With the tourist season now well and truly underway Police are asking visitors to the area to be a little mindful of the ‘Road hazards unique to Our Towns and Region.
Police say tourists need to be aware that in some areas roads are narrow, and those roads need to be shared with Road Trains.
You can share the roads with road trains more safely by following these simple tips:
• Expect road trains to stay on the bitumen when you overtake.
• When overtaking be aware of road side conditions e.g. soft shoulders, guide posts and wildlife.
• When approaching an oncoming road train on narrow roads slow down, pull on to the shoulder of the road and stop (if necessary). This may avoid unnecessary windscreen damage as well.
A sharp eye to wildlife is always advised and a look out should also be kept for stock. Don’t swerve to avoid an animal on the road. This may cause you to roll your vehicle. Gently brake and slow down. Beep your horn to alert the animal.
If you come across cattle and sheep on the road, stop and be patient. It’s all part of the ‘outback experience’. The animal might stop in the middle of the road to watch you approach. Just be patient; perhaps beep your horn and the animal will soon move.
Many of our roads have an east–west orientation. When the sun is low in the sky, clear vision is impossible. Avoid driving before 7.00 am and between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm.
Distance is also deceptive. Long distances and stretches of unchanging landscape can make a driver very tired.
Stop for a break if you experience:
• sore or heavy eyes
• dim or fuzzy vision
• daydreaming or hallucinations
• tiredness, stiffness or cramps
• aches and pains
• delayed reactions
• wandering across the road.
• take regular breaks; at least 15 minutes every two hours
• pull into rest areas, tourist spots and driver reviver stops frequently
• don’t drink alcohol before and during the trip
• eat properly (not too much or too little)
• check medications with your doctor
• get plenty of sleep before your trip
• don’t drive for more than ten hours a day
• wind down the windows every now and then for some fresh air
• share the driving
• stop as soon as you feel tired or your attention wanders
• don’t start your trip too early in the day. Your body isn’t used to concentrating before dawn or in the early hours.
If you’re towing a caravan, or part of a ‘caravanning convoy’, don’t travel too close together.
Other road users will become frustrated if they are unable to overtake safely.
The law requires caravans and other large vehicles, outside a built-up area, leave at least 60 m between each other. The distance is 200 m in a road train area.
If the roads are wet, be careful of slippery conditions and unstable road edges. Try to keep one wheel on the bitumen, if possible.
When driving in wet weather:
• keep your windscreen and lights clean
• keep headlights on low beam. In foggy conditions, it is easier to see the low beam
• use your air-conditioner or demister to keep the windscreen clear
• slow down
• double your following distance
• after driving through water, drive a short distance slowly, with your foot on the brake pedal. This helps the brakes dry out.
If you come across a closed road, due to flood, do not attempt to enter. You could face a fine or even endanger your life.
If the road is flooded, avoid attempting to cross. Wait until the level drops or use an alternative route. The force of the flood water could sweep your vehicle away.
Remember too that temperatures can rise inside a vehicle and in direct sunlight.
Avoid heat stress by:
• avoiding long periods of direct sunlight
• wearing sunscreen
• wearing comfortable, cool protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
• drinking lots of water.
And while in the region you may not see a car or vehicle for some time, remember that you never know what’s around the next bend. It’s best to be prepared for every situation.
Enjoy Our Towns… We love having you… And stay safe.