Not surprisingly it is at this time of year that many Campbelltown residents make good use of the snow fields. A journey to the snow requires travel by car along the Monaro Highway (National Route 23) and the Snowy Mountains Highway (Route 18), Jindabyne Road and Alpine Way. The Monaro and Snowy Mountains Highways are two-lane rural highways with elements of this route subject to snow fall and ice throughout the winter season.
Usually, large volumes of visitors from Campbelltown and Macarthur head south along the inces Highway toward the slopes on Friday afternoons, while Sunday afternoons see the weary travellers entering and passing through Campbelltown again as they head home again.
The sheer volume of traffic combined with what can often be icy conditions can make this trip a risky one, so here are some top tips to ensure your trip to the snow Doesn’t take a turn for the worst:
- Make certain you’re adequately rested before embarking on your journey.
- Be patient and alert when driving in heavy traffic conditions.
- Counter fatigue during your journey by taking regular breaks to rehydrate, replenish and allow your concentration levels time to recharge. Driver-Reviver stations are usually in operation over active ski weekends and authorities encourage a rest every two hours.
- Take note that seasonal drops in temperature may result in road conditions changing suddenly, possibly bringing hazards like high winds, snow, ice or fog.
- Be ready for sudden changes and tailor your driving accordingly.
For additional advice on streets and visitors to the NSW snowfields in the Macarthur Roads Traffic Authority, visit here
General Winter Driving around Campbelltown
Even if you’re not going into the snow, overall winter conditions in Campbelltown such as rain, hail, sleet and snow, make driving a car a challenge and additional concentration is always needed. The lightest of rain showers may make road conditions slippery, especially when mixed with petroleum and other materials that have accumulated on the streets over time. Rain, hail, sleet and snow also affect visibility when driving and may lead to additional hazards like localised flood or debris on the roadway.
Excellent tyres with treading that isn’t worn are crucial for safe driving in any sort of weather!
When driving in wet or snowy conditions It’s important to remember the following:
Slow down in wet weather. The posted speed limits show the maximum rate for driving in great states, so if conditions are hazardous motorists should always decrease their speed accordingly.
Boost your braking distance and leave ample space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. It takes anywhere from three to 12 times the distance to stop on snow and ice covered roads than on dry roads.
- Turn on your headlights to improve visibility.
- Make sure your windscreen wipers are working efficiently.
- Make certain that your car is mechanically sound.
- Ensure that your tyres have ample tread and are inflated to the necessary level.
- Be patient. With wet weather there’ll inevitably be increased volume of traffic on the street because those who normally walk or ride a bicycle might use their vehicle instead.
Allow additional time to go to your destination.
- Ensure smooth starts. Don’t accelerate quickly after quitting. Apply gentle pressure to your accelerator to avoid turning the drive wheels.
- Apply your brakes at a steady and controlled way. Braking hard and unexpectedly in wet weather may cause you to lose control. ABS brakes will automatically trigger if the wheels start to lock up.
- Steering control has to be applied smoothly. Quick and sudden motions of the steering wheel creates forces which may throw your car or truck into a slide as you input a turn. All vehicles, when on a curved section of street, are more sensitive to overpowering, over braking, and more than steering.
- Never ignore a warning signal. Unless you’re fully conscious of the water depth, flow and some other road damage or impediment, don’t try to cross a flooded road, bridge or causeway.
Pull over if visibility is poor. If heavy rain, hail, sleet or snow make driving too tough pull over safely to the side of the street and wait until conditions simplicity.
- Check street reports on the media before and during travel. Always heed advice about preventing roads which might be affected by debris, snow, sand, flood or a automobile collision.
Blend snow chains where required.
Because of Campbelltown’s colder climate, drivers frequently have to handle foggy and frosty conditions. Superior concentration and monitoring is needed when driving these to conditions as is some simple common sense.
- Turn your lights on when it becomes dark. The winter has darker evenings and evening and less daylight. Bear in mind that pedestrians and cyclists are more difficult to spot in the dark and might not be visible until they are quite near.
- Turn your lights on in foggy conditions. Seeing and being seen is vital in foggy conditions. In fog, lower your speed and increase your braking distance. This will allow you more time to respond to unexpected vehicles or dangers that emerge in the fog and also allows other people to respond to your presence. Also allow more time to reach your destination.
- Pull over if poor visibility. In case you must stop due to thick fog move well off the street into a lay-by location. Make sure that any frost that has collected in your vehicle doesn’t affect your driving vision. Both the front and back windscreen and all side windows must be clear enough to enable you full visibility. Mirrors also have to be clear.
- Be conscious of black ice. Ice occasionally becomes disguised. During the colder months, surface moisture or dew can freeze and become ‘black ice’. Take special care when travelling on roads which could be affected by ‘black ice’. The road ahead may seem to be black and shiny asphalt. Be suspicious, it might be covered by a thin coating of ice called black ice. Normally, in the winter, asphalt is a grey-white color. Should you see a black surface ahead, slow down, and brake easily and gently. Proceed with caution.
Check list for winter road trips
When setting off on a trip in the winter, always consider packing the following items:
- ice-scraper and de-icer.
- high-visibility vest.
- warning triangle.
- mobile phone — for use only when parked.
- Torch blanket, warm clothing and boots.
- food and drink.
- first-aid kit.
- Old carpeting and spade if driving in snow.
And always check these Critical items:
- Radiators need proper winter coolant. Additionally, make sure that there are no leaks.
- Tyres will need to have good tread depth. Balding tyres reduce starting grip by 30 – 50%.
- Wiper blades have to be in good shape to sweep snow and sleet off the windshield. If fresh blades are installed, check the arm pressure to ensure effective operation.
- Heater and defroster, when working at their full capacity, will continue to keep your windshield clean and you and your passengers warm.
- Lights are especially important in winter weather to make certain you’re clearly visible to other motorists. Be certain both knobs operate on lower and upper beams, and are properly adjusted. Check that stop, tail, clearance lights and directional signals work properly and are clean.
- Brakes will need to be in prime condition to give uniform braking.
- Muffler and exhaust system should be in good shape and tightly fitted therefore carbon monoxide doesn’t seep into the interior of the vehicle where it may lead to serious illness or death to the driver or occupants.
- Battery chilly weather reduces battery power — make sure yours is in good shape, and in case it’s necessary, know the correct procedure for using a booster battery.
Spare Wheel — check your spare wheel is properly inflated and road worthy.
- Windows and mirrors — windows should be cleaned to ensure decent visibility. Mirrors also should be kept corrected and clean for good visibility to the rear.
Winter survival kit – use the boot of your vehicle to carry essential emergency equipment such as a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, first aid kit, a small shovel and ice scraper.
Point-to-point speed cameras
Point-to-point enforcement targets heavy vehicles in NSW, and all vehicles in the ACT, Queensland and Victoria. Overseas research has demonstrated a 50% reduction in fatal and severe injury crashes after Point-to-point authorities was set up. Moreover, this technology has also been proven to alleviate congestion, improve the flow of traffic and reduce carbon emissions resulting from less rate variation.
Locations are chosen based on several factors such as the frequency of heavy vehicle crashes, heavy vehicle speeds and road conditions.
25 locations in NSW now utilize this technology and the Monaro Highway is among them, with the cameras set up between Bredbo and Cooma for covering approx. 34 km length. Currently the ACT also has two point to point camera systems located at Hindmarsh Drive and Athllon Drive.
The technology requires a photo of a number plate then measures the quantity of time the vehicle takes to go between two points prior to calculating its normal speed.
Younger drivers need winter exercise
It is all about practice.
Take the chance with younger drivers on your household to practice and/or to develop awareness of road conditions and how to manage steering, acceleration and braking in the street conditions.
Sydney South Driving School in Campbelltown delivers a defensive driving course to offer you knowledge and hands-on-skills training to help keep you safe on the street. Exercises are designed so that motorists can safely explore the consequences of speed, road surface and different braking systems when confronted with an emergency. A package can be bought from our website.
If you want to tackle the defensive driving class please email us or call Sydney South Driving School on 0409129275, 10 Salerno Place, Blairmount NSW 2559
Driving School Campbelltown