Use headlights in bad weather, say police

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 13:46 30/12/2013

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Canterbury's road toll remains at zero this holiday season, but it is only "sheer luck" that no one has been killed yet, police say.

The national holiday road toll was lifted to four over the weekend after a fatal crash on the Te Anau-Mossburn Highway in northern Southland yesterday afternoon.

No one had died on Canterbury roads so far this festive period, but Senior Sergeant Malcolm Johnston warned it was only luck that had saved the region's motorists.

He called for drivers to make sure their vehicle's headlights were turned on during bad weather after witnessing a near head-on collision in North Canterbury on Saturday.

A driver on State Highway 1 had attempted to overtake a truck during "atrocious" weather conditions, with little visibility ahead because of the water spraying from the truck, Johnston said.

The driver was able to pull back behind the truck just in time after noticing a dark grey vehicle heading straight towards them.

The dark grey vehicle had been almost impossible to see amongst the rain and shadow because it did not have any lights on.

"There would have been four or five people killed. How someone else hasn't been killed in this wet weather is just sheer luck."

A crash that seriously injured a cyclist near Amberley on Saturday happened during "atrocious conditions", Johnston said.

The 59-year-old cyclist was airlifted to Christchurch Hospital after the crash outside Brew Moon Cafe on State Highway 1 caused him to fly about 10 metres through the air.

A hospital spokeswoman said the man remained in a serious, but stable condition in hospital today.

Johnston said about one in every five drivers he saw on the region's roads this weekend had failed to turn on their headlights, despite the bad conditions.

"So about 20 per cent of our motorists out there have no idea that they are very, very difficult to see."

Johnston said it was not enough to turn park-lights on and recommended drivers use their headlights.

"When driving in treacherous conditions - as we have had over the last few days and we will have more in the days coming - please put your head lights . . . on so there is much better visibility on our roads."

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