With the dry winter season on us, the threat of veld fires has increased and this poses an increased road safety risk to vehicles where visibility is drastically reduced.
As a precautionary measure, N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) started its programme of burning firebreaks within the road reserve (strips of land directly adjacent to the main road) along the N3 toll route and these will run through to the end of July.
Weather permitting, N3TC’s fire break teams will work along sections of the route from early morning to late evening. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that safety standards are adhered to and that the scene of a controlled burn is clearly demarcated using flagmen, signage and flashing lights.
Because veld fires pose serious road safety risks, N3TC’s commercial manager, Con Roux, has urged road users to take every precaution not to start fires during the dry season and to take extra care when visibility on the road is impaired due to smoke from fires.
“By adopting defensive driving techniques when travelling through any dangerous situation, drivers can ultimately help prevent accidents,” he says. When approaching fire or smoke across the road, truckers are advised to:
- Immediately reduce speed;
- Switch on the vehicle’s headlights and emergency lights;
- If visibility remains good, proceed with extreme caution; and
- If the smoke is heavy and visibility is poor, rather pull off the road – not in the emergency lanes rather as far as possible off the road – before reaching the smoke.
“The golden rule is, if you cannot see through the smoke, do not proceed. On no account should truckers or motorists who find themselves in the middle of the road in dense smoke panic and attempt to stop or reverse. Attempting to get out from a vehicle under such circumstances could be fatal,” says Roux.
If you come across an unattended fire and/or smoke along or near the N3, immediately report it to the 24-hour N3TC Route Control Centre on 0800 63 4357 (0800 N3 HELP); via the N3TC Mobility APP or Twitter: @N3Route.