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Winter Driving Tips from Hertz

May 18, 2017 Motoring No Comments Email Email

With winter just around the corner, Hertz has updated its winter driving tips for New Zealand customers heading for the ski slopes, the countryside or driving around city streets.

Mark Righton, General Manager, Hertz New Zealand, said: “Whether you are a local or a visitor driving in New Zealand it is important you know what to expect when you head out on the road.”

“The best place to start is renting a car from Hertz. Just ask our friendly staff for advice on driving to your destination and they will be happy to give you tips on road conditions and other information to help you have a relaxed and incident-free journey.”

“Once you are on your way, it is a good idea to regularly check the weather forecast on your car radio. Like in many places, the weather in New Zealand can change quickly and it is always best to be prepared.”

Other good sources of weather and road conditions are Metservice, AA Roadwatch and the NZ Transport Agency.

If snow and ice are ahead, it is very important to have chains. Hertz staff will provide chains to customers and demonstrate how to fit them. In addition, The NZ Transport Agency Safer Winter Driving and Snow Chain leaflets are also available to have on hand.

Black ice is a potential hazard and one that is often hard to see in low light. It is most commonly found around waterways and lakes. It is important to look out for shiny, wet patches on the road and driving slowly when approaching them, as well as to increase the distance from other vehicles and avoid sharp turns or sudden braking.

Visibility is another risk to manage in winter and it is a good idea to drive with headlights on, even during the daytime. A working torch (with spare batteries) and a fully charged mobile phone are handy items to have on hand.

When travelling in a foreign country or region, it is often unknown what conditions or terrain will impact a journey. Therefore it is always important for drivers to be prepared, especially when driving in rain, snow or icy conditions.

The following tips from Hertz may come in handy:

  • Know where you’re going before you set out in your car. Things can look very different under a layer of thick snow, and signs may be obscured. If you have a sat nav / GPS, program it to find the best route before you set off.
  • Listen to weather and traffic forecasts and check for road closures. If bad weather is predicted, listen for guidance from weather forecasters and traffic agencies. Sometimes it may be advisable to delay your trip; even just a few hours can make a difference.
  • Before you start out warm the car and ensure that all lights, windows and mirrors are clean and free of snow and ice. Don’t use hot water on glass – the sudden temperature change can crack the glass; an ice-scraper is inexpensive and effective. On the inside, use the air-con to remove condensation and activate front and rear windscreen heaters.
  • Make sure that you and your passengers are equipped for bad weather. Dress warmly and have a rug or blanket in the boot of the car. Winter sun can be low and cause glare, especially in snowy conditions, so have suitable driving glasses on hand.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning…nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Increase following distance. The normal dry road following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds in snow and slushy conditions.
  • Watch out for black ice. Remember it may not always be visible. Drive your car with extreme caution. Try not to brake sharply. If you do go into a skid, drive into it, and never brake on ice.
  • If your car gets stuck in snow, shift into a higher gear. Keep your wheels straight and gently go back and forth until you are free. A spade or old sack/rug can help in case you can’t drive straight out.

Hiring a car offers the freedom to explore a variety of ski runs and other winter destinations at leisure. Hertz offers a new, modern fleet – including the right vehicles to tackle difficult winter terrain and conditions – and has locations at all major airports and cities. Hertz’s extras include the HertzNeverLost® GPS with voice directions, the Hertz Audio Travel App to learn about points of interest along the way, and ski and tyre chains where needed.

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