Before stocking your esky and fueling up to head into the great, blue yonder, there are some essential things to consider to be sure that you have a fun but safe experience on your off-road holiday, and remember no prestige car is safe for this journey, perhaps take a 4WD!
1. Stock extra supplies
Make certain to have lots of food, fuel and water–enough to sustain your group in case of a breakdown or other mishap that leaves you with no ready access to supplies. Map-out stops for water and gas along your path so that you understand exactly where you’re able to get supplies and emergency services. Also make certain to note the maximum distance between supply resources, even if your trip isn’t especially remote.
2. Know the risks of driving in distant places
Keep aware of weather conditions along your path a few weeks before going outside. Many tracks can experience significant flooding during the rainy season, making them impassable. Bushfires are another environmental element to know about, as is wildlife. Always be skeptical of bounding kangaroos and drifting cows, which may cross into your path. Call ahead to local visitor centers along your path to check current road conditions and inquire about potential hazards, and consider installing gps navigation for your car.
3. Check for land licenses
Many tracks pass through private and Aboriginal land holdings, so it is important to get all necessary licenses before your trip to avoid legal complications along the way. You also need to call local police stations at the beginning and end of your trek to make them aware of your planned travel itinerary. This helps them track thru-traffic and ensures that your celebration is accounted for in the event that you need emergency assistance.
4. Enjoy the privacy–with a buddy
No matter your level of experience, it is always great to travel with another vehicle. Tracks are always changing, so even if you are familiar with a path, you cannot know when an unexpected obstacle may emerge. While driving in a convoy is safest, 3-4 vehicles ought to be the maximum. Tracks can become cramped, and massive convoys can make it hard for other vehicles to pass by, particularly if there is only one lane.
It is important (especially for beginners) to completely understand the dangers of off-roading and be realistic about your own personal ability level. John says “It is fantastic to evaluate your experience in your own mind before going out and think about taking a training class first. Remember, there is a big difference between driving a Commodore and a Land Rover.” Off-road driving requires a specific skillset that driving on a street won’t prepare you for. Taking a course will also make certain that you understand how to reduce unnecessary wear and tear on your car or truck and avoid extra fuel consumption.
6. Consider Your Organization
You might wish to think about how busy the trail may be for your planned trip, because odds are good that you will not be the only one out there who is researched the ideal time of year to travel.
7. Mind the hills
Never drive over a hill before first checking to see precisely what is on the opposite side. You never know when a seemingly benign incline may have a sudden drop-off, dip or other barrier just over the crest. Also be careful of oncoming vehicles, especially if it is a single-lane track. Sound a warning horn, flick in your headlights, fly a flag on the front of your car or truck and stay alert when confronted with a mountain or dune, or if visibility may be limited.
8. Strategy water courses with care
River crossings are a favorite challenge for some, but even shallow flows should be approached with care. While most 4WD vehicles can go through water 60cm deep without specific preparations, concealed depressions, sand or strong currents can cause unforeseen complications. Hop out before crossing and see if you’re able to get across yourself first. If you cannot swim it, definitely do not try to push it. Spray your vehicle’s electrical components with a water repellent and in case you have got manual windows, then roll them down before crossing. Do not try river crossings during the night and remember to enable your brakes to wash out later.
9. Driving on sand is a special ability
Driving through sand presents a special set of challenges. Fixing your tyre pressure is vital throughout the length of your trip–irrespective of the terrain–and it’s very crucial on sand. The recommended pressure is 140kPa to start with, but this will change based upon the weight of your load in addition to the stability of the sand. Try to remain on existing tyre tracks, since the sand is very likely to be milder here. When descending a dune, keep the nose of your vehicle pointed directly back while maintaining a controlled rate, and avoid braking. Also bring along some ironman 4×4 accessories for your trip, as they will help in times of need, especially in the sand!
10. Getting bumped on corrugated 4WD track
You ARE sure to encounter corrugated track, which can make your trip uneasy if not managed correctly. If your tyres are over-inflated, this will accentuate the ruts, sending you bouncing off your chair while your car or truck endures unnecessary stress. While driving too quickly can be dangerous, it is also important not to go too slowly (unless needed). The objective is to ‘float’ over the corrugations, which can normally be done at a rate of 80kmh in great conditions. Well-maintained shock absorbers will also keep the ride smooth, and ironman 4×4 equipment can also help keep the ride smooth and maintained.