Drivers urged to heed weather, traffic

Dunedin emergency services attend a car roll-over in Pitt St about 11.20am yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Dunedin emergency services attend a car roll-over in Pitt St about 11.20am yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Slippery roads and heavy traffic volumes throughout Otago are prompting warnings from police.

At least two crashes in Dunedin yesterday were attributed in part to the wet weather and the large number of vehicles on the road.

A 20-year-old Dunedin man and his brother received minor injuries when the car in which they were travelling rolled on to its roof in Pitt St about 11.20am.

Sergeant Chris MacAulay, of the Dunedin traffic unit, said the 20-year-old was driving and lost control of the vehicle as he turned into Pitt St from Heriot Row.

The wet road was a factor in the crash, he said.

''They were coming down the hill and lost control around the corner. The car hit the embankment and rolled on to its roof.''

Sgt MacAulay said both occupants had minor cuts and bruises and were treated by St John personnel on site.

Firefighters were also called to the crash, although neither occupant was trapped in the upturned car, Sgt MacAulay said.

The road was briefly reduced to single-lane traffic.

Alcohol was not a factor of the crash and no charges were laid, but Sgt MacAulay said it served as a warning to all motorists to be vigilant and drive to changing road and weather conditions.

The crash was followed by a minor ''nose-to-tail'' in Crawford St about 12.15pm.

''With the sales and everything going on in Dunedin, traffic is very heavy and people need to be aware of what's going on around them,'' Sgt MacAulay said.

''It's just a matter of being patient.''

Highway patrols and city traffic units were boosted with extra staff over the Christmas and New Year period, to focus on drink-driving and excessive speed in particular.

Sgt MacAulay said patrols to the north and south of Dunedin yesterday morning reported a steady stream of holiday traffic, including many campervans and vehicles towing boats, trailers and caravans.

There were also a lot of cars with bicycles tied to the back, obstructing the driver's rear window view, he said.

''Added to the wet weather, these are all factors which can lead to crashes.''

Police would migrate to ''hot spots'' including Central Otago, Queenstown, the Waitaki Lakes and Twizel for the New Year period, when there tended to be increased alcohol and drug consumption as well as problems with fatigued drivers, Sgt MacAulay said.

''We will strongly police those at-risk areas in the interests of keeping everyone safe and keeping the road toll down,'' he said.

He urged people to plan how they would get home from parties if drinking, and to look after their friends.



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