Queenstown’s first snow dump last week has triggered a pre-ski warning about a local bylaw ordering chains to be fitted.
The bylaw doesn’t actually make carrying chains compulsory, but signs or commands from police can require motorists to fit them – or discontinue their journey if they haven’t got chains.
However, motorists who disobey signage or police instructions and plough on regardless face a $150 fine.
Queenstown council transport manager Denis Mander says: “There’s a concern around instances where vehicles are travelling without fitting chains and they’re clearly needed.
Mander adds: “These vehicles will cause snarl-ups and queuing, creating road safety and congestion issues for them and other road users.
“Police would first instruct the driver to fit chains and if they didn’t, the officer would then issue the ticket.”
And it could be worse than that, Mander warns.
Even if there’s no police or signage to say chains must be fitted, “if conditions were clearly such that chains should have been fitted and an accident occurs, the driver may be open to a careless driving charge”, Mander says.
A pre-snow season dump last week closed Queens-town International Airport, schools and made some roads treacherous.
The only real traffic incident was on Queens-town’s steep Suburb Street involving the ambi-tious drivers of several cars – without chains – sliding backwards at about 9am last Tuesday.