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Motorists urged to take care as wintery blast looms

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The Transport Agency is asking motorists to take extra care on Canterbury and West Coast roads with severe weather expected over the next couple of days.

Heavy rain and gales are forecast to lash Westland and a weather warning in place for all of Canterbury, with hail and heavy snow predicted to low levels and may affect travel on highway Alpine Passes.

The Transport Agency Canterbury/West Coast Journey Manager Lee Wright says June to August is the most dangerous time for driving on South Island roads, yet many motorists are ill prepared for these wintry driving conditions.

“It’s important drivers plan their journey. This means checking the weather forecast, considering if they really need to travel, choosing the safest route - even if it is the longest - and driving to the conditions.”

Ms Wright says should allow more time for their journey and be prepared for unexpected hazards. Ensuring their vehicle is winter fit is a must, to avoid being stranded by a mechanical breakdown, or involved in a crash because safety items like brakes weren’t in good working condition.

During winter its especially important to be prepared by getting a vehicle safety check covering tyres, brakes, windscreen wipers, lights and the steering system. If heading into alpine areas drivers shouldn’t just carry tyre chains, but know how to use and fit them.

Ms Wright says wet, slippery roads are unforgiving. Even the smallest mistakes and when travelling in snow, ice and frost can see people lose control of their vehicle in a split second, with often disastrous consequences. They should also respect road closures and restrictions. These are in place to protect them and other road users.

For the latest on road information freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS 0800 44 44 49 or visit the Transport Agency’s website: www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link)

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