Region's drivers praised for safe approach

Eastern Southland drivers have been commended for their safe approach.

A month out from the official start of winter, Gore volunteer fire brigade chief fire officer Jim Matheson said drivers were adapting well to the changing driving conditions.

‘‘With frosty and foggy mornings, people do need to adjust to the driving conditions,'' Mr Matheson said. ‘‘I'm on the road quite a bit and it appears most drivers are being very good - having their lights on and driving carefully.''

Neither the Fire Service nor the Police had attended any recent weather-related accidents, but Police vehicle-accident statistics showed there was room for improvement.

Last year, the weather was a contributing factor in more than a quarter of all crashes in Southland, Police southern region road-policing manager Inspector Andrew Burns said.

The figures, which include Gore but exclude Invercargill, show that of 447 crashes in 2008, wet conditions were a contributing factor in 106 crashes and ice or snow was a contributing factor in 22 crashes.

Speed was a factor in 19 per cent of the injury crashes. Wet conditions contributed to two of eight fatal accidents.

‘‘You will note that there are a significant number of crashes that occur in wet weather conditions,'' Dunedin-based Insp Burns said.

‘‘This is indicative of people travelling too fast for the conditions and losing control of the vehicle due to the loss of traction between the tyre and the road.''

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