Brief reprieve from wild weather expected for Queen’s birthday

The recent wild weather is expected to die down in time for New Zealanders to enjoy the Queen’s Birthday this weekend, the Met Service has predicted.  But while no storms, heavy rain or high winds are expected for the next few days, a cold snap could be on the horizon.

Met Service Meteorologist Lisa Murray says drivers should stay vigilant for frost or icy patches on the road, and possibly even snow.  “We’ve had a lot of storms from the southwest lately but this weekend we have a brief reprieve coming as the high pressure system moves on to New Zealand,” Ms Murray said.  “But along with this high pressure and clear skies, come cooler nights and frosts. Inland parts of the South Island and the North Island central plateau can expect areas of severe frost.”

Ms Murray urged drivers who intend to travel this weekend to plan according to the weather. For example keep a blanket in your car to keep warm in case of breakdown.  “Take extra care if you’re on the road late at night or early in the morning, as these are the times when conditions will be worse,” she said.  “Although there are no big dumps of snow this weekend, some of the higher roads already have snow accumulations on them.

“Check the forecast before you head off on a journey and be prepared, especially if you are going to higher passes such as Arthur’s Pass or Porter’s Pass where we’ve had the most snow. Carry snow chains and be prepared to stay warm in case you break down until help arrives.”  Last week, heavy rain caused floods in Dunedin that caused problems on the roads and disrupted public transport.

Storm QB large

AMI’s South Dunedin branch was also affected by the downpour and closed for two days while flood waters were cleared. To help you get around safely, AMI has these tips for driving in winter conditions.

Driving in the floods/ heavy rain:

– Slow down. According to NZ Transport Agency, one of the most common causes of a wet weather crash is driving too fast. Reduce your speed to 10km/ph below the legal limit;
– Keep your distance from the car in front to reduce the risk of a crash. Vehicles need up three times more stopping distance on wet roads than in dry conditions;
– Stay tuned to your local radio station for the latest traffic updates and information on road conditions;
– Drive to the conditions and focus on position within the lane as its untraveled borders may cause loss of control e.g. floodwater;
– Make sure tyres and brakes are in good order. Replace windscreen wipers that are worn or damaged to give yourself the best chance of being able to see clearly in wet weather.
– Stock your car with a portable emergency survival kit including items such as emergency water, spare batteries for a torch and a list of emergency numbers and important contacts. Get Ready Get Thru has some great tips on what to include in your pack on their website;
– If you hear of a severe weather warning in advance, go and get a full tank of gas. If flooding occurs, you may not get another chance to fill up; and
– If you don’t have to drive, stay off the road.

Driving in windy weather:

– Again the advice here is to slow down. Reduced visibility and the distraction of the winds / flying debris can be distracting and increase the likelihood of an accident; and
– Move your car into your garage, or at least to a covered area.  Try to get into a habit of doing this whenever extreme weather such as strong winds are forecast.  Added shelter will help protect your car and it make it easier for you if you are getting to or from your vehicle.

Driving in hailstorms:

– If a hailstorm occurs while you are driving and it is possible to stop safely, do so and wait for the spell to pass.  Hail will reduce your visibility and cause distraction. By slowing down you will reduce the likelihood of a nose-to-tail accident occurring.

Driving in snow/ ice

– Consider using chains, make sure they are fitted to the driving wheels (e.g. for a front wheel car, chains go at the front). Fitted chains should be firm but not tight. If you’re not sure, stop into a garage and ask for help;
– After fitting chains, drive a short distance then check them again to make sure they are secure;
– Carry warm gloves and make sure you have a torch;
– Drive slowly when using chains;
– Avoid sudden braking or direction changes;
– Leave large distances between you and the next car; and
– Look out for shiny, wet patches on the road.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to make a claim and you are an IAG customer, you can contact us on the details below:

State
Telephone: 0800 80 24 24
Email: claims@state.co.nz
Website: www.state.co.nz

AMI
Telephone: 0800 100 200
Website: www.ami.co.nz

NZI
Telephone: 0800 227 653
Website: www.nzi.co.nz/

Lumley
Telephone: 0800 11 18 88 or  0800 80 12 10
Website: www.lumley.co.nz

NAC
Telephone: 0800 501 508
Website: www.nac.co.nz/

Swann Insurance
Telephone: 0800 807 926
Website: www.swanninsurance.co.nz/

Lantern
Telephone: 0800 800 800
Website: www.lanterninsurance.co.nz/

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