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Winter journeys - are you prepared?

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Driving on parts of our highways during the winter months can be treacherous, says NZ Transport Agency Senior Network Manager John Jarvis.

The Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys(external link) campaign aims to encourage drivers to be safe through planning ahead to reduce the risk of crashes over the winter months.

“Pre-planning is crucial if drivers want to enjoy safe travel and avoid delays caused by road restrictions, road closures or vehicle breakdowns,” says Mr Jarvis.

“Winter conditions from June to August make it the most challenging time for driving on our highways.

“Extreme weather conditions such as ice, snow, fog and wet weather can hit within a relatively short period of time so people need to be prepared,” he says. “Also be aware of grit on the road, particularly after a frost event and especially on corners. Slow down on a gritted surface.”

Black ice

When a clear and cold day is followed by mist or light rain, moisture on the roads can freeze over creating black ice, he says. Morning drivers in particular, and people driving under shaded areas, need to take care, slow down and avoid sudden braking.

 Central Otago and Queenstown and Milford/Te Anau state highways and some local roads were also places where chains should be carried over the winter and road conditions checked before setting out(external link).

 The Transport Agency’s Winter Journeys campaign encourages drivers to make a habit of checking road conditions in the way that best suits them, for example:

Simple rules for safe winter travelling:

  • ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving
  • drive to the road and weather conditions
  • allow extra time
  • slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards
  • allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead
  • make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger also.
  • have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown.
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