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Caution Urged As Winter Weather Approaches

Caution Urged As Winter Weather Approaches

A blast of cold, wet weather will increase the risks to road users in
Canterbury this weekend with the possibility of heavy rain and snow to higher

Senior Sergeant Phil Newton of the Canterbury Highway Patrol says road users
should adapt their driving practices to the conditions.

"Winter weather dramatically increases the chances of having a crash -
especially if drivers have lapses in concentration," he says.

The winter months are traditionally bad ones on local roads. Last year 33
people died on Canterbury roads, and 10 of these (30%) were lost between May
and August.

"The biggest factor in the winter road toll is motorists failing to drive to
the conditions. Our most important message to all drivers is to slow down
whenever the weather turns bad.

"Drivers also need to increase their following distance behind other
vehicles, to ensure they have a better chance of reacting quickly enough to
hazards or difficult situations."

Senior Sergeant Newton says the average vehicle will take between 28 and 35
metres to stop when travelling at 50 kilometres an hour, on good roads and
with good driver reactions. At 100 kilometres an hour the stopping distance
increases to between 98 and 112 metres.

"And if a driver is going too fast in the wet, where visibility can be
limited and traction is reduced, these stopping distances increase even

Drivers should also ensure they have an unobstructed view through their
windscreens and windows by clearing ice and condensation.

"I have already seen one driver leaning out of his side window while driving
in an attempt to get good visibility," he says. "The stupidity of some people
to place themselves and other road users in danger of having a crash is

Police recommend motorists give their vehicles a thorough check at this time
of year, to ensuring their vehicle is safe for the conditions and to reduce
the chances of crashes. This should include:

• Tyres have sufficient tread
• Brakes are working correctly
• All lights are working
• Windscreen wipers are in good condition
• Vehicle has a current Warrant of fitness
• Snow chains are on board if travelling over the passes.


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