On the 14th of July the Arrive Alive website received an accident report pertaining to a multiple car pile-up in KZN. Poor visibility as a result of burning sugarcane adjacent to the R102 between Ballito and Compensation resulted in an eight car pile-up which left ten people injured, five seriously.
It is believed that dense smoke had created an opaque screen across the freeway. Vehicles slowed gradually as visibility was reduced. One vehicle was unable to stop in time and ploughed into a slow moving vehicle travelling north. Other vehicles continued to plough into the wrecked vehicles which had come to rest in the roadway.
At the end of winter we often find veld and forest fires – necessitating the need for special caution. We would like to urge drivers to attention to road conditions and to reduce speed where visibility is poor.
On the Arrive Alive website we have made available safe driving recommendations near these areas of smoke and fire. We would like to urge drivers not only to adjust their own driving, but also to respect emergency operators at these scenes.
The police, traffic officials and fire fighters do their best to avert the dangers from veld fires and to protect the public and motorists from these dangers. They also control crowds near the emergency scenes and will provide the most convenient detour for traffic when roads are closed. It is important that motorists obey and pay close attention to these officials. The following should be kept in mind:
* Move over when you see flashing lights at the side of the road or the presence of emergency vehicles or fire engines!
* Try to stay at least 200 metres from the emergency vehicle.
* If an emergency exists ahead, it may be dangerous to the public to drive through the area.
* People who drive into an emergency scene may collide with a fire engine, or worse, a firefighter.
* Slow down when approaching an emergency scene
* Be patient and keep in mind that fire and emergency personnel did not create the emergency, they did not cause the accident and they did not start the fire
* Detouring traffic may cause everything to slow down, but it is better getting through slowly instead of getting stuck.
Driving with caution might not only save lives – but also help to avoid car insurance claims from avoidable accidents in these difficult driving conditions!