Safe Driving in the Outback
Mt Dare Hotel
Mt Dare Hotel
ROAD CONDITIONS (also see Simpson Desert Regional info)
Do not drive on any closed road!!!! heavy fines apply, $1,200.

Always remember to engage 4X4 before getting bogged, some vehicles with auto front hubs can't engage 4X4 unless they are moving, thus leaving you bogged in 2 wheel drive if you don't. Remember it's not just embarrassing; it's expensive to be recovered if you are on your own. It's advisable to leave the vehicle in 4X4 when the track surface gets a bit slippery, or even when it's dry. This won't damage the 4wd system, driving on dirt roads is what they're designed to do!

If you think it may have been raining in the region you're heading into, stop and ask for track conditions and accessibility as early as you can, or give us a call; this may save unnecessary road damage or the inconvenience of having to turn around and go back.

These websites will have info about official road closures and conditions.

Many people drive far too fast, either for the conditions or their ability. It is quite common to here about an accident, mostly a roll over.  The poor old tyres cop a flogging from excess speed also.

A safe speed to travel at is not just governed by the state speed limit, although you should not exceed it, you don't necessarily have to travel at it. Most accidents are caused by driving too fast, losing control in the loose gravel and rolling, if you're lucky you'll go to hospital, otherwise; you get the picture.

Firstly you should drive at a speed that you and your passengers are comfortable with, secondly if you are sliding around corners or being jolted by a dip in the road, slow down. You may not think that driving in 4x4 is necessary, but it will give you more control on a slippery corner.

I could make several examples of accidents that could have been avoided if they had driven slower, but I will only mention one. A young family was driving from Dalhousie to Oodnadatta with a sick child, the weather was fine and it was late afternoon on a good section of the Oodna track. Driving too fast the driver lost control of the vehicle driving through a small dip (creek crossing); they rolled and hit a tree sadly they were all killed.

The action that should have been taken is; if the child was that sick the RFDS should have been called and they would have been picked up at the Dalhousie air strip, or driven slower to the clinic at Oodnadatta where there is a nurse. The result would have had them alive today; the problem is that most people don't realize that they are driving beyond their capability until it's too late.

Another common sight is to see vehicles with a broken wind screen or side glass, this is caused either by an overtaking, or on coming vehicle. This can be avoided by slowing down a little, to say 40 - 50 km/h, or slower depending on the width of the road. Most 4x4's are worth a lot of money, you'ld get upset if another vehicle "threw" stones at you when slowing down could have avoided it, remember this the next time you're passing on-comming traffic.

If you are about to overtake someone stay out wide, right out of the dust, where you have good vision of the road ahead and approach slowly until the vehicle in front has seen you; it's a good idea to use your lights. When the vehicle in front does see you they should slow down, so when you pass you are traveling much slower speed, this will reduce the amount of dust you make and avoid the stone chips and wind screen damage.

Everyone is on holiday, slow down and enjoy yourself so you can have another.

When driving around caravan parks you will see signs saying "SLOW, WALKING PACE" or similar, everyone knows why, so when you are in a camping area like Dalhousie or Mt Dare or passing campers on a bush track, just remember that there doesn't need to be a sign to tell you what should be common sense, children, dogs, dust and common courtesy are just a few reasons.

When driving in a group it's a good idea to have UHF radio communication between vehicles. It can be used for warning each other about an oncoming vehicle so you can slow down, or to advise on the status of a gate, whether to shut it or leave it open (gates must always be left how they are found).

Always leave plenty of room between vehicles to give you clear vision of the road ahead; so you aren't traveling in each others dust. If you stop for nature don't try to "catch up" or you'll put yourself at risk by driving too fast, if anyone is concerned about being separated everyone should stop and you can all stretch your legs and stay together.



Within Australia: (08) 8670 7835
International: 61-8-8670 7835

PMB 267
Alice Springs
NT 0872

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