Safe driving practices are being urged as Tauranga teens prepare to drive to the Taupo Winterfest next week.
NZTA is reminding parents of teenagers heading to the festival to prepare them for a safe journey for the drive there and the drive back.
State highway manager Kaye Clark says for many teens it will be their first experience driving long distances in potentially wet and icy conditions.
NZTA has created a website to help parents with teen drivers – www.safeteendriver.co.nz – which offers a set of practical skills and free tools to encourage parents to work alongside their teens to help identify and manage risk situations, when driving by themselves.
Kaye says the Safe Teen Driver website provides useful festival hazard advice for parents to discuss with teens.
“It also suggests some different ways to talk about the risks so they don’t think you’re over-reacting.”
Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion says people need to be patient on the roads, especially during peak traffic hours.
He says people should take the extra second at intersections and double check before turning into traffic.
Kaye suggests the following tips for driving to the Taupo Winterfest on August 22 -26:
*If you’re going to this festival as a family let your teen drive so they can practice with you alongside them, in winter conditions.
*Approaching Lake Taupo from the south there is likely to be plenty of traffic on SH1 between Waiouru and Taupo. This stretch on the Desert Road, South of Turangi, and immediately north of Turangi on the edge of Lake Taupo can be particularly windy.
*Be wary of ice on the roads around the central plateau. The Desert Road (SH1) is sometimes closed due to snow in the winter. Before setting out check the NZTA website for information on road closures.
“Following the recent eruption of Tongariro, NZTA has been involved with cleaning the ash deposits from the highways and State highway 1 (Desert Road), however, some still remains on SH46 from Rangipo to its junction with SH47,” says Kaye.
“There may be some dust created in dry weather and roads may become slippery in wet weather. Ash and debris has also accumulated within one or two streams upstream of SH46 and this may create mud flows affecting the highway itself.”
As a precaution the NZTA is advising motorists not to stop or park on Sh46 at this time and to also keep speeds down in wet weather.
The Atiamuri Bridge replacement project is under construction on SH1, 39km north of Taupo and temporary speed restrictions are in place.
“Some sections of the SH1 north of Taihape to south of Waioru may not see the sun until late in the morning and can be icy even when the road appears to be dry and ice free elsewhere. “Talk to your teen about safe driving in icy conditions and use the opportunity to increase their skills in the challenging conditions found on roads at altitude.”
Kaye also suggests checking opening times and travel directions for the Manawatu gorge. “There is no overtaking on this section of highway so your teen will need to be patient. If taking one of the alternative routes, they should take their time and be courteous.”