New Zealand Wet Weather Driving Tips

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Read about 'New Zealand Wet Weather Driving Tips' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

rainIn usual custom, the New Zealand summer was recently blown out with a spate of heavy rain and high winds that created hazardous driving conditions all across the country. This just goes to show that this can happen at any time of year, so it’s essential to be fully prepared and know what to do in these potentially dangerous situations. Whatever type of rental car you’re driving, whether it’s a small touring car or a large four wheel drive, there are certain techniques and tips that could help keep you on the road in slippery conditions.

  • Reduce your speed. With wet slippery roads, your level of control is greatly lowered. The time from when you hit the brakes to actually slipping is a lot longer, and you may find it difficult to make sharp turns. Reduce your speed so that you feel like you have control over the vehicle. There are many passing lanes on New Zealand roads, so you should never worry about the traffic behind you. Just concentrate on your own driving.
  • Avoid surface flooding. Even if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, you should avoid surface flooding at all costs. There are several reasons for this – the first being that you don’t actually know how deep the water might be. Although it may seem like a puddle, there could be hidden potholes that will damage or even stop your vehicle. The second is that it may cause your brake pads to get wet, which will prevent them from working at all until they dry out.
  • Pump your brakes. If you do get water inside your brake pads, the best thing to do after driving through a deep puddle is to pump your brakes in an attempt to dry them out. Just tap them lightly repeatedly until they start to become responsive. If they don’t clear up in time, change gears and apply the handbrake to slow yourself down.
  • Wait for conditions to improve. The thing to remember with New Zealand weather is that it’s usually fleeting. Although travellers often have deadlines and bookings, when it’s a matter of safety it’s often much better to wait it out and let conditions improve before embarking again.

Take care when driving in regions such as the West Coast and south of the South Island, as these are the areas that get very high annual rainfall – much of which happens all at once. Also take care around Christchurch where earthquake damaged roads can have deep potholes and are currently more prone to flooding. Staying in control is the most important thing, as well as taking yourself out of situations with the potential for harm.

Drive safely!

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