At all intersections check, and check again.
How to reduce your chances of crashing at an intersection
- Ice and snow on the road – look out for high banks and tall trees that can stop sun getting on the road to melt the ice and snow
- Bridges – slow down over bridges as they can stay slippery longer than a regular stretch of road
- Frozen windshields – use ice scrappers and cloths to clear ice off windshields and windows. Never drive if your vision is restricted.
Stay safe on the roads in winter
First and foremost consider if you even need to drive on the roads at all. When there is snow and ice on the roads it's best not to travel. Check the weather forecast frequently in the winter. If the forecast says snow, stock up on food and essential items before the snow arrives to ensure you don't have to go out. If you do need to travel:
- Dress for the conditions
- Take a survival kit just in case
- Tell your loved ones the route you are travelling
- Ensure you have enough petrol in your tank as there may be detours
- Try to travel in the middle of the day to ensure as much snow and ice has melted as possible
Winter survival kit
Here are some ideas for items to have in your winter survival kit:
- A shovel to dig out snow
- Windshield scraper and windshield cloth. Don't drive with poor visibility
- Blanket and extra warm clothing
- Snack food
- First Aid kit
- Sand or cat litter to lay on the tyre track to get traction
- Fluorescent distress flag to put on car aerial
- Cell phone charger
- Tow rope
- Tyre chains
- Torch with extra batteries
How to drive on snow and ice
Drive to the conditions. Travel slower than you normally would and avoid sudden braking and accelerating. Pump the brake pedal rather than pressing long and hard if on a slippery surface. Use a safe following distance of four seconds to the car in front in case they stop suddenly. Always drive with your lights on.
Annual Road Crash Day
A faster speed means:
- More likelihood that the driver will lose control of the vehicle as the effects of a driver's mistakes are magnified
- A decreased chance of anticipating oncoming hazards in good time as the distance travelled in the reaction time is greater
- It takes longer to stop if there is a road hazard
- It is harder for other drivers to judge the speed of your vehicle
- Much greater kinetic energy that must be absorbed by the impact. In other words: more damage caused
A pedestrian has a 10% chance of death being hit by a car travelling at 30 km/h whereas at 50 km/h the chance of death is 80%. With only a 20 km/h speed difference the chance of a fatality is increased dramatically.
Reducing the average driving speeds by 4 km/h would reduce the total number of road deaths by 15% and the total number injured by 8%. A 4 km/h speed reduction in New Zealand would stop 480 injuries and save 45 people's lives a year.
- At 60 km/h the car will just hit the pedestrian
- At 65 km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 30 km/h
- At 70 km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 43 km/h
- At 75 km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 53 km/h
- At 80 km/h the car will hit the pedestrian at 62 km/h
The faster the speed you travel the less vision you have of the surrounding area. This will reduce the amount of hazards you can see and decrease the time you have to anticipate it.
So how can you help?
Make sure obey the speed limit! The speed limit is set for a reason. 50 km/h is the safe speed where there is a potential for pedestrians to be on the road. 70 km/h is the safe speed where there is a potential for a side on collision and no pedestrians. 100 km/h is the safe speed where there is only the potential for a head on collision.
If you see anyone driving recklessly, make sure you report them here.
So how can you help your child become a safer driver?
Going for your licence?
Research has shown that wearing high visibility gear such as fluorescent clothing and helmets reduces a motorcyclist's risk. The more visible you are, the less likely it is that a driver will not see you and the less chance there is of being hit.
Never assume a driver has seen you. Position yourself so drivers of other vehicles will see you. Get to know their blind spots and stay out of them.
Good gear can also prevent or reduce injuries in a crash by over half. Always wear appropriate safety gear when riding.
Whatever your level, training will make you a better rider. As well as improving your handling skills, it will increase your ability to scan ahead for hazards, which will reduce your risk of being involved in a crash. .
Always ride to the conditions. Ride and corner at safe speeds and drive no faster than a speed at which you can stop in the clear space ahead of you.
Safe riding habits
- Have a suspicious 'on-road' attitude
- Scan for hazards by looking well ahead, behind and beside you. Use your mirrors frequently
- Maintain a safety zone free of all hazards
- If you ride faster or slower than the flow of traffic you become a hazard
- Identify an escape route in front of you at all times
- Ride with your lights on day and night
- Make sure other drivers can see you at all times. As a motorcyclist, you can't control other drivers, so make it your responsibility to be seen. We recommend:
- A white or bright coloured helmet
- High-visibility vest or strips
- Ride and corner at a safe speed, no faster than a speed at which you can stop in the clear space ahead of you
- Do not ride up in between vehicles at intersections. The risk does not justify any time saved
- Do not weave between vehicles on multi-lane roads. It is illegal and dangerous. Remain within your own lane and practice safe following distances
Visit Ride Forever for information on training courses
Visit NZTA for more information on motorcycles
Visiting overseas drivers
Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving in other countries. A number of crashes in the district are caused by not keeping to the left on the road, fatigue, distractions of the landscape and loss of control due to high speed. General guidelines to help keep safe on the roads in Mid Canterbury are:
- Always keep on the left hand side of the road
- If you are tired, pull over and have a rest
- Drive slower on unsealed roads (70km/h or less)
- Stay focused on the road, pull over if you want to look at landscape
Learn more about safe visitor driving in Mid Canterbury
Ashburton Road Safety Coordinating Committee