As part of a new Canterbury-wide road safety campaign, 'Winter Driving', Ashburton District Council is urging residents to take extra caution when it comes to driving in winter conditions.
Aileen Campbell, Project Officer – Road Safety, says while snow and ice can paint a picturesque scene, both rural and urban roads can be deadly if drivers do not pay full attention to the road and drive to the conditions.
"When it comes to winter driving, drivers shouldn't underestimate the importance of driving at a speed that is appropriate to the conditions, paying full attention to the road when driving and expecting the unexpected," Ms Campbell says.
"Although there are a lot of roads around Ashburton district where 100 kilometres is the speed limit, we want to remind people that it is always the driving conditions that dictate the speed at which you should be driving - not the speed sign on the side of the road," she says.
"Drivers need to allow a little more time for their commute and make sure they thoroughly remove any ice from their car windows before they set off," adds Ms Campbell.
While many rural roads have the same speed limits as motorways, they are often narrower and have fewer road markings and no shoulders.
Other factors to be aware of when driving in winter are gravel, loose stock, slow vehicles, evening fog and ice on the road.
Low winter sun also makes sun strike more likely and results in shady areas often being slippery even on sunny days.
"The reality of living in Mid-Canterbury is that there a lot of different factors that can affect the speed we should travelling at. Now that winter is well underway, we want people to remember to slow down and stay safe," Ms Campbell says.