Driving becomes more challenging during the winter season, especially in New Zealand where the weather can be unpredictable. It’s best to stay at home when the snow starts to cover the roads. But if you need to be out, observing safety practices you can help make your journey smooth sailing. Here are a few tips to remember.
Plan and Prepare.
Before you head out, be sure to check the weather forecast in areas you’re passing through. Look out for alternative routes too. It’s rare for roads to get closed during the winter season, but it’s always a good thing to know which areas are safe for vehicles.
Don’t forget to inspect your car as well. Clear any snow or debris that may have accumulated. If you feel there’s something wrong with your vehicle, take it to the mechanic first. If you’re renting, be sure to inspect the car properly with a representative. Safety is always a priority even if you’re using car rental services in New Zealand.
Take an emergency kit with you.
Bring extra batteries, first-aid kit, drinking water and food, spare vehicle parts, emergency light, and medicines with you. Bring extra blankets, gloves, and bonnets with you too. These will all be handy especially if you get stranded. Before you leave, be sure your mobile phone is fully charged too. You can also bring a power bank for that extra power. Avoid unnecessary use of your phone to save its battery.
Keep a list of emergency contact numbers with you and consider including them in your speed dial. You may also need to save the customer support number of the car hire agency you rented from.
Give yourself time to maneuver your car properly. Slow down when it’s about time to turn or give way to pedestrians. Don’t tailgate too. Be sure there’s enough driving distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
If you have a time commitment, leave your place of origin early. Give yourself enough time to get to your destination. If you must leave in the evening, be prepared for ice on the roads.
Check your lights to ensure they’re all working properly. You’ll need them more to increase your visibility. It’ll be more difficult for other vehicles to see you due to fog or heavy rain.
Use snow chains.
Increase road traction by fitting snow chains into your vehicle. If you’re not sure how to use snow chains, take your car to a mechanic for professional help.
The right snow chain size should be used to ensure effectiveness. Learn it yourself too so you’ll know how to protect your car and its passengers during emergency situations. You may be able to help someone too.
If you must pull over and get out of the car, wear a reflective piece of clothing.
Follow the advice of road patrol officers.
For your safety and convenience, always follow the recommendations of authorities. Take note of highways and roads that are closed and consider alternatives provided to drivers.
Should your car break down, don’t leave it. It’ll be easier for respondents to rescue and help you if you’ll stay in your car. Keep warm and report the event immediately. You can also contact your car service provider for assistance.
Driving during the winter season in a New Zealand is similar to driving in other cold locations. You need to arm yourself with the right gear, coordinate closely with your car hire company, listen to the police or road patrol officers, and practice responsible driving at all times. Give your loved ones peace of mind and reach your destination safely.