Preparation and common sense key for drivers this winter

Tuesday 5 June 2012, 1:37PM
By Queenstown Lakes District Council


People are being asked to get prepared before taking to the roads this winter.

“It’s a good idea to check the road conditions before you travel,” he said. “Council is now putting the road conditions on its website every morning before 7am as well as posting them on Twitter.”  The reports cover the District’s state highways as well as the Council’s roads.

Mr Mander said the QLDC had first trialled posting the road reports online last year and since then the system had been expanded further. He said posting on Twitter offered another convenient option in that people could choose to have all Council’s tweets sent to their phones via txt message.

“We’re making it more simple for people to access the available information. It’s also very useful on days when the conditions are changeable, like when it snows and information gets updated often,” he said.

Mr Mander said changeable conditions required people to drive with caution every day, not just on days when they knew it was icy.

“Our road reports are a snapshot of conditions over the whole district at one particular moment in time,” he said. “We’ve all seen how conditions can change very quickly in our alpine environment.”

“People need to think about their own personal safety and that of fellow road users. Driving to the conditions and watching your following distances are extra important at this time of year.”

Mr Mander also said it was important for motorists to carry chains and know how to fit them, a view that was echoed by Senior Sergeant John Fookes of the Queenstown Police.

“Last year’s snow events revealed that there’s a lack of awareness around chains and chain fittings across the district,” Mr Fookes said.

“Chains are no good to you if they’re left sitting in the garage and by the same token, they won’t do what they’re supposed to if you can’t fit them to your vehicle.”

He said last year they saw too many instances of people stopping in the middle of the road to put on their chains.

“This is extremely dangerous. People need to pull over out of the flow of traffic to fit chains safely.”

Mr Fookes said there had been much debate around snow tyres over the last year or so and police now had a policy in place nationally.

“In the most severe weather conditions, where Council has placed a driving restriction on a road where chains are required to be fitted, that requirement will be enforced regardless of what tyres are fitted to the vehicle.”

“The police view is that chains might be required for either snow or ice conditions and winter tyres are not as effective in ice as chains,” Mr Fookes said.

More information on winter driving and road reports can be found on the QLDC website