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Safe driving tips

Country driving

Prepare for the trip, most of all, prepare yourself!

Plan the route

When planning the route, consider:

  • distance
  • type and condition of the roads
  • volume of traffic to expect
  • location of towns, rest areas and other services (eg service stations and motels)
  • weather and its effect on driving conditions
  • number of bridge and creek crossings
  • scenery and places of interest
  • speed limits (100km/h in SA unless signs indicate otherwise).

Rest areas are provided at regular intervals on major sealed rural arterial roads throughout the State.

Plan your travel time

Plan your travel to ensure you:

  • include a break or rest stop every 2 hours
  • avoid driving for more than 8-10 hours a day
  • have a good night's sleep before driving, so you can start fresh
  • start your trip early in the day, and avoid driving during the night, or straight after you finish work
  • avoid driving at times when you are usually asleep.

Prepare the car

Consider carrying the following items:

  • first aid kit (ask your local ambulance centre for advice)
  • torch and spare batteries
  • reflective triangles
  • small tool kit containing pliers, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, fuses and bulbs, spare fan belt and top and bottom radiator hoses
  • fire extinguisher (if in doubt, check with your local fire service to ensure it meets Australian Standards)
  • jumper leads, tow rope and tyre pump
  • tyre pressure gauge.

Check fuel, oil, water and tyres beforehand to avoid having to stop soon after you depart. Make sure your tyres, including the spare, have the proper inflation pressure and that there is plenty of tread.

If you are towing a caravan or trailer, pay special attention to the condition of the tyres. Tyres which are only used once or twice a year can become brittle and prone to blowouts/punctures. Check the tread and the sidewalls to ensure they are in sound condition.

Driving safely on outback roads

Driving on outback roads in South Australia can be hazardous under certain conditions.

People who are at a higher risk of being involved in a road crash on unsealed roads include:

  • inexperienced drivers who are unfamiliar with the continually changing conditions on unsealed roads and do not perceive the associated risks; and
  • those who use outback roads as a race track to challenge their driving or riding skills.

There are also specific events throughout the year which result in an increase in traffic on these roads and therefore an increase in the risk of crashes.

Drivers and riders on unsealed roads are advised to refer to Section 2.3.6 in the Speed Limit Guideline for South Australia (PDF, 2653 KB).

Here are some important driving tips to get you safely to your destination and home again.

Unsealed roads can pose unexpected hazards

Unsealed road conditions are ever changing – the road surface and visibility may be affected by other road users and roadworks, so always drive to the conditions.

And keep an eye out for wildlife – they don’t obey the road rules!

Slow down around road workers

Roadwork signs alert you that works ahead may change the surface conditions or visibility – however keep in mind that these roadworks may not be immediately visible at the signs.

Be safe, always follow Road Traffic Management signage – speed restrictions and other traffic management are in place to keep you and the crews safe.

Slippery road surfaces

Unsealed outback roads can be treacherous after heavy rains. If the road is wet, slow down. Roads may become impassable due to localised flooding.

Newly repaired roads can also remain wet and slippery for some time before drying out.

Unsealed roads and highways are no place for racing

Outback roads are no place for racing – always drive to the road conditions ahead.

For the latest outback road condition information, visit the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s Outback Roads Report.

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