'Shocking' drivers crossing centre line

Vehicles cross the centre line on to the wrong side of the road near the Roaring Meg yesterday....
Vehicles cross the centre line on to the wrong side of the road near the Roaring Meg yesterday. Nine motorists were given fines or written or verbal warnings during a police operation which photographed vehicles in the Kawarau Gorge yesterday. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Some "shocking" driving in the Kawarau Gorge has prompted a plea from Central Otago police for motorists to follow basic driving rules and stay on the correct side of the road.

Nine motorists were given fines or written or verbal warnings for driving on the wrong side of the road during a police operation near the Roaring Meg yesterday morning, Cromwell police Senior Constable Graeme Buttar said.

Snr Const Buttar said driver behaviour was "better than we were expecting", probably because motorists were driving slowly and to the conditions because of ice and grit on the roads.

However, there was "still some shocking driving" seen, he said.

The operation was conducted between 9.30am and noon, timed for the day after the opening weekend of the Queenstown Winter Festival, Snr Const Buttar said.

About 800 vehicles were photographed by an officer stationed 2.5km on the Queenstown side of the Roaring Meg, and two officers at the Roaring Meg and one in Gibbston then stopped any offending vehicles.

Snr Const Buttar said police used to do regular operations photographing drivers in that particular section of the gorge, but had not done so for about four years.

Police planned to conduct similar operations, including one in the same location in the middle of the ski season.

He urged drivers not to be complacent and think it was safe to cross the centre line on bends when they believed the road ahead was clear. He said he had attended a dozen crashes in the last 21 years on the corner police photographed, and seen a near head-on crash there.

"Often it's people that push through that 55kmh corner and enter it too quick and think they have to cut the corner. But it's not a racetrack. It's about changing driver behaviour. We're educating people one at a time."

All the motorists who received fines or warnings yesterday were New Zealanders, Snr Const Buttar said.


It's good to see that the police are finally getting back on the road with operations such as these. The best way to change driver behavior is pulling them over and handing them a tongue lashing or ticket. A ticket received weeks afterward doesn't work quite the same.

I also appreciate that the police provided a breakdown of the nationality of licence holders. Please keep this up.

How's the visability ahead? If clear for a couple of hundred metres then what's the issue?

Clearly it's not too good because that's a double yellow line the drivers are crossing to get to the other side of the road. The lines are hard to see in the picture of the truck but they are still visible.

Take a photo from further back. Storm in a tea cup as the dangerous lane to cross is going the other way