4 Wheel Drive Safety.

Like everywhere else, safety comes first especially when taking your 4 wheel drive off road.

If you are new to 4x4, get to know your car well on the bitumen before you get on to the beach or take it off road.

Before you go.

In Australia you drive on dirt tracks where you might be the only person for days or even weeks, so help could be quite a while away. In the summer time

it is common for temperatures to reach around the 40 degrees Celsius in some remote areas, especially if you travel inland.

Camping in outback Australia.

Camp in the outback.

If you car breaks down, gets bogged, you have an accident or hurt yourself, you could be in a world of trouble. Preparation is crucial to any trip, ensuring you have the basics on board such as food and water.
Even in a small state forest surrounded by civilization, people have gotten lost and had to spend the night unprepared with no water, food & warm clothes.

Here are some basic tips, what to do and what to bring if you go outback, bush or off roading.

Travel in convoy.

  • A first aid kit should be considered the most important item to bring(I carry a 4WD first aid kit from St John’s), remember you are out in the middle of nowhere and can’t just rush to the hospital to get professional medical help, it may take hours by flying doctors or days by driving. So for your own and your family’s sake make sure a first aid kit is kept in your vehicle.

  • For remote outback travelling, the number one device will have to be a satellite distress beacon, this is a small electronic device that can be manually activated in a life-threatening situation to transmit an emergency signal to search and rescue (SAR) authorities. For more information about the satellite distress beacon see here.

  • Tell friends or family where you are going and when you expect to be back, and remember to let them know when you are back. That way someone will know where to start looking if you go missing or have an accident.

  • Your mobile phone can come in handy, but remember that in most cases there may not be any coverage in the area where you are going. And remember if you are using the mobile phone as navigation, NO SIGNAL means NO GOOGLE Maps.

  • Bring plenty of water, there are a few ways you can carry water or even install a water tank inside or outside your 4 wheel drive. Always allow more than what you think you need just in case, and try not to store all your water in one place. It's also a good idea to bring along a hose for topping up your water.

  • Always have a couple of blankets stored away in your car if for some reason you will have to stay overnight in the bush. Emergency blankets when folded are so small that they easily fit in your first aid kit.

  • Bring extra food, just for emergencies, enough for a couple of days, just in case you should get lost or your 4 wheel drive breaks down. Tin food is good as it has a lengthy expiry date.
    Even on small day trips it could come in handy, especially with kids on board.

  • If an emergency occurs, and someone knows your whereabouts, stay near your 4 wheel drive. Your car is more likely to be found than you. Often you will hear stories about someone going missing and their car is found but the person is not found until days later.

  • Have a shovel in your 4 wheel drive, one day it will come in handy getting you or your mate unstuck and if you are camping it will also come in handy at the camp site.

  • An Air Compressor is a must if you are off road, it’s not just on sand or on the beach you need lower PSI. If Remote or outback travelling it's very wise to be carrying more than one spare wheel and spare parts for the vehicle. A tool box with assorted automotive nuts and bolts, cable ties etc. could be a life saver.

  • If you do a lot of off road driving it may be a good idea to invest in an off road GPS. But knowing how to read a map is more important, as a GPS can malfunction (it does happen). HEMA & VMS do good off road GPS's but there are some cheaper ones on Ebay.

  • A UHF or CB radio really is a must especially if several cars drive together. You can always start up with a handheld, these are quite easy on the budget.

  • Use only rated recovery gear and have a nominated person control and direct the recovery (best to use the most experienced person) having 4 people all with different ideas is just not practical.

     So when you have prepared you 4 wheel drive and loaded it, gather your family or friends and get out and have some fun.

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