Police are urging motorists to take care on roads throughout New Zealand after nine fatalities since Monday.
National Road Policing Manager, Superintendent Steve Greally says, “Tragically, multiple families are now grieving their loved ones following five separate fatal crashes on our roads since Monday night."
There have been five fatal crashes in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tasman, Counties Manukau and Central Districts.
“While the causes of these crashes are still the subject of Police investigation, we know that from past experience crashes like this are usually preventable, and to see yet more families left devastated in this way is incredibly sad.
As far as Police is concerned, any death or injury is one too many, and everyone needs to be doing their part to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads,” Greally says.
With winter well and truly upon us and more bad weather forecast over the coming days, drivers need to be extremely careful and make allowances for the conditions. This includes slowing down, increasing following distances and potentially avoiding any non-essential travel.
Snow is also predicted down to low levels in the South Island and wet, icy conditions are expected in the Central Plateau of the North Island, which make driving conditions treacherous.
"In these hazardous driving conditions, there is a much greater risk of losing control and having a crash if you are travelling too fast for the conditions.
The last thing Police wants is having to tell yet more families that loved ones aren’t coming home.
Remember, the speed limit is not a target, it's the maximum legal speed that you can travel at on a road in ideal conditions - and they often don't exist on our roads in winter," adds Greally.
Police also advise motorists to allow extra time for their journey and to be aware of other road users who may not be easily seen, such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
Safe winter driving also includes keeping windscreens clean and fully defrosted, taking care in shady areas where there may be black ice on the road, using headlights in fog and increasing following distances.
“We want everyone to be safe on our roads this winter, so please take care,” says Mr Greally.