Jack Sutherland had just pulled up on his driveway, cutting the power of his slick Suzuki Swift when he felt a jolt and the stationary car swung for a second or two, all on its own. Jack immediately knew what had happened. It was an earthquake that had hit Auckland which made him rush out on the open road in a panic. But earthquakes are quite common in New Zealand, albeit less harmful as compared to hazards that are mostly associated with those happening in other countries. Why; the quake that hit the east coast in September 2016 (7.1 magnitude), generating a minor tsunami didn’t have any casualty as the coastal residents quickly made their way to high ground with the help of torchlight. Nevertheless, you never know what will happen when another will hit the island country.
What Are The Reasons Behind High Occurrence of Earthquake In New Zealand?
One of the reasons behind high occurrence of earthquake in the land of the Kiwis is that New Zealand sits on top of two tectonic plates that often rub together, creating high vibration. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are mostly caused due to the movement between tectonic plates. These plates constantly move as underground stresses are released through the Earth’s crust. What’s more, the islands of New Zealand are situated over the boundary between the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. The Pacific “Ring of Fire” is the area where most of the world’s seismic activity (relating to earthquake) takes place. It is a ring encircling the Pacific Ocean in a somewhat horseshoe silhouette, beginning at New Zealand, continuing up through the Philippines and Indonesia, through the edge of the eastern Asian countries, then down the western coast of the USA and South America.
Safety Tips For Motorists When Hit By Earthquake
Earthquakes can occur, reminds Warren Steel, head of New Zealand’s pre
miere car spa Shyn4U, in every region of the country, at any time of the year, and that too without any warning. This includes periods when you are driving your car to your place of work or returning back home, making you more vulnerable to sudden disaster. However, the following tips on what to do when an earthquake hits, feels Steel, will save you from lots of hazards likely to be caused due to quake.
Tip # 1: What To Do While Driving During Earthquake
If an earthquake occurs while you are driving:
- Slow down
- Look for an open area to halt and pull over as soon as you may find it safe to do so.
- Beware of parking your car near or under a bridge, flyover, projected construction, high voltage power lines or tall tree.
- Cut the motor, apply the parking brake and remain seat-belted within your car till you feel the quake is over.
- If a high voltage power line falls on your car, do not try to wriggle out of the vehicle. Remain inside until rescue parties come and remove the power line. However, you may leave the car if staying inside may seem dangerous for you and your passengers.
Tip # 2: How To Communicate During Earthquake
If an earthquake occurs while you are driving your car:
- Turn on your radio and listen for disaster management news.
- The majority of the stations would switch to emergency broadcasting about local conditions.
- Restrict phone usage only to inform about injury since wireless phone service has every likelihood of becoming ‘jammed’ due to random usage, as also on account of likely damage to towers.
- Cut down all non-essential communications.
- Inform your location to near and dear ones.
Tip # 3: How To Cope With The Immediate Aftermath
- Get out of your vehicle once the shaking has stopped.
- Look around for probable damage caused to the vehicle and the immediate neighborhood.
- Check yourself physically to see if any injury caused due to earthquake has occured.
- Refrain from driving your vehicle till wireless message permit doing so. It may possibly be safer to stay where you are, especially if there are cracks and crevices found nearby.
Tip # 4: How To Drive A Car After An Earthquake
- Use discretion when driving after an earthquake.
- Be prepared for aftershocks that invariably follow a major earthquake.
- Aftershocks often dislodge large chunks of concrete from buildings damaged by earthquake.
- Try to circumvent ramp, bridges, underground tunnels and bridges as much as possible
- Look out for panic ridden drivers who may ram into your vehicle due to complete loss of self-control.
- If you are driving through mountainous or hilly area, look out for landslides.
One More Sane Advice From The Automobile Guru:
Take active part in the country’s NEHRP (National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program) by contributing your experience in combating earthquake hazards, so that others will benefit from how you had helped people who had suffered badly from quakes and aftershocks.