Drivers come to grief as ice lurks on roads
JOHN EDENS AND LEWIS JONES
A Glenorchy woman says the road from Queenstown needs more gritting after she narrowly avoided plunging off a cliff when the car she was in hit ice yesterday.
Daphne Reynolds was in one of several single-vehicle crashes caused by icy conditions.
She was a passenger in a car, driven by a friend from Invercargill to Glenorchy, that hit ice in a dip in the road before the turnoff to Fernhill about 8.30pm on Sunday.
"There's no grit on that road whatsoever – we ran into the cliff. Luckily we weren't going fast. If it was going faster we would have been over the edge."
Ms Reynolds said she knows the road and was worried about the drive home from Invercargill, so the friends were being cautious in the conditions.
She suggested sending a grit truck along the road to grit damp patches during the day and putting up more warning signs.
Arrowtown fire chief Mark Woodham said volunteers were called to two minor vehicle crashes, one in Centennial Ave at 9am and another in Dalefield Rd at 12.15pm.
The town was blanketed by snow yesterday morning and the fire engine driver was unwilling to get out of the truck in Dalefield Rd because the road was so icy, Mr Woodham said.
Senior Constable Julian Cahill, of Queenstown, said non-injury crashes on Sunday and yesterday were caused by icy roads. One car crashed in Gibbston at 6.30am on Sunday after hitting ice and another vehicle crashed at Wilson's Bay, between Queenstown and Glenorchy, at 11.30pm.
At 5am yesterday a car in Fernhill crashed into a parked car in Wye Pl. About 10.30am, a delivery truck hit two parked cars in an ice-covered Industrial Pl.
Cougar Security group office manager Jamie Adams said the top corner of Industrial Pl had been treacherous all morning.
Sandy Ingram, owner of one of the cars involved and a Flooring Extra employee, said he didn't see the truck hit his car.
It was the first such crash in Industrial Pl this year, but conditions were always a problem during winter, Mr Ingram said.
Constable Hugh O'Reilly, of Queenstown, said a 20-year-old local man was driving the delivery truck and was not hurt in the crash. He had lost control as the truck hit a patch of ice and collided with the two unoccupied cars.
Icy conditions played a big role in the crash and people needed to be aware of the risks and drive carefully, Mr O'Reilly said.
However, the icy conditions were welcomed at the skifields, with Coronet Peak enjoying 5 centimetres of new snow, increasing the average snow base to 40cm.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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