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Kamis, 16 Februari 2017

OUTBACK Motoring

Australia’s size and remoteness deter many people from explor¬ing it. However, properly set up and

equipped, and armed with common sense and a little background knowl-edge, every intending traveller

can explore the country's huge open spaces.

If you intend travelling in the out-back, planning ahead is vital, for it is possible to travel in some sections

of the Australian outback and not see another vehicle or person for several days. (The Canning Stock

Route is a good example.)

It is possible to travel in some areas of the outback in a 2 WD vehicle, but it is safer and much more

practical to do so in a 4WD vehicle suited to ott-road conditions. Remember that if you rent a vehicle,

there may be restrictions on insurance if you drive on unclassified roads; seek advice before you make

any plans.

Your vehicle should be fitted with air conditioning to counteract high inland daytime temperatures and

to allow you to drive with all the windows closed through dusty areas. You should be able to carry out

small running repairs and must carry an owner’s manual for the vehicle, tools and spare parts.

Driving Conditions

Outback driving conditions vary greatly. The deserts are usually dry; conditions change after rain. Many

parts of the tropics are accessible only in the ‘dry’ season, and even then there are streams to ford and

washawavs to contend with.

Pre-reading road conditions is vital. Recognising that a patch of different colour may represent a change

in surface is an example. Sand can give way to rock; ruck may lead to mud; hard surfaces become

bulldust with little warning.

Soft saad. bulldust and mud. These are best negotiated at the highest reason¬able speed and in the

highest possible gear and in 4\VD. However, examine the road surface first. Never enter deep mud or

mud covered with water with¬out first establishing the depth of either or both.

Dips. Dips are common on outback roads and can break suspension compo¬nents if you enter too fast.

To cross a dip, brake on entry to drop the vehi¬cle’s nose, and hold the brake on until just before the

bottom of the depres¬sion. Then accelerate again to lift the nose and therefore the suspension, as you

exit. This will prevent the springs from bottoming out and will also give maximum clearance.

Cattle grids. Also a potential hazard, as they are often neglected, with broken approaches and exits. If a

grid appears to be in disrepair, stop and check first, before attempting to cross.

Road trains. These multi-trailered, long trucks are difficult and often dan¬gerous to overtake,

particularly on dusty roads. Wait for a chance to get the front of your vehicle out to a position where the

road-train driver can see you in the rear-view mirror, but even then do not try to overtake until the

driver has sig¬nalled acknowledgement that you are there. Sometimes it is prudent to stop and take a

break, rather than try to over-take a road train. If you meet an oncoming road train, pull over and stop

until it has passed.

Animals. There are vast areas of unfenced property in the outback where stock roam free. A bullock or a

large kangaroo can seriously damage your vehicle. Be especially wary around sun¬rise and sunset when

animals are more active. A bull-bar or roo-bar provides limited protection at low speeds only, especially

against larger animals. Drrw concentradon should be at as high a lev el as in city peak hours.

Keep it for an emergency. emergency supplies of dry biscuits and canned iooc

will keep hunger at bay, but boch- evap¬oration and thirst is the vital factor. Do not drink radiator

coolant. Often it is not water but a chemical compound, and even if it is water, usually it has been

treated with chemicals (see: How to Obtain Water).

Do not try to walk out of a remote area. You are going to survive only if you wait by the car. Before

entering a remote area, check with police or a local author¬ity. and tell them where and when you arc

soing, and when yon expect to arrive. When you reach your destination, tele¬phone and advise of your

arrival. This is important as failure to do so causes unneecessarv and expensive searches.

If stranded, set up some type of shel¬ter and, in the heat of the day, remain in its shade as motionless as

possible. Movement accelerates fluid loss

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