"Driving tips for Outback Australia."
Well we've covered "keep left" and our general road rules, as well as road conditions in remote areas and how they can change quickly after heavy rain periods. Now there's a few more driving tips you need to know when travelling in Australia's outback region and along the many highways and roads between towns and cities.
Animals & Livestock
Australia is well-known for the high amount of animal deaths occurring on our roads. The countryside and the outback are the worst. Be cautious of wildlife, most commonly kangaroos and particularly at the times of dusk and dawn when they are most prolific. You may also come across rabbits, emus and smaller furry animals but the kangaroos are by far the worst and can do some serious damage to your vehicle and yourselves if you are travelling too fast. Try and avoid travelling at dusk and dawn in the outback if you can for safety reasons.
Also look out for our precious lizards. We have many varieties here and they like to warm themselves on the road during the day, most commonly in the outback. They can be quite slow or stand still so please slow down and try to avoid hitting them. They are harmless and we love them here.
Livestock is another big thing to look out for in the outback. Cows can be anywhere and everywhere as you travel along many roads which are part of station property. There are no fences and the animals are often on the road or at the road edges. Slow right down and be very cautious. They can be very unpredictable and run either way. There are grids on the road which prevent the cattle leaving the station boundaries and in remote areas you’ll find gates along many tracks which you must leave as you found them, which is almost always “closed.”
Road Trains & Oversize Vehicles
We have some enormous trucks travelling on the roads in Australia, on the outbound highways and in the outback. Long trucks with up to 2 or 3 carriages (trailers) attached to the main vehicle are called road trains here. Do not attempt to overtake these vehicles unless you are on a long straight road and can see well into the distance. If you have a UHF radio in your vehicle truck drivers in Australia use Channel 40, so you can switch to channel 40 and ask the truckie in front if all is clear and safe to overtake. Most are very helpful and happy to oblige.
We also have over-size vehicles following pilot vehicles here (generally a leading vehicle with flashing orange lights and a large “oversize vehicle ahead” sign on the roof). Sometimes they are led by a police car which indicates the vehicle behind is massively oversized and you probably have to pull off the road to allow it to get past. The police officer or pilot vehicle driver in the leading vehicle will indicate by pointing sideways which means "pull over.” If they are using their hand with an up and down motion this means “slow down.” Do exactly as they suggest and avoid a potential accident.
We hope these driving tips come in handy when you visit and travel Australia. Please stay safe on the road.