Around 40 people die in outback Australia each year and this inhospitable environment is dangerous to drive in if you are not prepared.
The main roads, such as from Adelaide to Alice Springs, are pretty safe despite the long distances, as they have regular services and are relatively busy. Going further afield though, onto dirt tracks which get faint against the red dirt, is much more risky.
Even though police are rare in the remote areas of the outback you should stick to sensible driving codes.
- Don’t drink and drive
- Stick to the speed limit even if the road seems empty
These are how most deaths occur from road traffic accidents.
Watch out for wildlife
Many animals come out at night or dusk and can cause damage to your vehicle if they jump in front of you. It is generally more dangerous to swerve to avoid these animals than hit them, however, so consider “roo bars” as protection in case of a car crash.
If you break down or get stuck then you need to have made the right preparations and be sensible about your actions:
Work on taking around ten litres per person, per day since it is the single most important thing for survival in the outback. Without it any other survival skills become meaningless. If you become stranded, ration your supplies, stay out of the sun and rest as much as possible while you wait for rescue.
- Inform people of your plans
Let friends and family know your route and when you will be back. If people aren’t missing you then they will not send a search party.
- Stay with your vehicle
It’s best to have a real four-wheel drive car for outback excursions, and know how to use it. It’s also useful to know that getting out of soft sand is as simple as deflating the tyres a little. If you break down then don’t attempt to walk. The outback is vast and you can only carry a certain amount of water. Staying with the car, which is easier to find, will help you keep energy. Moving the car to an open area so that it can be spotted easily and opening the bonnet to show you are in trouble will help to get assistance. Aim the mirrors upwards to catch the sun and open the doors to make it as large as possible. You can create other signals such as fire or using rocks to spell out SOS. Take it in turns sleeping to avoid missing a potential rescue party.
A satellite phone is a lifesaver in remote areas and consider an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) which will help people find you.
- Stay sheltered
Keeping out of the sun during the day, under shelter and with the skin covered will preserve moisture, while at night it can get perilously cool and some people have died from exposure in certain areas so bring blankets.
If you suffer an injury as a result of an accident on the road which is somebody else’s fault then you can claim for compensation with Accident Advice Helpline. Call us today on 0800 689 0500 for more information.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice