REGARDLESS of whether we are emergency service workers responding to an incident, or a member of the general public going about our business, we all must know how to recognise and avoid hazards whilst driving. A hazard can be any possible source of danger on, or near the road that could lead to a crash.
There are three common road hazards that we encounter In the Derwent Valley: soft road edges, wildlife, and rain (particularly at this time of year). By adopting safe driving practices we can avoid placing ourselves and other road users at risk of an incident.
Soft road edges: In rural areas, a driver may have to move off the bitumen in order to pass another vehicle. The edges of the road could be gravelly or even rutted, so it is important to drive at a reasonable speed to maintain control of the vehicle. As a general rule, err on the side of caution when driving on unsealed roads. Slower is always safer.
Wildlife: Wildlife is usually present usually around dusk, when visibility is the poorest. This is the time when drivers of vehicles are most at risk of hitting wildlife that is on the road. It is prudent to drive somewhat slower at this time. If an animal suddenly appears, avoid swerving as this can cause the vehicle to run off the road onto the gravel edge, with a possible loss of control of the vehicle.
Rain: The hazard that causes the most concern is rain. During dry periods, bitumen road surfaces accumulate grease, oil and other contaminants. When rain does fall, these substances make the roads slippery and dangerous. Always drive to the conditions and if necessary leave a bit earlier when making a journey.
The Derwent Valley unit of the State Emergency Service is presently recruiting new members. Anyone who is interested in voluntary service with the SES is welcome to attend a training night at the local headquarters on the corner of Blair and George streets in New Norfolk. These are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 7-9pm.
Derwent Valley SES emergency call-outs for the month of June included responses to two motor vehicle crashes, one road-crash rescue and one non-vehicular rescue.
Derwent Valley State Emergency Service Unit