Safety 'eye' flashes when road gets icy
Sat, 07 Jul 2012 6:29p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
Temperatures have plummeted across the country this week, particularly in the South, where driving conditions have been difficult, even dangerous.
Now, a Christchurch-based company has come up with a new device to help winter drivers out and maybe even save lives.
“Down here in the South we have some dangerous road conditions, particularly over the winter,” says Inspector Steve Larking of Dunedin police.
A Christchurch lighting company has come up with a solution. It's called a Pateye (Protection Against Temperature Eye) – a marker that flashes when roads are icy.
“The ground will hit a pre-determined, set temperature, which essentially is ice formation,” says Nicola Martin of Pateye company Solar Bright. “When that happens, the blue lights will flash.”
The Pateyes are in week three of an eight week trial in Dunedin, and Ms Martin is confident the solar battery chargers will work in the middle of a Dunedin winter.
“It also charges while it's working and can also charge off car headlights.”
If successful, Pateyes will undergo a formal trial with the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The NZTA says with 130 fatal and serious crashes because of ice and snow in the past five years, almost half of them in the Otago/Southland area, it is watching the trial with interest while Dunedin puts the Pateyes through their paces.
“We have another site with lots of heavy traffic, close to the contractors yard, and they've agreed to give these bits of equipment a real hard time,” says Peter Besuijen of Dunedin City Council.
The council hopes if they're good enough it might be the end of horrific weather-related crashes.
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