A driver said sunstrike caused him to drive into the back of the car he was following. PHOTO/ ALEYNA MARTINEZ

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
aleyna.martinez.age.co.nz

A 71-year-old woman was taken to Wairarapa Hospital with minor injuries after a crash in Clareville, thought to be caused by sunstrike.

A 39-year-old male driver crashed into her vehicle just after 8am on Thursday on his way to work.

Emergency services stopped traffic on State Highway 2 near Somerset Rd for an hour after the nose-to-tail crash.

Acting Sergeant Shane Nolan said an investigation was under way.

“Contributing factors may have been lack of vision due to sunstrike,” he said.

“What we’re finding with these early frosty mornings at the moment is that it is terrible around that time of the morning for sunstrike.

“Those travelling in a northerly direction, if visibility is compromised – you should be able to make sure that you can stop in the distance that you can see.

“It’s the same sort of thing for fog or rain or anything else like that. This could have easily resulted in more serious injuries and there is increased traffic around Somerset Rd now”.

NZTA data shows there have been eight minor injuries due to crashes on SH2 near Somerset Rd in the past decade.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling told the Times-Age that it was particularly important right now that people were aware of sunstrike.

Pauling said drivers had to take an extra few minutes before they got on the road to ensure they had demisted their car properly.

“You have to make sure all your windows and mirrors are clean and non-smeared.

“Obviously, give yourself a couple of minutes, turn the demister on to cool, and then move it on to warm, because if you crank it with warm air, warm air actually holds moisture so you’re not going to clear it properly or quickly.”

Pauling said, at the end of the day, it was the driver’s responsibility to make sure they could see clearly.