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Patience Needed for Long and Winding Roads

Media release

for immediate release

December 2013

Patience Needed for Long and Winding Roads

Rural Women New Zealand urges drivers to exercise patience when travelling into the countryside this holiday period.

“Common sense can fly out the car window when families are faced with long, hot journeys on unfamiliar roads”, says RWNZ National President, Wendy McGowan.

“But, if drivers   keep patient and drive to the conditions, then everyone should get to their destinations safely”.

Our rural roads present different conditions from the urban experience. Cars may take longer to stop and handle differently on gravel.  Roads can be narrow, with steep faces either side and lack visibility around corners.

There will always be other people on the road, even in remote places. Drivers need to anticipate a tractor or a logging truck, a musterer driving a mob of sheep behind a team of dogs, or a child riding a horse. While there should be stock movement warning signs visible, sometimes these are missed.

“Some drivers think it’s OK to drive in the middle of a country road instead of keeping left, or drive faster or slower than they normally would. We say the same basic road safety rules apply everywhere.” It is just as important to use rear view mirrors and indicators while in the rural environment, as it is on the urban motorway. “People get frustrated and impatient very quickly when drivers on narrow roads will not pull over because they assume no-one will be behind them,” says Mrs McGowan.

Driving on rural roads at night presents its own challenges. There will be no street lighting.  Wandering stock can loom out of the darkness unseen until too late. Rocks and other debris may slide onto a rural road and cause an unexpected crash. 

Rural Women NZ also strongly urges drivers not to be mugs when it comes to consuming extra jugs of alcoholic drinks this summer. Automobile Association statistics show that many drink driving crashes occur on rural roads and summer is the highest risk time of the year.

Make sure the designated driver is, in fact, sober, or, take a tent and experience an overnight stay in places where freedom camping is appropriate.

Quad bikes, whether used as a workplace tool or for summer fun, can ruin a holiday trip. Assess the risks of riding a quad bike: it is fit for purpose and the right size?  Has the rider had realistic training?  Is it worth risking a head injury, or death, by not wearing a helmet?

ENDS

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