Bushfire driving safety: What to do if you’re in a car
What to do if you’re caught in a bushfire while on the road.
As Australia’s bushfire, grassfire and wildfire threat has increased over recent decades, dozens of motorists have perished trying to flee the flames.
When Victoria ignited on Black Saturday, 7 February, 2009, fires across the state claimed 180 lives including 11 people who died in cars, five near vehicles, six in garages and five on roads.
The Country Fire Authority’s deputy chief officer Alen Slijepcevic says “fire weather”, or the conditions likely to cause fires, had increased across the nation, especially in south-east Australia, over the past 20 years.
A new danger, he says, is urban sprawl as housing estates abut bush or grasslands. “Sadly, one of the most common ways people perish during a fire is on our roads when risk and stress levels are high and visibility is typically low,” Alen says.
He says the safest option for motorists is to leave early before there are any signs of fire, to avoid being trapped or panicking and making unsafe decisions.
The CFA has prepared the following advice for motorists.