Staying safe on rural roads

Driving on our rural roads can prove challenging – they are narrow, have plenty of bends and there are other hazards. In addition, the low number of cars using them can make us fall into the trap of driving faster than conditions allow, which can lead to serious crashes.

What is a safe speed on rural roads?

We deliberately use the speed limit derestriction sign on our open roads. While 100kph is the open road speed limit, it is not a target. Our roads should be driven to the current conditions, bearing in mind that weather, visibility, dust, road widths and other traffic can change rapidly.

Please take extra care when driving on roads that are affected by developments eg dairying, and be prepared to apply greater caution. The change in road use by the increased likelihood of meeting larger and more frequent vehicles is a challenge for all drivers.

Rain and frost will change the nature of the driving surface on any road, even unsealed roads. It's important to adjust your speed accordingly, especially where the road is in shade as the surface may still be icy or slippery.

How should I drive on rural roads following a flood?

Flooding has a detrimental effect on our roads. Please take extra care during and after a flood as the road may be undermined. When driving through floodwater, remember that the road surface, which you can't see, may be severely damaged. Don't travel past ‘Road Closed' signs and follow all safety warnings and instructions. When planning to travel during or after a rain event go to our road conditions page to get an update on road conditions and closures but please try to avoid travelling if you can.

What is sunstrike?

Sunstrike is where sunlight hits the vehicle windscreen and makes it difficult or impossible to see through. Sunstrike is particularly problematic during the winter months when the sun is at a low angle. Keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out, as dust and grime can make the effects of sunstrike much worse. Also, slow down and prepare to stop when you see an approaching area of sunstrike.

What do I do when I encounter animals on the road?

Slow down or pull over to the side of the road. Don't sound your horn or rev your engine. The farmer will move the stock as quickly as possible. Follow any directions from the farmer and be patient. If you come across unattended wandering stock contact the Waitaki District Council on 03 433 0300.