Look out for summer ‘ice’, transport agency warns

Heavy rain ended a long dry spell in the South yesterday, prompting the NZ Transport Agency to warn drivers of potentially hazardous ‘‘summer ice’’ on the South Island’s roads for the next few days.Like the better-known black ice of freezing winter days, summer ice was often invisible to drivers but just as slippery and hazardous, agency lower South Island journey manager Nicole Felts said.

‘‘After an extended run of hot summer days followed by rain, we start to experience slippery road surfaces, known as summer ice.

‘‘Even a small amount of light rain can make the roads very slippery.

‘‘In fact, it can be more hazardous than heavy rain because grime and exhaust particles that have built up on the road take longer to be washed away.

‘‘The combination of light rain and summer grime creates a slippery film.’’

She urged drivers to take ‘‘extreme care’’ over the coming days.

Drivers should keep speeds down on wet roads, take extra care on curves and bends, increase their following distance from vehicles in front, brake gently and allow extra travel time in case summer ice conditions were encountered.

The tread level and air pressure of tyres should also be checked, she said.

‘‘Properly inflated tyres with good treads are always a must for safe travel, but even more so in wet or slippery conditions.

‘‘The slippery film on the surface of the road is invisible, so don’t assume it’s not there just because you can’t see it.’’

-- john.lewis@odt.co.nz


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