Planning a New Zealand road trip? The views of New Zealand in winter may be incredibly stunning but with rainfall, hail and snow, conditions on the road can oftentimes be unpredictable. These tips are here to help you stay safe while out on the road.
Posted On April 21, 2017 Posted By Andy Buerckner
BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR PLANNING
Make sure when planning your itinerary that you prepare for alternative routes just in case roads are closed or impassable. Keep your plans flexible, allow plenty of travel time and know that the safest option may not always be the fastest.
TAKE OUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
This is a must for all travellers. If you don't take out travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. You never know when an emergency may come up. Always read the PDS to see what is and isn't covered in your policy.
KNOW YOUR EMERGENCY NUMBERS
In an emergency, the number to dial in New Zealand is 111 or if you want to report or check currert road conditions on the state highway call 0800 44 44 49.
MONITOR THE WEATHER
Use websites such as Metservice, AA Roadwatch, NZ Transport Agency to check which areas may be expecting heavy hail, snow or rainfall and stay up to date regularly. Always be cautious if you are planning on crossing alpine passes.
CHAIN, CHAIN, CHAINS
If you are renting a car, make sure that there are snow chains available for when you will be travelling along snow and ice. If you have never fitted chains on before, get your rental company to demonstrate how to fit them. Always drive a short distance with them on to make sure they are on secrurely and make sure you drive slowly when using them.
Drive slower than you normally would and leave large distances between you and the car in front of you on wet and frosty days.
Sudden braking and sudden direction changes that could cause you to skid.
LOOK OUT FOR SIGNS
Always obey emergency road closure signs and barriers that may be up. Follow instructions of police officers and road patrollers and never pass winter maintenance vehicles unless you're told to.
WATCH OUT FOR BLACK ICE
Black ice is a thin sheet of ice that is dark in appearance and can cause you to skid and lose control. Watch out for these wet, shiny patches on the road especially around lakes, waterways and shady, cool areas.
DON'T DRIVE IN EARLY MORNING OR NIGHT
Frost is at its peak in the early morning so it's recommended to drive in the middle of the day in daylight hours for best visibility. Avoid driving at night as visiblity will be low.
TAKE BREAKS AND REST
Share driving responsibility if you are driving with a friend or group and always allow breaks every few hours.
KEEP A SURVIVAL KIT
Always keep a survival kit in the back of the car in case you get stuck. Always keep a torch with you (with spare batteries) radio, mobile phone, warm gloves and other essentials.
WATCH YOUR TANK
In case you have to make any detours, always ensure your petrol tank is at least half way full at all times.
Whether its day or night, always keep your headlights on.
IF IN DOUBT, ARRANGE ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORT
If you prefer not to drive, know that there are plenty of buses, trains and shuttles that can take you around New Zealand and take in the scenery in winter.
In conclusion, stay safe and enjoy the beautiful scenery that New Zealand has to offer in its winter months.