Safe driving practices in remote Australia
While driving a truck in built up metropolitan areas undoubtedly has challenges, driving in remote regional Australia is a completely different ball game. The challenges are different and the risks are considerably higher. In this blog we look at some safety practices everyone driving on outback roads should follow.
Make a plan and keep to it
At Rentco we recommend that drivers make detailed trip plans and lodge them with their supervisor or employer before they set off. This ensures that someone is aware of your planned route and timetable at all times. We strongly recommend that drivers pre-arrange a contact schedule to call a nominated person, and keep to it. If a pre-set time is missed and the driver can’t be contacted there should be a procedure in place to alert emergency services at the drivers last known position. Factor in rest breaks and comfort stops to avoid driver fatigue.
Prepare for emergencies
While no one expects to experience an accident or emergency situation, knowing what to do in the event can be a life saver. In an emergency, water, shelter, warmth and food are the basic requirements to sustain life if you are stranded. In parts of northern Australia weather can range from extreme heat during the day dropping to below freezing at night. It’s vital that you take adequate supplies of water, non-perishable food, suitable clothing and a sleeping bag so that you can survive until rescue services can get to you.
Take the right technology
The distance between towns or truck stops can be hundreds of kilometres in regional Australia. While mobile phone coverage has improved, it’s important to check with your service provider to find out where you can get a signal. A satellite phone and long range two-way is often the only way to communicate when you’re on the road. We recommend you take location equipment with you such as global positioning system (GPS), emergency position indicating radio beacon and maps for the area you’re travelling, make sure you know how to operate equipment in an emergency. Take essential spare parts, tools and recovery equipment, and know how to use them.
Take safety seriously
Everyone driving in remote Australia should be trained in how to administer first aid. It’s the driver’s responsibility to check there is a suitable first aid kit on board and that it has the appropriate items. In the event of a breakdown, always stay with the vehicle. It can provide shelter, allow you to conserve energy and it’s easier for emergency services to find a vehicle than a person. Save the Rentco 24/7 national breakdown support service number in your phone and keep a list of emergency phone numbers for the area you’re travelling in.
Keep an eye on weather and road conditions
Always check weather forecasts before you setting off and update yourself when you can. If necessary, change your plans or delay the trip and advise your contact person of the change of plan. Phone ahead to regional police stations for advice on road conditions, especially if there is a flood or fire risk. Always comply with instructions from emergency services and never drive through floods or thick smoke.