Travellers warned to drive to conditions over holiday weekend

By kyra.dawson@dailypost.co.nz

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INVESTIGATION: Police are investigating the crash near Okere Falls yesterday morning. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
INVESTIGATION: Police are investigating the crash near Okere Falls yesterday morning. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Rotorua police are urging drivers to be patient and drive to the conditions this long weekend, after two people were taken to hospital following crashes yesterday.

The first crash happened about 7.30am on State Highway 33 near Okere Falls with one person initially trapped in a car.

They were removed and taken to Rotorua Hospital by ambulance.

Sergeant Simon Betchetti said the single-car crash happened in a 70km/h zone. He said police were still investigating the cause of the crash but it was very frosty, cold and wet.

"Drivers need to be driving to the conditions, that's something we always try to get across."

Mr Betchetti said it was "definitely not the best start" to the long weekend.

"We need drivers to be safe, especially when the traffic is set to increase over the long weekend.

"They need to be patient and well rested. The 4km over the speed limit is put in place for a reason," Mr Betchetti said.

The road was down to one lane while emergency services attended the scene.

A police spokeswoman said it was a timely reminder to be wary of frosts making roads slippery as we moved into winter.

The second crash, between a car and a rubbish truck, happened about 8.30am on Sunset Rd, just before the intersection with Wrigley Rd. One woman sustained moderate injuries.

She was treated by ambulance staff at the scene then taken to Rotorua Hospital.

A police spokeswoman said the cause of the crash was unknown at this stage.

The crash blocked one lane of the road and caused traffic to build up in the area.

A Sunset Rd resident, who did not want to be named, said he had heard a crash and came out to see what happened.

He and a passing cyclist helped control the traffic until police arrived.

"It's what every person should do for someone in need, we should be here helping them."

A Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday both patients from the separate crashes were in the emergency department at Rotorua Hospital.

Meanwhile, AA Motoring Affairs general manager Mike Noon said sun-strike and icy roads were two things drivers should be wary of this Queen's Birthday weekend.

"With sunny, clear conditions forecast over most of the country people will need to take extra care in the mornings and evening.

"The low winter sun can make sun-strike a real problem at either end of the day and the clear conditions mean there will likely be some frosts and icy roads in places.

"Slowing down, increasing your following distance, driving with your lights on and making sure your windscreen is clean are the best ways to reduce the risks from sun-strike or icy roads."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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