Care needed in smoky conditions

Residents are asked to take care in the smoke. 203198_01

By Danielle Kutchel

As thick smoke haze continues to blanket Victoria, motorists are being reminded to exercise caution on the roads.

The smoke has reduced visibility across the state.

VicRoads has recommended that drivers use their headlights on low-beam to make sure they can see and be seen, even during the day.

Windows should be closed and air-conditioning set to re-circulation to reduce the smell of smoke inside the car.

With an increase in the number of collisions in smoky conditions, drivers should also increase the space between themselves and the vehicle in front to allow safe braking distance.

In addition, motorists are reminded to be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians who may not be as easy to see in hazy conditions.

If visibility deteriorates and it becomes unsafe to continue driving, motorists should pull over off the road and use their hazard lights.

Meanwhile, authorities have asked Victorians to remain vigilant, with the smoke posing a health hazard.

EPA State Agency Commander Dan Hunt recommended that residents shelter indoors and minimise their physical activity in such conditions, even if not part of a vulnerable group such as the over 65s, under 15s, pregnant women and those with heart or lung disease or diabetes.

“Hazardous air quality, regardless of how physically fit you are, we say that’s unhealthy not just for sensitive people, but for everyone,” he said in a press conference.

According to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton, the health effects of smoke exposure include a worsening cough and eye, nose and throat irritation.

Residents are advised to keep an eye on the EPA AirWatch website, available at epa.vic.gov.au

Real-time traffic conditions are available at traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au or via the VicTraffic mobile app.

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