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The Roadtripper's Guide to Driving Australia Part 3: Stop, Revive, Survive

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 4 January 2010 | Views [3873] | Comments [2]

Pete Burke, the owner and founder of Traveller's Auto Barn, shares his extensive knowledge and experience about driving in Australia and the dangers to be aware of on your roadtrip this holiday season.

STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE

“Stop, Revive, Survive” is a public campaign run in Australia urging the thousands of holidaying motorists to take it easy on the roads this Christmas, New Year and school holiday summer season.  Basically it’s recommended that you break up your drive every two hours by taking a short break. The campaign runs year round but is especially ramped up at this time of year.

Read more about the Stop, Revive, Survive Campaign

We wholeheartedly support the STOP, REVIVE, SURVIVE campaign and would like to see everyone get to their destination safely.

Here are some tips from Travellers Auto Barn to help keep you safe on your trip this summer.

THINGS TO BEWARE OF:

TRUCKS, SEMIS, LORRIES, ROAD TRAINS.

Besides Kangaroos and livestock on country roads, there is also the fact that most of the road freight travels at night and these huge trucks and their drivers are on very dangerous timetables and you do not want to be on the truck highways at night dueling with these unforgiving behemoths of the road. At night they own the road.

WET ROADS

Beware unfamiliar roads in the wet……another good government campaign is ‘Wipe off 10 in the wet”. Meaning whatever speed you are doing take off another 10 when it’s raining.

LOCAL FLOODS

In the Wet Season it’s quite common to get periods of heavy rain which can cause localised flooding.  Highways can be cut for 1-3 days, usually not much longer. Have some patience, don’t try and drive through the flood or find a small local road to get around the flood. The spot where the water covers the road isn’t just an unlucky spot. It’s usually the spot where the road is at it’s lowest. In fact under the water the seemingly level road probably dips quite substantially so that what starts our 10cm deep becomes 1-2 metres deep. Not good. Many people are rescued from the roofs of their vehicles every year. Don’t be one of them….and besides that the car will be ruined.

SPEED

Statistics prove it. Young people and speed are a deadly mix. The need for speed, the exhilaration of speed, and inexperience usually equate to a loss of control of the vehicle at a speed that results in carnage. Australian / NZ roads are nothing like Europe, many highways are simply rubbish. A sudden corner, an unforgiving camber on a bend with no shoulder. No room for error, your off the road, and the car is on it’s roof.

UNSEALED ROADS / DIRT ROADS

Corrugations, pot holes, more animals, sandy or dust drifts…all of these things will result in a loss of control of the vehicle at speeds as low as 30km/h depending upon how bad they are.

UNFAMILIAR CARS

This is one of the greatest contributing factors amongst those incidents involving Travellers Auto Barn vehicles. Our Ford Falcons are 4 litre, rear wheel drive, lots of power to the rear wheels. Unless you are a very experienced driver you do not ‘test out’  one of these cars, they will bite back. The CHUBBY and HiTOP campers have a high centre of gravity and with any combination of speed, poor road, inexperience and that essential ingredient stupidity, you will end up on your side. Australian Cars are not small, 1.3 litre, front wheel drive, manual transmission vehicles that many of our customers got their license driving.

DON'T:

  • Push on when you are tired.
  • Get into the mind set of needing to ‘make good time’.

  • Drive at dusk, dawn, or overnight,when you as travellers, should be enjoying a cup of tea, a beer, making dinner, sleeping, sleeping in or enjoying the beautiful surrounds you’ve woken up in.

Take it easy this summer, have fun, and when you are behind the wheel, be responsible. Happy holidays and safe driving!

Tags: australia, backpacking, campervans, driving, road safety, travel, van-tastic adventures

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