South Africa 7.6.2018 01:46 pm

Poor visibility due to veldfire results in 10-car pileup in Mpumalanga

Photo taken by Alf Byleveld.

Photo taken by Alf Byleveld.

A car that was stationary in the road due to thick smoke from a veld fire was rear-ended by nine other cars between Evander and eMbalenhle on the Standerton Road on Sunday.

Authorities warned motorists to drive with caution when travelling through thick smoke or fog.

A car that was stationary in the road due to thick smoke from a veldfire was rear-ended by nine other cars between Evander and eMbalenhle on Standerton Road on Sunday, June 3, The Ridge Times reports. This vehicle caught fire.

READ MORE: How veld fires promote biodiversity of the Kruger ecosystem

According to Jaco Horn from GTR towing services, only one person sustained injuries in the pileup. He said people can join the Zello group Secunda 911 Assist 24/7 for updates on veldfires in the area.

Photo taken by Jaco Horn from GTR.

Photo taken by Jaco Horn from GTR.

Photo taken by Jaco Horn from GTR.

Alf Byleveld from Jelani Security, who is also a former firefighter, said it was the season of veldfires and motorists should beware the risks.

It is also the time of the year when fog is extremely dense and many accidents occur.

“If you are caught in a fire, reduce your speed as visibility will be severely affected.”

According to the Arrive Alive web page, one should always drive with the car’s headlights on in situations where smoke or fog affects your visibility, but also switch on your emergency lights.

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 veldfire.

Stay low in your car and keep the windows and vents closed while you wait for the fire to pass.

If, once the fire has passed, the smoke and heat in the car is too extreme, get out and move to an area which is already burnt, ideally keeping your body covered.

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 veldfire.

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

Arrive Alive said the police, traffic officials and firefighters do their best to avert the dangers of veldfires and to protect the public and motorists from these dangers. It is important that motorists obey and pay close attention to these officials.

This car burst into flames after being rammed by nine other cars between eMbalenhle and Evander on 3 June. (Photo by Alf Byleveld)

Photo by Alf Byleveld

Photo by Alf Byleveld

Photo by Alf Byleveld

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