A winter blast to the Queenstown Lakes District is a reminder that motorists need to prepare and drive for the conditions, QLDC roading manager Ian Marshall said.
Although snow yesterday had caused few problems, motorists were advised to carry chains travelling over the Crown Range.
“The road is an alpine pass and this is winter. If you travel the pass without chains you put yourself and others at risk,” Mr Marshall said.
The same applied to people planning to access ski areas and all residents were advised to carry chains at this time of year.
“The district can be subject to heavy snow to low levels. It is not unusual for roads at low levels to become impassable without chains,’ Mr Marshall said.
The Council had the power to impound vehicles when owners failed to comply with a request to fit chains.
“In other years it has become a matter of public safety. If people are not prepared to invest in chains then they need to be prepared to leave their vehicles at home,” Mr Marshall said.
Meanwhile the council’s emergency management officer Brenden Winder had met with contractors, police and schools to revise and reinforce the action plan in the event of heavy snow.
Road closures, school closures and bus notices will be broadcast on local radio stations.
“The message is ‘if in doubt then stay put’. If parents can’t get to schools and busses are not running then children will be kept safe and warm until conditions improve,” Mr Winder said.
It was also timely for people to ensure they had spare supplies of food and water.
“If conditions keep you at home for a day or two you want to make sure there is some extra food at home during winter,” Mr Winder said.
A chain fitting demonstration would be held at the Wanaka Home and Leisure Show on May 16 and at the Wakatipu Ski Club sale on 24 May.
Winter Driving Tips:
- Clear ice off windscreens before driving.
- Reduce speed and increase following distances.
- Carry chains and check you know how they fit.
- Brake in short rapid bursts and brake and accelerate gently.
- Keep some extra warm clothing in your car.
- For road conditions check www.highwayinfo.govt.nz or call 0800 444 449.
For further information please contact Ian Marshall or Brenden Winder 03 441 0499