How to drive through a veld fire

2016-12-01 06:00

As dry conditions prevail in most parts of South Africa, water restrictions are enforced and temperatures rise so does the risk of veld fires.

Drivers who are caught in the smoke of a veld fire are at risk of a crash due to limited visibility. The best way to avoid becoming a statistic in this situation is to be prepared and learn how to react if you are caught in a fire.

The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, provides some tips on how to drive through a veld fire:

• If you are caught in a fire reduce your speed, as visibility will be severely reduced.

• Drive with your headlights and emergency lights on.

• If the smoke is extremely thick do not attempt to drive through it. You risk colliding with other vehicles doing the same or risk driving off the road into the fire. Rather safely turn around and find another route.

• Do not exit your car. Your car is the safest place to be if you are caught in a fire as it provides the most protection from heat and smoke.

• Unlike portrayals in the movies, the petrol tank is unlikely to explode from the heat of a veld fire.

• Stay low in your car and keep the windows and vents closed.

• Give emergency vehicles priority on the roads and listen to their instructions. They have the most experience and will get you safely out of a veld fire.

• If you need to stop, find a clearing or a section of the roadside which has low vegetation. Turn your ignition off and lights on.

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