Motorists praised for handling of icy roads

Police praised the response of drivers and contractors this week following the first big snowfall for the year, which brought warnings of black ice.

Sergeant Blair Duffy, of Queenstown, said two vehicles slid off the road this week but Queenstown police were not required at any ice-related road incidents.

The work of contractors, who began clearing the roads at 3.30am on Monday, was ''exceptional'', he said.

MetService downgraded its severe frost warning on Monday afternoon.

''The fact that we never really got the big freeze was the saving grace,'' Sgt Duffy said.

He said people's driving and choices following the snowfall had to be commended.

''People ... are being a lot more sensible,'' he said. Some people chose to walk to work or use taxis instead of driving themselves.

Queenstown Lakes District Council senior transport engineer Richard Hilliard said he was ''very pleased with how things went''.

Grit and an anti-icing agent were used in the fight against ice.

''We've had some good feedback.''

But it was not over yet.

''Over the next day or so it looks like we are going to get some freezing temperatures,'' Mr Hilliard said.

Rain was forecast for today.

''Overnight Friday ... it's predicted to freeze,'' he said, adding a full patrol of contractors would be at the ready.

In the Wanaka district there was one crash yesterday, on the road between Wanaka and Cardrona.

Police said a car slid off the road on an ice-affected, shady corner and went through a fence.

No-one was injured.