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What is summer ice?

During long dry spells, dust, dirt, oil and other materials build up on the road surface. When it rains, the road surface becomes greasy, making it very slippery – the greatest risk to drivers being shortly after the rain starts. The term ‘summer ice’ is used to describe these conditions that are similar to the black ice that you get in winter.

Even a little rain after several days of dry weather can trigger these conditions, creating a potential danger for unsuspecting drivers.

Managing summer ice conditions

As this is a cumulative build-up of material on the road surface, there is no treatment for managing it. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will issue warnings about these conditions. However, we are reliant on drivers being aware of summer ice and adjusting their driving to keep safe in these conditions.

Be summer ice smart by:

  • keeping your speeds down on wet roads after a long dry period
  • taking extra care on curves
  • increasing your following distance from vehicles in front of you
  • braking and steering gently
  • allowing extra travel time in case you encounter summer ice conditions.

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