Practice the basics as weather packs in, the AA warns

With snow, heavy rain and gales predicted to cause days of travel disruptions for much of the South Island and lower North Island, the AA is reminding drivers to take their time on the roads and avoid driving if possible.    

11 July 2017

Practice the basics as weather packs in, the AA warns

With snow, heavy rain and gales predicted to cause days of travel disruptions for much of the South Island and lower North Island, the AA is reminding drivers to take their time on the roads and avoid driving if possible.

AA Driving School General Manager Roger Venn says icy, slippery road conditions coupled with poor visibility tend to cause a spike in crashes.

“In poor conditions like these maintaining control of your vehicle is most important and much of that comes down to going back to the basics of driving,” says Mr Venn.

“There is an increased chance that other drivers may make mistakes on the road, so it’s about keeping that in the front of your mind and adjusting your own driving accordingly,” he says.

“That means, slowing down, checking your mirrors and blind spots, using your indicators and maintaining a four second following distance in bad conditions.

“Another good practice is to scan at least 12 seconds ahead of you while driving, and if visibility is exceptionally bad, ensure you can stop smoothly within the distance you can see.”

Mr Venn says over time some experienced drivers tended to get lazy on some of the basics like indicating and maintaining safe following distances, and that bad weather conditions seriously tested that type of driving.

“We’re all sharing the road and each of us wants to make it home, so practicing those basics, and being a courteous driver will help us weather the conditions and get where we’re going safely.”

AA’s top tips for driving in poor, wintery conditions:

  1. Check your route is free from slips and closures
  2. Don’t rush – slow down and allow plenty of time to reach your destination
  3. Go back to basics – mirror and blind spot checks, indicating three seconds ahead of turning and leaving a four second following distance
  4. Drive defensively – scan the road 12 seconds ahead of you and ensure you can smoothly stop in the distance you can see
  5. Ensure you can see and be seen - use your headlights correctly

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