Glossary of Terms
Mode of Transport: means car, 4wd, caravan, trailer, motor bike, bicycle, motor home etc.
A valuable checklist on Australian roads
- Stay within the speed limits
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Keep left when not overtaking
- Don't drink and drive
- Don't drive tired, take a break every 2 hours
- Plan your trip
- Check road conditions
- Check weather conditions
- Choose the right vehicle
- Be aware of road hazards
- Take care when overtaking
- Watch out for animals
- Be security conscious
- Always drive with your lights on during the day
- It would be best for you to check with the authorities regarding your International Drivers Licence, as in some states of Australia, after you have been driving here for more than 3 months, you are required to apply for a licence in that state.
- Driving into remote locations can take you to some amazing places, but trip planning is vital. Get advice on essential items you may need before you depart. Local advice from tourist information centres will be helpful.
- Driving at night isn't encouraged. If you're new to our roads, driving in the dark could cause disorientation and it increases the chance of hitting wandering animals which come out at night.
- If you are confronted by wandering animals, then brake firmly and don't swerve off the road as this can cause your mode of transport to roll over.
- So when you plan your trip allow plenty of time and avoid driving between dusk and dawn.
- If you plan to travel off the main roads, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Even visit a Police Station and tell the local officers of your driving plans. Work out the distance between towns so you know to go back or forwards should you have vehicle problems. Some parts of Australia can be very lonely and even fatal.
- Always remember the number one rule with a breakdown emergency is to never leave your vehicle.
- Avoid driving on closed roads. If a road is closed due to rain, wait until it dries out, as it is likely to be impassable, an therefore you may become stuck, also the fines for driving on closed roads could ruin your budget.
- Grids and gates - they help station owners to keep the animals in the paddocks they should stay. On main roads there are grids, animals won't walk over them.
- Minor roads just have a gate. You have to get out of your vehicle and open the gate, if it's closed. Don't forget to close it after you have passed. The golden rule is Always leave a gate as you find it!
- When travelling it's easy to forget your personal safety.
- Always keep an eye on your property and if you need to leave make sure you lock up your vehicle and accommodation. Don't give people the chance to steal your belongings by leaving property in your mode of transport, it can really ruin your holiday.
- A friend of ours learnt the hard way, he was invited to a BBQ in a caravan park with some fellow travellers. He failed to lock his 4WD, which was only metres away, in full view and someone opened his back door and stole his valuable camera with irreplaceable photographs. An advertisement in the local paper appealing to the perpetrator to return the photographs were unanswered, it was probably long gone.
In Australia, if you wish to report a crime or need Police help, call Crime Stoppers on:
Free call 1800 333 000.
- The road surfaces you need to be aware of are
dirt, gravel and sand, and a lot of driving in Australia involves driving through thick clouds of dust. Dust reduces visibility often to the point where you can barely see ahead. In these circumstances leave a big distance between you and the mode of transport in front. Also be prepared for dust when a vehicle comes from the opposite direction.
- On gravel roads it is easy for tyres to spin or lose grip. They also form corrugations that are rough and can cause the vehicle's wheels to bounce and lose traction, so slow down. Corners should be taken slowly and be aware that if you try to stop suddenly your vehicle will skid.
Ever wondered why you slide out so easily on dirt roads?
- Dirt and paved road curves differ significantly, and that has nothing to do with size and surface. This has to do with how they are constructed.
- Paved roads are laid out with circle-drawing compasses. That doesn’t mean they are circles, but it does mean that they are regular curves. When you enter a paved curve and give the steering wheel a "set," the road more or less holds constant.
- Paved curves almost always go from straight, transition to a fixed, regular curve, then straighten out again with no irregularities in between. This makes for easier and safer driving.
- Dirt roads usually follow Mother Nature’s lay of the land. This leads to irregular curves.
- Irregular curves mean the radius varies: They may get tighter and tighter, or straighten out faster than expected. That may be the reason we unexpectedly slide out because it is not exactly what our paved mindset was expecting.
Keep your tyres properly inflated
The correct air pressure for your tyres is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tyre is not the recommended air pressure for your tyre -- it is the maximum air pressure for the tyre. You should check your tyre's air pressure at least once a month.
Allow for extra tyre pressure if you are towing.
Check the tyres tread depth
Tyres should have 1/16 inch tread depth in order to perform the way in which they were designed. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and hydroplaning.
Have your tyres rotated every 10,000 km’s
This will aid in detecting alignment problems and help prevent irregular wear.
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tyre's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.
Recover from a Skid
Skids can even happen to the most cautious drivers. If your mode of transport does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes, and do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead apply pressure to the brakes in a firm manner and steer the mode of transport in the direction of the skid.
Keep a Safe Distance
It takes about three times longer to break on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Recover from Hydroplaning
When it rains, water creates a barrier between the road and your tyres. The liquid film that forms can cause you to lose traction and glide or hydroplane across the water's surface. If this happens, do not brake. It is better to take your foot off the accelerator, hold the steering wheel in place, and lightly apply the brakes.