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Storm will make weekend driving dangerous

Storm will make weekend driving dangerous

Driving conditions this weekend will be difficult as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Lusi sweep across the upper and central North Island, and the NZ Transport Agency advises people to travel with care.

The Transport Agency’s National Journey Manager, Kathryn Musgrave, says heavy rain and strong winds will make conditions challenging for all road users.

“It is a going to be a dangerous and difficult weekend for travel, and people will need to plan carefully for safe travel.”

Mrs Musgrave says there are a number of things people can do to keep safe if they do have to travel.

“It is important to drive to the conditions. Reduce driving speeds below the legal limit and increase following distances – vehicles need two to three times more stopping distance in wet weather.”

Many roads may also be slippery after the long spell of dry weather.

“Dust, dirt, oil and other debris builds up on the road when it’s been dry for a long time, and when the rain comes the surface becomes slippery. Conditions are at their worst in the first few hours of rain.”

Mrs Musgrave says care will also be needed in those areas exposed to strong winds – like the Auckland Harbour Bridge – and roads near the coast. And to be alert to surface flooding and fallen trees and debris.

“People should always expect the unexpected, especially if they are travelling at night on country roads where there is minimal lighting. New Zealand has a number of remote areas with difficult topography and winding roads, and these journeys become even more challenging when bad weather hits. We ask drivers to watch their speeds on corners, and remain vigilant for slips, debris and the higher risk of vehicles losing control in these conditions,” says Mrs Musgrave.

The Transport Agency will be working with local authorities and emergency services to keep roads open and safe for travellers.

Electronic signs will be used to keep road users informed of conditions ahead, particularly on the Auckland motorway network.

The following links will provide information to help people plan their journeys:-

Updates on state highway conditions and hazards: Freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or www.highwayinfo.govt.nz
Get free email alerts on a specific route by signing up to www.onthemove.govt.nz
Auckland roads and public transport: www.at.govt.nz
Northland roads: Freephone 0800 111655

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