winter.
“The reason for the Open or Closed system (ie not giving drivers the option of putting chains on their tyres) is to allow contractors to clear the highway as quickly, efficiently and as safely as possible with no traffic on the route. It also ensures they do not have to use up time dealing with any stuck or stranded vehicles, which creates its own safety risks, particularly in dark and cold conditions,” says Ms Forrester.
“We encourage everyone just to pause before a winter journey and go through the safety checklist – a few minutes on planning may well save your life.”
Otago: Brass Monkey Rally(external link) in Oturehua, Central Otago.
South Canterbury: Irishman's Rally - expect to see vintage cars and drivers in the Mackenzie District around Fairlie over the weekend.
You can plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable Queen’s Birthday long weekend with the help of our interactive holiday journeys map www.nzta.govt.nz/holidayjourneys(external link)
The map shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys over the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend based on previous years travel patterns.
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