The Ultimate Guide to Staying Safe When Driving Through The Australian Outback
The outback is a barren desert where you won’t run into too many people. If you plan on driving through it you must be very careful otherwise you might not make it out the other side. We’re going to look at some things you must be aware of because you jump into your vehicle and set off on your journey into the unknown.
You need a certain type of vehicle
If you’re going to set off into the great unknown you have to make sure you’re driving in the right type of vehicle. In theory it is possible to drive through the outback in a small car, but there are some places you won’t be able to go. Some roads will have terrible terrain stretching for miles and if you see any signs that tell you to stay off the road without a 4wd vehicle you must adhere to them or you could end up in trouble.
Don’t fall asleep at the wheel
It’s pretty hard to fall asleep at the wheel in most countries unless you’re really tired because you always need to be on your toes. You need to turn around or go through a light every 5 minutes. In the outback it’s completely different and you will come up against straight roads that go on forever. You might be feeling fresh as a daisy, but after a hundred miles of total boredom it’s very easy to fall asleep behind the wheel if you’re not careful.
Be very careful when overtaking
Massive road trains speed through the outback as they make deliveries to the mines and other various places, so you must be aware of them when you’re trying to overtake anything. They are so powerful it would probably take them a week to stop if they put their foot on the brake, but they’re more likely just to drive through you. Make sure there is nothing coming for miles in any direction before you attempt anything too stupid.
Take a lot of water with you
A jerry can could possibly save your life, but that is only if you fill a few will gallons of water before you head off on your journey. The closest you’re likely to get to water in the middle of the outback is the mysterious mirages in the middle of the road. If you break down and you don’t have any water it’s likely you will die unless you’re very lucky. If you’re sensible you won’t take the risk and you will take as much water as you can fit in your vehicle.
Watch out for animals when it’s dark
Animals like to come out when it’s dark and it’s easy to smash into them if you’re not paying attention. The reason they lie in the middle of the road is because it’s the only place that is hot when the sun goes down as the road retains a lot of heat. If you’re driving in a 4wd you will probably have kangaroo bars on the front of your truck, but you should still drive a lot slower than usual if you don’t want trouble.
Don’t drive on a closed road
If you see a sign telling you a particular road is closed you must not drive on it. They are definitely not telling you to stay off it because they want to be mean. They’re just sick and tired of being called out to rescue people because they got stuck in the mud. If you stick to the open roads and your car doesn’t break down you will eventually reach your destination. Just be aware it’s going to take a long time to get there.
Don’t risk your life
I hope you realize it’s dangerous driving in the outback, so you must do everything you can to ensure you stay safe. I think the most important thing is choosing the right vehicle in the first place, so consider renting a 4wd before you say goodbye to the city.
The author of this post, James Norton, is a sales executive by profession. He is a part of the team at Ultimate 4wd Equipment, a company that offers 4WD equipment for mining vehicles. He enjoys spending holidays with his friends by taking long road trips.