Beware Black Ice: Winter driving in New Zealand

Tips for keeping yourself safe on our South Island roads during winter.

Driving in New Zealand is easy by comparison to many other countries, so easy in fact that we often get a little blasé and forget that there are any hazards at all.

Black ice on our South Island roads during winter can be treacherous - overnight surface water freezes to an invisible sheet of ice that in shady corners can lay in wait all day for the unsuspecting driver.  When the roads are potentially slippery, and that's any night where temperatures have dropped below zero, you just have to slow down and increase your following distances.

Don't make life any harder than it needs to be either - always make sure your car windows are clear of overnight condensation before you set off - so your visibility is at 100%, and where possible wait until the sun has warmed the roads a little and melted the ice (remembering to watch out for corners that haven't yet seen the sun).

If your flight arrives late at night, consider delaying your journey until the next day, especially if you are not familiar with the roads.  We know that everyone wants to maximise their time on the slopes, but we have had too many customers fly into Christchurch at midnight and drive straight through to Queenstown. The combination of lack of sleep, black ice and the unfamiliar roads too often results in a few incidents along the way - meaning more haste, less speed in the long run and the potential for serious injury.

Have a safe and happy journey this winter and let the only bruises be incurred on the slopes!

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