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Police warn of icy prosecutions

Motorists who don’t drive to the conditions on icy roads may be prosecuted, police say.

The warning cames from Rotorua police after they attended five weather-related smashes in Rotorua within a few hours yesterday.

Sergeant Chris McLeod said he could not warn people enough of the dangers of driving in icy and foggy conditions.

In the most recent accident, a Rotorua man lost control of his utility vehicle on State Highway 30 yesterday and hit a bank.

That accident brought the total number of crashes in the district to 23 in just days.

Mr McLeod said police recorded five crashes in the district yesterday, six more on Saturday, 11 on Sunday and one on Monday.

He said yesterday’s crashes were a good example of the hazards of black ice on frosty mornings and the importance of driving to conditions.

Three accidents were reported before 9am on SH30 near Ruato Bay at Lake Rotoiti. One happened as police were attending two other accidents nearby, he said.

Two more crashes were reported on SH30 near Horohoro, one at 8.30am and the other 20 minutes later.

No one was seriously hurt but Mr McLeod said police would be prosecuting some motorists who were driving dangerously.

“Some of those people will be receiving letters from us and we will be prosecuting people for not driving to the conditions.”

A Rotorua man was taken to Rotorua Hospital with minor injuries after his ute hit black ice while he was overtaking another vehicle near Horohoro.

Farm worker Simon Carpenter was following the ute.

“He went to overtake a small truck when the rear of the ute spun round,” Mr Carpenter said. “It all happened so quickly … It was absolutely scary, really surreal. I’m just happy the guy was okay.”

Mr Carpenter said that he would be taking extra care on the roads in future.

“It only took a second, I didn’t realise just how dangerous black ice is.”

One of the first people on the scene, a local resident who did not want to be named, said the roads were dangerous at the moment, and fog was making the problem worse.

“Our driveway is asphalt and is covered with black ice, we couldn’t even get our car down the driveway. But it’s even worse closer to Tokoroa.”

Meanwhile, Senior Sergeant Fane Troy of the Taupo police said 13 weather-related crashes had been reported since Friday including four yesterday.

He said two trucks hit black ice and left the road on SH1 near Tutukau Rd, a car left the road on SH5 near Ohaaki Rd, another car hit ice on SH5 near Te Toke Rd and another car hit ice on Broadlands Rd near Reporoa.

No one was badly hurt in the crashes, which all happened between 6am and 7.30am.



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