Driv­ers urged to pre­pare for win­ter con­di­tions

Matamata Chronicle - - News/opinion -

With sum­mer be­com­ing just a mem­ory, Waikato Po­lice are urg­ing mo­torists to en­sure their ve­hi­cles are road­wor­thy be­fore the on­set of win­ter changes driv­ing con­di­tions.

District road polic­ing man­ager In­spec­tor Leo Tooman said so far 13 peo­ple had lost their lives on Waikato roads com­pared with 12 for the same pe­riod last year.

‘‘If you look at the ta­ble you will see that over the past four years March, April and May have been par­tic­u­larly bad on our roads as we make the tran­si­tion into the cooler, darker and wet­ter months.

‘‘The deaths are all the more tragic in that they didn’t need to hap­pen, no mat­ter what the unique cir­cum­stances of each crash, each had an el­e­ment of avoid­abil­ity such as ex­ces­sive speed, al­co­hol, the not wear­ing of seat­belts, driv­ing on side of the road etc.’’

Mr Tooman said driv­ers should be pre­par­ing them­selves for the change in sea­son and be look­ing at get­ting their ve­hi­cles fit for the road, get­ting war­rants of fit­ness and fix­ing nig­gling faults.

‘‘An ex­am­ple of this is mak­ing sure you have the right tyres; over re­cent years our staff have at­tended a num­ber of crashes where driv­ers have lost con­trol of their ve­hi­cles be­cause they have been fit­ted with snow tyres.

the wrong

‘‘While these may be ideal in the north­ern hemi­sphere win­ters they ac­tu­ally neg­a­tively im­pact on a driver’s abil­ity to main­tain con­trol in the wet of New Zealand con­di­tions. You need to look at get­ting the right fit and what may save you a few dol­lars in the short term may end up cost­ing you more in the long run.’’

Other is­sues iden­ti­fied in­clude the need for driv­ers to keep left, be con­scious of the ef­fects of fa­tigue and the need to al­low for longer stop­ping dis­tances in the wet as the rainy sea­son be­gins. ‘‘ Two days be­fore New Year’s Eve we had heavy rain on a Tues­day which saw Waikato Po­lice called to 37 crashes over a 12-hour pe­riod. Imag­ine the risks posed by sev­eral days of rain as can be ex­pected with the change in cli­mate.’’

Mr Tooman said one of the most ef­fec­tive safety steps mo­torist could adopt was turn­ing their head­lights on day and night. ‘‘With day­light sav­ing com­ing to an end more peo­ple are go­ing to be trav­el­ling in pe­ri­ods of low light so let’s switch on to the risks.’’

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