If your licence is in a language other than English I recommend that you obtain an
international driving licence before leaving home. You will need to show your national
driving licence so don't forget to bring it with you.
Driving in the more settled parts of Australia is little different from other developed
countries. The same can't be said for outback driving - (see Outback, above).
If you come from a country that drives on the right, remain acutely aware that we
drive on the left. One of my hostel guests died in a head-on collision when he strayed
onto the wrong side of the road just north of Townsville. Another was killed when he
looked the wrong way when stepping off the pavement (sidewalk). Be particularly
careful when approaching roundabouts. Go round in a clockwise direction. It's
appallingly easy to get it wrong as I know from driving in Europe.
Passengers and drivers must wear seatbelts and small children must be secured in
safety seats appropriate to their size . It is an offence to leave small children
unattended in a vehicle.
Most intersections are regulated by Stop and Yield signs. Where there are no signs,
the driver on your right has right of way except at T-intersections. At these, the driver
who is proceeding straight on has right of way.
When you leave the bitumen (tarmac) and drive on dirt roads, you won't see many
road signs so bear these rules in mind. In country areas you may come across railway
crossings without gates. Make sure you stop when the warning lights show red or you
may add to an alarming list of casualties.
Finally, don't forget to lookout for wildlife . Kangaroos and other jumping creatures
are most at risk (together with any vehicle that hits them). You are most likely to
encounter them at dusk and night time.
Many country people fit their vehicles with bull bars (also known as roo bars). I
fitted them to mine after I hit a feral pig. The porker rolled over a fe w times and ran off.
My radiator was wrecked and I had to be towed. The accident happened in town. It
would have been very expensive if it had occurred in a remote area.
12 Travel Hazards
You get used to where you live and know how to cope with familiar problems.
You become "street wise". When you move to another environment, you meet
different hazards. It's best not to learn by experience. I'll confine my remarks to
hazards that are peculiar to Australia and similar countries.
Heat Exhaustion: The technical term is hyperthermia, which is often confused with
hypothermia. The first refers to the body having too much heat. The other is the exact
opposite. Here, I'm talking about too much heat. The problem comes on quickly and