Drivers alerted to weather and school traffic
Driving to the conditions; it’s a common safety message but an Eastern Waikato Road Safety Group says it is not just about climatic changes but it is about increased road use which includes children returning to school.
Matamata-Piako Strategic Traffic Unit leader Sergeant Neil Mansill said the multi-agency group a recent cold weather blast that swept the North Island showed winter had well and truly arrived.
‘‘ To that end we would encourage motorists to not only adapt their driving accordingly but to also ensure vehicles are fit to be on the road.
‘‘ Driving in adverse or challenging driving situations can be demanding on motorists, especially young drivers possibly driving in these icy conditions for the first time. It’s still important to plan your trips even if you are only commuting to and from work and if you feel yourself getting tired pull over and have a break.’’
Mr Mansill said winter driving conditions required greater care and less speed, so drivers should allow extra time for their trips.
‘‘At the same time we have children returning to schools.
‘‘Children’s reaction times and their ability to gauge risks are different than adults and we’re asking drivers to be particularly aware of this emerging hazard.
‘‘This can take the form of large numbers of cyclists on the road, pedestrians running out or children getting on or off school buses.
‘‘We would like to remind motorists the speed limit for cars travelling both ways when passing a stationary school bus is 20kmh.’’
Mr Mansill said the Eastern Road Safety Group was made of police and partner agencies including ACC and local councils such as the Hauraki, ThamesCoromandel and Matamata-Piako District Councils whose combined objectives were reducing road trauma.
ACC injury prevention consultant Lisa Taylor said a particular hazard identified in the eastern Waikato was the risks posed by black ice.
‘‘Black ice can be difficult to spot on the road but is mainly common in cooler shaded areas or around streams, lakes and rivers.
‘‘Black ice can appear as shiny watery patches on the road. Be prepared for black ice to appear anywhere on the roads by reducing your speed, avoiding sudden braking and sudden changes in direction and increasing the gap between you and the car in front.’’