As winter well and truly sets in across the country, motorists may have to start exercising extra caution when they get behind the wheel.
While some people only have to deal with frosty windscreens and cold engines, in certain areas the temperature drops so much overnight that ice and even snow can become hazards on the road.
This was the case in New South Wales’ Central West over the weekend (July 7 and 8), with icy conditions causing a number of collisions in Orange.
In particular, black ice was creating problems for drivers. Black ice is the name for surface moisture that freezes on the road or pavements. This is incredibly slippery and can be very difficult for motorists to see with the naked eye, especially during dawn or dusk.
To minimise the risk of accidents occurring, police are urging drivers to slow down and pay extra attention to the range of possible hazards at play due to the cold conditions.
“Anyone driving through the Central West needs to be mindful of the extreme risk posed by ice on the road surface and drive to the conditions,” Canobolas Local Area Command Duty Officer Inspector Gerard Powell said in an official police statement (July 8).
The temperature dropped to 0.6 degrees in Orange over Saturday night and only reached a maximum of 11, according to weatherzone.com.au.
Conditions started to warm slightly on Sunday, with the minimum 1.2 degrees and the max 10.5.
Today (Monday July 9), the temperature is forecasted to reach a high of 12 degrees and this is predicted to continue throughout the rest of the week.
Although the weather is slowly starting to get warmer, rainy and cloudy conditions could mean that the ice will take a long time to melt, especially in shady areas.
Police are therefore reminding people to continue exercising extra caution, even if the weather feels less frosty outside.
Inspector Powell said that there are several ways drivers can stay safe, but slowing down and driving to the conditions should be a priority.
“There are a few simple steps motorists should take to reduce the risk of a crash,” he said.
“Slow down, take care when overtaking, don’t tailgate and avoid braking and accelerating harshly.”
Other tips he included were to keep your lights on during the day, particularly when it seems dark or overcast, as well as increasing your following distance, obeying traffic signs, taking care when overtaking and braking and accelerating gently.