Sand Track Driving
When travelling down single-lane tracks the general adopted rule is the largest convoy has right of way, makes sense that one or two vehicles move off the track to let the larger group through and is obviously better for the environment as less the fauna that can be impacted the better.
Always make sure to let those who have pulled off the track know, the number of vehicles behind you and the make and colour of the last 4WD in your group, then have the tail end (Charlie) let them know that they are last in the convoy.
Install a Sand flag so others can see you coming, yet just because you have a Sand flag on your 4WD does not give you free rein to fly through the tracks as fast as you can.
When meeting others over steep terrain, where possible allow the vehicles travelling uphill to have right of way as it is generally easier to move away downhill. When I’m leading convoys through some of the more popular spots I am waiting for someone to come flying over the hill so always work on a worst-case scenario that there is already someone coming over that crest or around that corner.
Bush, Beach and Sand Dune Driving
Where possible allow a larger group right of way and take the easier path and whenever parking on the beach be mindful of others and park up where it won’t hinder those driving through.
Be considerate of those parked up and slow down when passing others as speeding past within metres of others is dangerous and foolish.
If you find a group using obstacles on the tracks, be polite and wait your turn, or ask their plans to get a gauge of their ETA to move on. If you are in the group already on an obstacle remember the tracks don’t belong to you, everyone has the right to use them so do your best to allow everyone fun in the sun.
On steep terrain have one of your group stand up top and notify anyone coming the other way of your plans and when it is clear to come through.
UHF Radio – Travel Communications
Radio communications are also where we need to be mindful of others and if the channel is being used by a larger group nearby then change channels or keep your radio comms short. Be careful with bad language as families may be on the channel. UHF radios are 80 channels nowadays so there is plenty of free airtime out there.
Leave nothing but a footprint and take nothing more than a photograph. The scenery is as much part of the enjoyment as the drive so keep your rubbish with you. I’ve been to remote spots in the middle of nowhere and had to clean up after others, please do not damage the beauty for everyone.
Off-Road Convoy Camping
Try to leave any campfires as neat as possible and where possible light campfires where others already have, because campfire scars look unsightly dotted all over the bush.
When camping, do not camp on top of others and have your 40000-decibel radio cranking out meatloaf and the Genset grinding away next to ma and pa kettle, even something as simple as using the silent feature on your car alarm to stop them beeping at snore o’clock.
We can all do our bit to keep the outback a pleasant place, so be courteous both on and off-road.
Until next time, please stay safe out there,
– Pete Deas