Outback driving is not riskier than driving on any crowded highway at home. Likewise, driving on unsealed tracks in the Australian Outback needs the driver's full attention.
Forget the traffic jams. Enjoy the freedom to drive on empty roads in the beautiful Australian Outback!
Conditions on dirt roads vary, depending on the weather, usage of the road, and how long ago the grader went through. Usually, the main Outback roads, although unsealed, are in fairly good condition.
To start with, driving in Australia is not hard, even if they drive on the "wrong" side of the road :). Okay, there are still a few more countries in the world who drive on the left, so the wrong or right depends on where you come from.
A valid driver's license is required, of course. International visitors should have an international driving license, especially, if your license is not issued in the English language. But also bring your national drivers license.
Speed limits apply in all states of Australia, but they vary from state to state, and even change within the state from time to time. If you're going to hire a car, you'll get the latest information. You can also check with the Australian motoring clubs.
Always fasten your seat-belt, also when you sit in the back of the car.
Drinking and driving is best to be avoided. A blood alcohol concentration limit of 0,05% is valid in all states. And they test you!! Even in a small bush town on a Sunday morning.
If you have an accident with people being injured call the police. The emergency call is 000 from fixed phones, and 112 from mobile phones.
I mentioned it before, Australians drive on the left side of the road, but this is not a problem. After two days it is like you have always done that. And traffic in the cities is much the same as in any other country.
You've heard about corrugated roads? It seems Australia is famous for them.
Pictured on the right is one of the worse roads in a national park in New South Wales. Don't worry, it is not always that bad. Find the speed that makes the ride on a bumpy track comfortable for you. On roads like the Oodnadatta & Birdsville Tracks this could be a speed of 60 to 80 km/h (40 - 50 mph) if the conditions are good.
Some Outback roads are sealed, but actually are very narrow (one-lane road). When you see an oncoming car, slow down and move to the left so that your left driving wheels are on the gravel.
However, if the oncoming car is a truck, you better slow down and leave the road completely. Don't force the truck to leave the bitumen. It would only throw stones and dust on you anyway.
Don't forget, what you think is a truck could as well be a road train. These "monster" vehicles can be up to 50 m long. Bear this always in mind when you try to overtake a truck/road train.
RACQ Queensland RACQ Phone: 131905
RTA New South Wales Ph: NRMA 131122 or RTA 132701,
NSW western regions 80826660
Outback Roads South Australia
SA Outback Roads Ph: 1300 361 033
Northern Territory Road Reports
Recorded information Ph: 1800 246 199
VIC Roads Road closures & Traffic alerts
Desert Parks South Australia Hotline on 1800 816 078
The Bureau of Meteorology has always the latest weather warnings on the homepage.
Outback driving is fun and can get addictive. Be careful! :)
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