Black ice causes crash

The Vetlife work vehicle flipped and rolled.
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A Dorie woman feels lucky she received only minor injuries after a car crash on Monday.

The driver, who did not want to be named, was heading south on Rules Rd, Pendarves, about 9.15am, on her way to work at Vetlife, when her car hit ice, spun around and slid off the road. It went through a fence, rolling once over.

After the car landed with the passenger side on the ground, the woman was suspended in the air, held by her seatbelt. She heard her iPhone use its Crash Detection facility to phone 111 and inform of her GPS co-ordinates. She said she could not see her phone, but thought it was outside the car.

‘‘It was a very lucky circumstance,’’ the woman told The Ashburton Courier on Tuesday as she recovered from concussion, whiplash, scratches, bruises and a sore shoulder.

She said she had only been going about 60 to 70kmh on the 100kmh open road.

When the car started sliding, she had taken her foot off the accelerator. ‘‘But there was so much ice, it just couldn’t correct, it just kept going.’’

Pendarves Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Paul Stewart said an ambulance officer was talking to the driver as firefighters helped her get out. ‘‘We pulled the windscreen back and then she walked out.’’ The accident was a reminder to drive to the conditions. ‘‘It didn’t look like a white hard frost, perhaps a frost that came down a little bit later and caught people out a bit,’’ Stewart said.

Vetlife hub manager Tina Smith was grateful her employee was okay. She said she had put out a message to fellow staff throughout Mid Canterbury after the crash to drive to the conditions.

The driver’s partner said he had arrived at the scene when she was in the ambulance, before it took her to Ashburton Hospital.

While at the scene, he saw the grit truck turn up to grit the road. It had not been gritted at the time of the crash, despite the area of road where the crash occurred being well known for being shady and icy. He believed the system of gritting icy roads in the district needed to be investigated.

District council group manager infrastructure and open spaces Neil McCann said there were about 67 roads throughout Mid Canterbury listed for grit application.

There were three tiers of priority which determined the order of gritting, which contractors started about 4.30am.

Rules Rd was third tier due to its low elevation and low traffic volume.

‘‘That said, there may be scenarios where grit comes off the road or vehicles drive on the road before we apply the grit,’’ McCann said.