As fire crews across Australia fight to contain an unprecedented number of serious blazes, it’s important know what to do if you find yourself driving in an area threatened by bushfire. Motorists are strongly advised to avoid any areas affected by fires, but have water, food supplies, a full tank of fuel and a fully-charged mobile phone with them as conditions are constantly changing.
If you encounter smoke across the road, stop and assess the situation before driving through it. Ultimately, being prepared, staying aware of your surroundings and keeping a level head in an emergency are the best ways to ensure you stay safe around bushfires this summer.
However, here’s what to do if you find yourself driving during a bushfire.
To stay safe on the road around bushfires:
- Follow the advice of the Rural Fire Service and Police; listen to your local radio for updates on fire conditions in your area and check Live Traffic NSW for updates on road closures.
- Avoid driving in areas where controlled burning and bushfires are burning. You should only drive during a bushfire as a last resort or if instructed to do so
- Turn your headlights on. Smoke from fires decreases visibility of your car
- Ensure your car has plenty of water and fuel and there is water for anyone in the car
- If you stop your car to plan your trip or safe exit from the bushfire area park well off the road and turn your hazard lights on
If you are caught in the path of a bushfire:
- Stay in your car
- Find a clearing – park away from dense bush
- Park behind a barrier such as a wall or rocky outcrop
- Park off roadways and turn your hazard lights on – poor visibility can cause car crashes
Staying with your car:
- Stay in your car, close the windows and doors tightly
- Cover up with woollen blankets and make sure you are below window level
- Drink water to make sure that you do not become dehydrated
When the fire is close:
- Shut all the vents and air-conditioning off
- Turn the engine off
Stay up to date on fires in your area at: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me
Keep up to date with fire updates at: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/major-fire-updates