Taking a road trip is the best way to see the outback, but it’s not without its dangers. When you are in the middle of nowhere, a long way from civilization, you could quickly find yourself in a very tough situation. That’s why preparation is so important and if you want to stay safe, there are certain safety tips you need to follow. If you are heading on a road trip through the Australian outback, here’s how to stay safe.
Research Routes Before You Leave
Before you set off on your trip and whenever you stop in a town, take the opportunity to research the route so you know what to expect. Find out about the condition of the roads and check where all of the petrol stations are so you don’t get caught out. When planning the next leg of your journey, leave time for breaks every two hours or so because it’s easy to become fatigued when driving in the heat. Never drive for more than 8-10 hours in one day, and never drive around sunrise and sunset. If you must drive at night, drive slow and make sure you're alert.
Sort Your Vehicle Out
Breaking down in the outback isn’t the same as breaking down in the middle of a city. It could be a long time before you are able to get help, so you need to reduce the chances of a breakdown as much as possible and have a backup plan in place if it does happen. Give your car a thorough once over, changing the rims and tyres if they need it, checking the brake pads, charging or replacing the battery if you’ve had it a while, and refilling all of the fluids (to learn more about charging your battery check out this article). If you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t ignore it because it could turn into a serious problem later on and leave you stranded in the outback.
Make sure that you have a spare tyre and a well-stocked toolkit as well, so if your car does breakdown, you can get it up and running for long enough to reach the nearest town.
Pack Your Essentials
When packing for your trip, there are some extras that you need to take. Always bring detailed maps of the area and a compass. Firelighters and matches will be a big help if you get stranded too. When packing food and water, always overestimate and bring enough for each person for at least two days, even if you don’t plan to be on the road for that long.
It is also worth renting a satellite phone to take with you because mobile phone signal is patchy at best and in many areas, you won’t get a signal at all. If you get into trouble, a satellite phone is your only lifeline.
You should also pack an emergency first aid kit in case you get injured or fall ill during your trip. It may be a while before you can get medical attention, so being able to provide immediate care is important.
An outback road trip can be the experience of a lifetime but it can quickly become very dangerous if you don’t follow these safety tips.
by Natalie Marie.
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