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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to expect snow on two Central North Island state highways overnight and into tomorrow.

Waikato System Manager Cara Lauder says the Metservice is forecasting snow for State Highway 1 on the Desert Road summit this evening, before settling lower, down to 700m, overnight. Showers and snow should clear early Tuesday afternoon.

“Showers may turn to snow at the summit of State Highway 5 Napier-Taupo Road for a time Tuesday morning and early afternoon.

“Motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions, despite the move to spring earlier this month.

“Road closures are possible. Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and drive to the road and weather conditions. Maintain a greater following distance between your vehicle and the one in front, slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards.”

Other state highways in the Central Plateau may also be affected.

Ms Lauder says motorists can prepare by ensuring their vehicles are safe, roadworthy and well equipped.

“Make sure you have a safe spare tyre, your lights, brakes and windscreen-wipers are all working, and you have a clean windscreen inside and out. Ensure your cell phone is well charged and carry a car phone charger or power bank. Blankets, snacks and bottles of water are also a good idea, in case of an emergency or breakdown.”

Motorists can visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website for up to date information on road closures, detours, road works, traffic and delays(external link)

For the latest Severe Weather Information, including Road Snowfall Warnings, visit the Warnings and watches page on the MetService website(external link)

The Waka Kotahi website contains more easy tips for safe driving in winter conditions

Winter driving tips

  • Check weather and travel conditions on highways before you start your trip and on breaks throughout your journey – use journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link) or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
  • Ensure your car is safe and equipped: spare tyre, warrant of fitness up-to-date, lights, brakes and wind-wipers all working, clean windscreen inside and out, check tyre treads to ensure good grip.
  • If you are travelling long distances, share the driving and have regular breaks.
  • Wear your seat belt throughout the journey and check your passengers have theirs clicked in too.
  • Driving on roads that are exposed to snow and ice can be treacherous, so slow down and drive to the conditions, not the allowable/legal speed limit. Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Be prepared when travelling in case of delays on the road, particularly in alpine conditions. Make sure you have warm clothes/food/water/charged mobile phone. In an emergency, phone 111. Bear in mind some parts of the highway have no cell coverage.
  • Learn about winter driving, including how to get your vehicle ready and if you are driving in an area where chains may be needed, practise putting them on before you go so you are not caught out.
    Winter driving tips

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