In Selwyn District, winter driving conditions can be challenging. Daylight hours are shorter, temperatures are much colder, and we have increased rain, fog, ice and snow. There are a large number of winter fatalities in open road crashes, most commonly due to loss of control/speed. It can be exciting heading up to the ski fields but make sure to drive to the conditions and drive safe!
Here are our top safety tips:
- Drive slow in ice and snow
- Keep your screen clean
- Use your lights in the fog
- Be bright on your bike
- Slow down on wet and icy roads
- Drive to the conditions
Snow chains are an essential piece of kit on New Zealand roads, and it can literally be the difference between life and death. If you only get up the mountains once or twice a season it can be hard justifying the purchase of snow chains, luckily most snow shops have a wide selection of chains for hire. Stop in at Gnomes on your way into the ski fields to rent for the day!
Rule of thumb is that when you carry them you won't need them, when you do need them you don't have them.
- When 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
- 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
Even driving with chains doesn't guarantee you're safe on the road, take it slow, watch for black ice, and enjoy the trip. The snow can wait.
If you still don't feel comfortable driving in icy mountain conditions, there is always the option of taking a bus or sharing a ride.
Smylies in Springfield offer a bus service from Christchurch or Springfield to any of the Six ski areas excluding Temple Basin for a reasonable price. Starting at just $25.00 to Porters up to $110 to Mt Olympus.
You can find out more about their services here: smylies.co.nz/Transport
For ride sharing check out the website Snowpool, snowpool.org