Sun-strike and icy roads are two things that drivers should be wary of this Queen’s Birthday Weekend, says the AA.
“With sunny, clear conditions forecast over most of the country people will need to take extra care in the mornings and evening,” says AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon.
“The low winter sun can make sun-strike a real problem at either end of the day and the clear conditions mean there will likely be some frosts and icy roads in places.”
Sun-strike is when the angle of sunlight hitting a windscreen creates glare that makes it very hard to see. From May through to August is the worst time of the year for sun-strike crashes which normally involve a driver pulling out in front of a vehicle they didn’t see or rear-ending a vehicle stopped in front of them.
“Slowing down, increasing your following distance, driving with your lights on and making sure your windscreen is clean are the best ways to reduce the risks from sun-strike or icy roads.”
The need for everyone in a vehicle to wear a seat-belt, drive to the conditions and not drive drunk or drugged should go without saying, and the AA hopes that this Queen’s Birthday weekend can be a repeat of 2013 when there were no fatal crashes. Last year five people died over the three days.
The fine weather is also likely to mean a lot of traffic on the roads this weekend, so drivers should expect some delays and try to avoid travelling at the peak times of Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Monday afternoon if possible. Before heading out people can go to the AA Traveller Roadwatch website (www.roadwatch.co.nz) to check how traffic is flowing and any incidents on the roads.
“More traffic means more chance that someone will make a mistake but if you keep a good following distance you’ll have more time to react to anything unexpected that happens,” says Mr Noon.
“When the traffic is heavy the AA’s advice is to be patient. Overtaking is not going to get you there much quicker at these times because there will always be more vehicles ahead so it’s better to go with the flow.
“Slower vehicles can also help keep frustration levels down by pulling over if they have vehicles backing up behind them.”