Winter journeys: top tips for driving when it’s cold outside
The weather in New Zealand is unpredictable at the best of times, it’s not unusual to see both clear blue skies and torrential rain in the same day! This unpredictability highlights the importance of being prepared for any weather conditions, particularly in winter where roads can be extra treacherous. Here we have put together some top tips to help you be prepared for the wintery weather if you are heading out on the road.
1) Plan ahead
Planning ahead means more than just knowing where you are going and when you plan to get there. Make sure to check the weather forecast for areas along your route and consider if this will affect your trip. Plan to drive during daylight hours where visibility and road conditions are generally better. Always allow more time that you think you need to in case you experience any delays. Sometimes in adverse conditions, some roads will be closed and require you to change your plan. You can find up-to-date information on road conditions by calling 0800 4 HIGHWAYS.
Ensure your car is roadworthy and has a full tank of fuel before you set off. Pack some extra essentials for your trip in case your plan changes. Some things to ensure you have with you are; a phone with adequate battery life, a first aid kit, snacks, water and warm clothing. Depending on where you are, you may also need to carry snow chains with you.
3) Adjust your driving
Driving in wintery conditions will require you to adapt. If it is wet, snowy, foggy or icy, increase your following distance to at least 4 seconds and reduce your speed to allow you adequate room to slow down and stop if necessary. Keep your lights dipped for increased visibility and safety. Be patient and considerate of other drivers and remember that getting to your destination safely is the most important thing.
New Zealand has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, particularly at wintertime. Slow down, take regular stops and enjoy the journey. For more information on driving conditions this winter, check out www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic, the NZTA Facebook page, or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS.