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Wet-Weather Crashes Disappoint Police

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 29 NZPA - A large number of drivers lost control in the wet weather yesterday, prompting a fresh call from police for people to drive to the conditions.

They said drivers were generally behaving better this holiday period, despite three deaths and a multi-vehicle pileup in Hawke's Bay which put 12 people in hospital.

But in Waikato yesterday, 35 drivers crashed in heavy rain, many of them involving single vehicles.

"It appears with the onset of adverse weather drivers didn't change their driving behaviour sufficiently to be able to drive to the conditions," Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno said.

Already busy roads in the region were expected to become more crowded as people headed to tourist spots such as Whangamata and Whitianga for New Year's Eve. Journeys to the Coromandel were likely to be significantly longer than usual.

"If drivers accept this and plan accordingly their trip will be a lot more enjoyable for everyone on the road," Mr Penno said.

Drivers were urged to take note of what was happening around them and show courtesy to other road users.

Yesterday, an elderly driver was seen crossing the centre line on corners on more than 10 occasions between Waihi and Whangamata, twice forcing oncoming drivers to veer out of the way.

"Given the weather and the heavy traffic volumes this was a recipe for disaster and we're very fortunate a tragedy didn't occur," Mr Penno said.

"Officers will be following up with the driver of this vehicle today, and we would encourage other motorists faced with similar situations to advise police what is happening."

The official holiday road toll remains at three, with two woman and one man dead.

One person remains in a critical condition, three are in a serious condition, four are stable and four have been discharged after the pileup on State Highway 2, 35km southwest of Hastings, about 5.15pm on Monday.

The official holiday road toll period started at 4pm on Christmas Eve and runs until 6am on January 5. Last year, 13 people died on the roads during the period.

Gayle Jean Anderson, 44, died in a crash near Dunedin on Christmas Eve.

Just minutes into Christmas Day, a 40-year-old man died in a hit-and-run in south Auckland. Vineshwar Singh was hit by a car on Helvetia Road, Pukekohe, and died a short time later. The car immediately left the scene.

Mary-Lee Huata, 17, died after the Toyota Hilux she was travelling in was in a collision on Putere Road, 7km west of Raupunga, 38km south of Wairoa yesterday. The Toyota was being driven by a 13-year-old boy.

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