Drive coun­try curves with cau­tion

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - By KYLE CASSIDY

This coun­try has plenty of great roads to travel, but it also has its share of haz­ards to be wary of.

The twist­ing, wind­ing na­ture of most roads is one.

Though some peo­ple en­joy a few bends, th­ese curves re­quire a de­gree of cau­tion.

Some of the sug­gested cor­ner­ing speeds can seem con­ser­va­tive, but those be­low 45kmh should al­ways be heeded.

Road- side warn­ing signs are usu­ally how we deal with treach­er­ous sec­tions of roads in this coun­try, so if you come across one of those big Re­duce Speed Now signs, best to do so – this is usu­ally where peo­ple come un­stuck.

Learn­ing to read the ev­er­chang­ing road sur­faces will help keep you on the high­way longer.

Nicely laid hot mix is a rar­ity in New Zealand, where we tend to use low-grip coarse chip.

On old back roads, this can be­come worn, al­most pol­ished smooth and se­ri­ously slip­pery, par­tic­u­larly in the wet.

In win­ter, some bends do not see much sun, mean­ing cor­ners can still be slick de­spite a lack of rain. In colder ar­eas black ice is a real dan­ger in this sort of bend.

Trick­ier to iden­tify is the of­f­cam­ber cor­ner, one where the road seems to fall away to the out­side of the bend.

Your car will want to fol­low this con­tour, and head off to­ward the Armco bar­rier/fence/edge of the cliff if th­ese are taken with­out cau­tion.

A nicely banked cor­ner, where the road is higher on the out­side of the curve, will help keep the car in the bend by forc­ing it back to­wards the in­side.

Also keep an eye out for bumps and dips, be­cause th­ese up­set the bal­ance of the car, mean­ing it will not re­spond as well to your steer­ing or brak­ing. Pot­holes can dam­age wheels, tyres and sus­pen­sion.

Do not for­get the first rule in the road code – keep left, be­cause it en­sures you can­not stray on to the other side of the road.

And re­mem­ber those speed lim­its too, par­tic­u­larly in the towns and past school buses that have stopped to pick up or drop off chil­dren ( the limit there is 20kmh).

Of course you need to be aware of other road users, par­tic­u­larly those on push bikes, and from the farm­ing sec­tor, which has haz­ards like slow- mov­ing trac­tors and quad bikes, and also cat­tle on the road.

A trail of brown, slick muck all the over the place is a good sign that a herd is on the move up ahead.

And here’s a tip – wash your car as soon as you can af­ter coming across a herd.

Moo-ve along: A trail of brown, slick muck all over the place is a good sign that a herd of cat­tle is on the move up ahead.

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