Learn about additional safety tips and hints before commencing your DriveWA adventure...
- Maintaining awareness of drought conditions where they exist.
- Washing clothes, dishes and sweaty bodies in a bucket or basin, not in the water supply itself – humans and surrounding wildlife may use the water as a source of sustenance.
- Do not camp right beside watering points, as wildlife may be scared away by the presence of a group of people and a vehicle; preventing them from utilising the water source.
- If you must camp in the vicinity, keep at least 200m away and stay well off the paths that animals have worn as they come in to drink.
- Much the same applies if you drive up to a bore or dam and find the stock having a drink. Stay well back until they've finished, then you may approach for your share.
- Remember at all times that this isolated pool, or trough, might be the only water in a radius of 30km or more, so it is very precious.
Etiquette and Gates
The golden rule with any gate is to leave it as you found it. Even if a sign by an open gate says to keep it closed, follow this rule. It may have been left open for any number of reasons; such as to let stock through to water.
If you're driving in a convoy, it's accepted that the first person will open the gate and the last one will shut it. However, if there is a significant gap in the convoy, you should shut the gate to protect stock. Remember this is someone else’s livelihood, and you may affect an animal's life.
Etiquette and Floods
A times, the outback receives a large quantity of annual rainfall within a few days. Unsealed roads and tracks can become very slippery and boggy.
The correct thing to do in this event is either to get out before the rain soaks in, or to stay put on high ground until the surface dries out. To do otherwise may see your vehicle damage the road surface.This is another reason to carry plenty of extra stores on an outback trip.
If a road is officially closed because of heavy rain, you can be fined for travelling on it (Fines can be up to $1000 per wheel!).
Etiquette and Fire
The outback regularly experiences drought, during which time many grasses dry off to form standing hay. This, along with the surrounding foliage, carries the stock through to the next rains.
Under extreme weather conditions, a careless camper can start a bushfire that might destroy the vegetation over many hundreds of square kilometres of grazing land.
To avoid being responsible for such a disaster, don’t build a fire up until it is too big to control. Always clear at least 8 metres around any fire you build. Also, make absolutely sure the fire is extinguished, and will not flare up in strong winds after you have gone.
If you are driving in Spinifex country, you must regularly check under the car to ensure that dry grass is not getting stuck under the engine; where it can ignite from the heat of the motor. Make sure you carry a long metal hook to allow you to pull the grass out from beneath your vehicle. In addition, carry full water bottles in case you need to spray out a few flames.
Finally, less flammable diesel is a better fuel than petrol for vehicles going into these areas.