Driv­ers alerted to weather and school traf­fic

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion/news -

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.’’

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