One of the benefits of buying an off-road vehicle is being able to go off road. Many Aussies love a tree-change – even if just for the weekend. With an abundance of national forests, 4WD beaches and rugged outback terrain, who wouldn’t want to jump behind the wheel and enjoy the landscape that Australia has to offer.
Our wide open spaces though are not an invitation to abandon driver courtesy.
In 2014, 40% of 4WD and SUV owners surveyed by Canstar Blue said they had experienced a road rage incident. And while 93% of drivers said they believed they were a good driver, 21% admitted to regularly speeding and 66% said they frequently got frustrated by other road users.
If you’re heading off for an outback adventure, here are some 4WD driving etiquette tips to help you stay safe and happy on or off the beaten track.
Let people overtake you, and no tailgating
Bush roads often don’t have posted sign limits, so it’s up to what your vehicle can safely handle. If a vehicle catches up to you, pull over at a safe spot and let them overtake you.
If you’re the one following behind, leave enough space for the first fellow to get up the hill before you try to overtake. Tailgating is just as dangerous in the bush as in the city.
Going up has right of way
On steep, narrow roads those who are travelling up have right of way. It is usually easier for those travelling down to pull over safely without over-revving.
If you’re not sure whether you can make it up a hill, wait until the others in your convoy have passed you before trying to get up it yourself. That way, if you get stuck, there’s already someone at the top to tow you up the rest of the way.
Be prepared to recover, and be prepared to recover others
Go prepared when you go off-road, so that you aren’t a burden to others. Take a spare tyre, extra fuel, food and water with you. In order to help out others, you should carry the basic recovery equipment (snatch strap, towbar, etc.) and know how to use it.
Look out for pedestrians
It may seem basic, but waiting for people to have time to pack up and get out of the way of your truck is important. Don’t cross a river while people are fishing. On dusty trails, slow down as you pass people so you don’t spray dust over them, which is very dangerous if it gets in their eyes.
Leave campgrounds clean, and always put out your fire
Leave your campground as clean or cleaner than you found it. Always put out your campfire.
The tips are all common sense, but sometimes they’re easy to forget in the moment.