How to stay safe
- Arrange an international driver permit or translation of your licence to English from an approved service. (Note: Any restrictions or conditions on your licence will continue to apply)
- Be sure to pack your documents along with your original driver's licence
- Plan to spend your first night in your arrival city to ensure you don't drive tired
- The country is larger than it seams. Plan to drive 1-2 hours at a time to stretch your legs, take some photos, or enjoy a bite to eat with the locals. (Discover a new adventure)
Driving Must Do's
Top 10 Safety Tips
1- Keep LEFT!
We drive on the left. That means the centre line is always on the right side of the car. On motorways slower, traffic should always use the far left lane.
2- Dont Speed & Drive Safely
On the open road, the maximum speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour. In cities and towns, the maximum is 50 kilometres per hour. Be sure to watch out regularly for changing requirements such as school zones. Always slow down to observe recommended speeds around bends. (otherwise, you may hit someone driving in the opposite direction). Overtaking other vehicles is allowed only when it’s safe to do so. Use passing lanes whenever possible, and never cross a solid line on your side of the centre line. Drive to the conditions. (Slowing during rain, ice or snow, wind, roadwork areas & in School zone.) our country has speed cameras to ensure safety and you may get a hefty fine if you breach the law.
3- Follow the Signs
Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs. (view our common signs)
- NO STANDING. What it means is you can't stop in the area indicated except to let a passenger get in or off a vehicle, and you certainly can't park there.
- NO STOPPING. Except in the event of medical emergencies, don't stop in the area indicated.
- NO PARKING. Just what it means. You can unload and unload passengers but shouldn't leave your vehicle parked there.
- BUS/TAXI ZONE. This is a restricted zone with use only for buses, Taxis.
- LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE. If you're driving a truck, ute, van or wagon, you're allowed to park here if you're delivering or picking up some sort of cargo. If you're driving a passenger car, you may have to explain what you're loading or unloading.
4- Wear your seatbelt
Always wear your seat belt. (including children in an approved child seat)
5- Give way to Emergency Services
Always give way to Buses & Emergency Services. It commonplace for all vehicles to pull over when hearing &/or seeing sirens of emergency services in their rearview mirror.
6- Prepare for diferent weather conditions
- Reduce speed – Reduce speed in bad weather as your recovery time is better if something goes wrong.
- Fog - If you see fog and mist ahead reduce speed before you enter it. In very thick fog make sure you always know where you are on the road and never drive at a speed that forces you to guess what is ahead. Avoid overtaking.
- Rain - Heavy rain can have the same effect as fog with less visibility making it harder to judge where you are on the road in relation to other vehicles.
- Ice - Drive slowly on ice and snow to retain traction. Braking should be gentle and not left to the last second, and use an even pressure on the accelerator to lessen the chances of wheel spin and loss of control.
- Sun glare - Beware of blinding glare from sunlight either directly from the sun or reflected from other cars and objects. You may need to reduce speed as well as use aids such as the sun visor and sunglasses.
- Hazard lights - Turn these on in hazardous weather conditions where visibility is reduced.
7- Your phone can wait
Being distracted increases your chances of having an accident on the road.
A driver must not while driving a vehicle:
- use a mobile phone to make, receive, or terminate a telephone call.
- use a mobile phone to create, send, or read a text message.
- use a mobile phone to create, send, or read an email.
- use a mobile phone to create, send, or view a video message.
Note: It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over at a rest area or in a safe place. If you need more information, please feel free to contact the local transport authority.
8- Plan your breaks & Journey
- Rest - Stay well-rested. (driving 1-2 hours at a time)
- Use this Driving Time and Distance Calculator or GPS to estimate driving times while planning your journey. Driving in New Zealand can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads. There may also be closures so be sure to see if you are in the clear(check out the https://www.aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator/)https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz
- Take your time. Make sure that you and your vehicle are safe before starting your journey.
- Plan ahead. Plan your travel to avoid the worst peak traffic periods when many highways become congested
- Get a good night's sleep before driving, preferably eight hours.
- Avoid driving during the hours when you are normally sleeping. For most people, this will be between 10pm and 6am.
- If you normally have a mid-afternoon nap, then you should avoid driving at that time.
- Make sure that following a period of sleep you are fully awake before driving.
- Don't drink even small amounts of alcohol. It will make the effects of fatigue much worse.
- When taking long trips, plan your journey to include rest breaks.
- Share the driving if possible.
- Snack on light, fresh foods. Avoid consuming fatty, sugary or carbohydrate-filled foods, which can make you tired.
- Recognise the warning signs such as:
· having trouble focusing, keeping your eyes open or holding your head up
· daydreaming, wandering or disconnected thoughts, loss of memory
· yawning or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
· drifting from your lane, tailgating and missing signs or exits
· feeling restless and irritable.
· Stop to revive, then drive
· During long trips, take rest breaks about every two hours or every 100 kilometres.
· If you start feeling sleepy:
o don't keep driving – pull over immediately in a safe place (as far off the road as possible)
o move to the passenger seat and take a 15–20 minute power nap. A short sleep is very refreshing – try not to nap for a period longer than 40 minutes otherwise you may feel groggy and disoriented when you wake up and for quite some time afterwards (this is called sleep inertia)
o wait at least 10 minutes to make sure that you are completely awake before you start driving again.
If you still feel sleepy don't drive, find a place to sleep for an extended period or for the night.
- Be alert. There are more vehicles on the road in summer – more vehicles means a higher risk of crashes.
- Let others pass. If you’re driving a campervan or motorhome and you have traffic backed up behind you, pull over as soon as you can safely do so to let other vehicles pass.
- Watch for fatigue. Plan to get enough rest beforehand so that you drive fresh. You should plan in advance where you’ll take breaks on your trip.
- In winter (June to August) be prepared for snow and carry tyre chains that you know how to fit and use.
- Drive at a safe travelling distance as it takes longer to stop on slippery roads.
- Avoid sudden braking or turning that could cause you to skid.
- Always check the weather forecast and road conditions before you leave.
- In case of emergency, contact Police, Fire or Ambulance by dialling 111.
- Remember, it’s easy to underestimate New Zealand driving times. Take plenty of breaks and give yourself additional travel time to rest and stretch your legs. Check out our suggested itineraries for journey inspiration.
- Keep your eye on the weather conditions before each journey so you can drive to the conditions. Allow for extra New Zealand driving times where needed.
9- DO NOT DRINK
Do not drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
10- Give way
All traffic turning right must give way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction and turning left. At an uncontrolled intersection, all traffic from the terminating road (bottom of the ‘T’) will have to give way to all traffic on a continuing road (top of the ‘T’).
Basically, left turning vehicles have right-of-way unless a road sign is present to indicate otherwise.
Learn more about the Give Way rules by visiting the local transport authority.The following pages contain very important information:
If you encounter a roundabout and are from a country that doesn't have many of them, here's a quick guide:
Give way. Give way to vehicles already on the roundabout: enter the intersection only when there is no risk of collision with a car coming from your right on the roundabout. On most roundabouts, this effectively means that you give way to cars coming from your right, cars coming from the opposite direction and turning right, and cars on your left going all the way around the roundabout.
Indicate. When two roads cross at a small roundabout, indicate left to go left, right to go right, and do not indicate if going straight. On a larger roundabout with more exits, don't indicate left until you are taking the next exit.
Select your lane. On multiple lane roundabouts, arrows will usually be on the road indicating which lane you should choose to go which direction. Otherwise, just take the left lane to go left, right lane to go right, and either lane to go straight. Bicycles may stay in the left lane and go right, but if they choose to do this, they must give way to vehicles in the right lane exiting.
Find more Info on ......https://www.drivesafe.org.nz/
Most of the signs you will see on the roads are symbolic signs. This means they use shapes and symbols as traffic signs as opposed to providing english insutructions. Symbolic signs are used because they are quick to read and easy for all drivers to understand. Here are the main symbolic signs that are unique to Australia.
Helpful Holiday Tips
Sunscreen(Slip, Slop, Slap)
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This is largely due to our proximity to the equator, a largely fair-skinned population, and our love of the great outdoors. Fortunately, being SunSmart is a simple way to reduce your risk of
developing skin cancer. Cancer Council recommends a five-step approach to sun protection when the UV Index is 3 or above.
The top 5 suggestions from the cancer council are to:
- Slip on sun protective clothing
- Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on wrap-around sunglasses
Staying safe at the Beach
Keep safe by following these tips:
- Never swiey the signs.
- Don't swim directly after a meal.
- Don't swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Always check the depth of the water.
- Never run or dive into the water. Even if you have checked the depth, water conditions can change.
- If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, by holding up one arm and waving, float and wait for assistance.
- Be sun smart: slip, slop, slap, seek, slide. Slip on a shirt, slop on 30+ sunscreen, slap on a brimmed hat, seek shade, slide on sunglasses. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming.
- Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it.
- Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin. Leave nothing but footprints.
- Keep out of dunes and fenced areas. They are there to preserve the beach environment.
- Always swim at beaches with patrolling lifesavers or lifeguards. The Beachsafe App can find your closest patrolled beach.
BE SAFE AT PATROLLED BEACHES
The safest beaches are those patrolled by surf lifesavers or lifeguards. They are trained in beach and water safety, and have equipment handy to help you if you get in trouble.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags - this is the area that surf lifesavers are watching and can respond to quicker than other areas.
- If caught in a rip, or if you get in to any trouble in the water, do not panic. Float and raise one arm for help.
- Look for the patrol shelters - this is where surf lifesavers will be set up and patrolling the beach from
- All South Australian surf lifesavers wear a distinctive red and yellow uniform, making them even easier to spot.
SAFETY AT NON-PATROLLED BEACHES
South Australia has many beautiful beaches - especially regionally - and lifesavers cannot be everywhere at all times! Even at beaches with a surf lifesaving club, patrols do not operate 24/7. If you find yourself at a beach without any patrols, these tips will help keep you safe.
Don't dash into the water straight away when you arrive. Take five minutes when to scope out the local conditions and familiarise yourself with any safety signs.
- Know your own limits as a beach user, be it swimming, surfing, or anything else.
- Learn how to identify rip currents, in-shore holes and other danger areas. A rip can be recognised by sand coloured or rippled water running out to sea when the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.
- Make sure you swim with others supervising who are capable of assisting you if you get into difficulty.
- Ensure someone in your group has CPR or First Aid training.
- Know how to call emergency services for help - if you are at a remote beach, do you have mobile service?
- Seek the advice of locals, surfers and others in remote or unfamiliar locations - in many instances they will be able to advise you of any concerns.
- Check for any signs or warnings.
- Check any local news, bulletin boards or social media for warnings.
- If in doubt, stay out.
· SWIM BETWEEN THE RED AND YELLOW FLAGS
When you see red and yellow flags on a beach, it indicates that there is currently a lifesaving service operating on that beach. The lifeguards have chosen a section of the beach that is best for swimming and they will closely supervise this area. Lifeguards pay more attention to the area between the red and yellow flags than any other part of the beach.
· READ THE SAFETY SIGNS
Before you go on to the beach be sure to read the safety signs. This will ensure you are aware of any warnings or dangers on the beach. You can also find other helpful information to make your day at the beach more enjoyable. You might also find single signs placed on the beach to highlight specific warnings.
· ASK A LIFEGUARD FOR SAFETY ADVICE
Lifeguards are highly trained and very knowledgeable about beach safety and conditions. When you arrive at the beach look for and identify the lifeguards. Feel free to ask them about the day’s conditions, as well any additional beach safety advice they might have for that specific beach – because every beach is different.
· SWIM WITH A FRIEND
Not only is swimming with a friend (or family member) a fun way to enjoy the beach, it is also very sensible. While you are swimming together you can keep an eye out for each other, and if further assistance is required, one person could call or go for help. If everyone swimming together knows their own limits it is a good idea to share this with those around you so you can all stay within everyone’s comfortable limits.
· IF YOU NEED HELP, STAY CALM AND ATTRACT ATTENTION
Even the most careful people can find themselves out of their limits in the water. If you are not feeling comfortable in the water and you require a lifeguard’s assistance to get back to shore, stay calm, raise your arm in the air and wave it from side to side. This will attract the attention of a lifeguard who will be able to come to your assistance. You should conserve your energy by floating on your back and staying calm. This will ensure you have the energy to remain afloat until further aid arrives.
· If you have never been to australia, it is preferred to swim up to you waste
· don't swim in your full clothes. weighed down
Find out more on the beachsafe (https://beachsafe.org.au/)
Preparing for long journey
- Get good maps to prepare your itinerary, and take them with you (The maps and the itinerary).
Hema offers a wide range of Outback maps and road atlases. Click here for Hema maps and roadatlases.
- Don't make your schedule too tight. Allow yourself a few extra days, just in case somethings happens. A day of heavy rain, even 200 kms ahead of you, can cause a flash flood and road closure for a day or two. When this happens, sit back, relax, and explore the area where you are stuck. In the Australian sun it usually doesn't take long for a road to dry out.
- Avoid driving anywhere outside towns & cities in the dark. Kangaroos and emus love jumping across the roads, you won't see them in time at night. Arrive at your destination before dusk, and enjoy the stunning sunsets in the Outback.
- When you're going to very remote areas, give a reliable friend or family member your itinerary. Arrange with them intervals on which you're going to call them. If they don't hear from you they can hit the alarm button (alert authorities to search for you). See the communication section below.
- Always seek advice about road conditions and check the weather report before you head out on tracks. Ask at roadhouses, police station and fellow travellers about the situation on a track. Click here for a list of useful phone numbers.
- Do not drive on closed roads. There is always a reason (usually rain) when a track is closed. Driving on wet, unsealed road increases the risk of an accident. Plus, the fines are heavy when you get caught on a closed road.
- Permits - Always check if you need a permit for Aboriginal lands, or a pass for national & conservation parks.
Important Outback safety rules
- Emergency supplies - It is needless to say that you always need to carry enough water, the hotter it is, the more water you need.
4 to 5 litres per person and day is recommended, plus an extra amount for 4 days.
Take also some non-perishable foods with you that will keep you going when your trip is delayed for some reason.
- When you have troubles with your car, never ever leave your vehicle. Sooner or later someone will come along who can either fix the problem or will notify a rescue service at the next town.
- Bush fires happen every year in Australia. Don't be the fool who starts one. In hot and windy weather be extremely careful with open fire, even with your cigarettes. On total fire ban days it is not even allowed to use a gas stove outside.
Fire bans apply in many regions from November to February, or March. Please get information from the media and the locals. Don't go bush-walking on days of high fire risk, it might be too hot anyway.
- Australian wildlife - Yeah, there are a few critters in Australia that could harm you. Be informed, use common sense, and you don't need to worry about dangerous Australian animals.
You can't rely on your mobile phone in the bush. The phone might work in small country towns, but hardly ever when you travel on remote tracks. So what will work out there?
Once you have settled your itinerary you know when you will arrive in small bush towns, at a road house to get fuel, or at caravan parks. In these places there is always access to a public phone (take some phone cards with you) to make your pre-arranged calls to family or friends. This is definitely the easiest and cheapest way to stay in contact!
But what about emergeny calls when you are travelling in remote areas?
- UHF CB (Citizens Band) Radio is useful when travelling in convoy. The range is usually 10 to 40 kms, depending on the terrain. Using repeater stations can extend the range. It is not the device to rely on in an emergency.
- Satellite Telephone are reliable, although they need a "line-of-sight". That means when you are surrounded by mountains, high trees, buildings etc, your phone might not connect with a satellite.
- High Frequency (HF) Radios work over far distances and are great to connect with a Flying Doctor base, other emergency services, and even with other travellers.
- Distress Beacons, also known as personal locator beacon, send a signal to international satellite system for search and rescue once they are activated. They should only be used in life-threatening situations. The downside of a beacon is that you can't talk with anyone for personal assistance. It also can take a while until a rescur team will reach you.
- Maps of the area - as detailed and as current as possible(power banks if using a phone & save your map(link to how to) be sure not to underestimate size of Australia
- A compass, matches and fire-lighter blocks
- Water: lots of it, if you are unsure - take more
- Food: enough for each person for two days
- Clothes: two changes of clothes, one for the heat, one for the cold
- Medicine: put together a kit with bandages, band-aids, antiseptic cream, sunblock, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, insect repellent, paracetamols, and anything else you feel you may need - which hopefully you won't need
- Tools: a complete set, especially a jack that works (and know how to work it); if going to the remote Outback, take two jacks and preferably two spare tyres (before you set out, make sure your spare tires are correctly inflated); spare globes, spare fan belt, spare fuses, and at least one big torch and a long-handled shovel.
- Radio: one that can pick up at least one station, to keep across changes in the weather
- For the remote outback, a 2-way HF radio with Flying Doctor and Telstra frequencies is essential. Mobile phone signal coverage is limited at best and generally non-existent, so you may want to think about renting a satellite phone
- A loud whistle.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen sunscreen. The sun down under isn’t like the norther hemisphere. Its a lot stronger and there are increase risks. Like skin cancer later on in life. If you do get burnt, Use aloe vera to ease the pain. (for those who have never been burnt before remember you may get tired)
The Australian Outback is a land of extreme heat. Especially in summer temperatures can go far over the 40°C (104 F) mark. Avoid travelling during the Aussie summer months, that is December, January, February. Apart from the heat, traffic on remote tracks will be next to nothing then. So you might have to wait a while for someone passing by when something goes wrong.
- Some destinations like the Simpson desert conservation park are closed in summer anyway.
- Remember that the northern parts of Australia have their wet season during summer. Many unsealed roads will be closed.
Autumn and spring are wonderful. Even winter has mild and sunny days in the inland, but the nights can be freezing cold, a fact to consider if you are camping. Check the Australian climate of your dream destination for the best time to visit.
Checking the weather
Checking the car
Check your tyre pressure each morning before you set off with your own pressure gauge, don't let air out of tyres as heat and pressure increase it. Also, you need to deflate tires when crossing sandhills or tackling sandy tracks.
Because you can have fuel pipe problems on rough terrain, take an extra 20-liter metal jerry can or two with you, plus a funnel for filling the tank, especially if you're visiting a remote area. Never carry spare fuel in plastic containers because they can crack, use metal jerry cans and mount the cans on the back of your vehicle or carry them on a trailer. Never carry fuel on roof racks or inside the vehicle.
Try to maintain a straight course rather than dodge every pothole and if the road is corrugated, try to 'ride' the ridges. Driving in sandy areas is hazardous at the best of times, so you should learn how to negotiate sand. Reduce your tyre pressure to 15psi to cope with the soft surface and remember to inflate them immediately once you hit harder ground. Carrying a 12v compressor for this job is a must.
Overtaking is a major hazard in the outback, visibility is often poor and the chances of a stone hitting and smashing your windscreen are very high. On gravel or earth roads, the dust thrown up from vehicles in front makes it almost impossible to see. Wait until the dust has settled and if you are in a dust storm pull over and wait until the storm is over. Road Trains are another major hazard, some are up to 50m long, 2.5m wide and travel around 90km/h, take this into consideration when you attempt to overtake them.
- Check the conditions of Outback roads before leaving the nearest major town
- Take care when driving 4WD vehicles, eg drive at reduced speeds on unsealed roads
- Note where petrol stations are en route
- Take frequent rest breaks and change drivers regularly
- Obey road closure signs and stick to the main roads
- Make sure you take a break every two hours, don't drive more than 8-10 hours a day and never drive after dark.
Outback weather conditions are harsh at the best of times. Dust storms, rainstorms and intense heat are fairly standard. Road conditions can change on an almost daily basis. Before you set out for your next destination check the conditions with the locals, the tourist information center, the police, rangers or even at the petrol station.
Other survival tips
If you are stranded for any reason the following may help:
- Rig a lean-to shelter and stay under it during the heat of the day
- Dig a hole under the car and place your water & food in to keep it cool, it will be cooler under there than in your car
- Build a small fire and have some green growth on hand to place on top to create thick smoke, keep it going day and night. This could attract the attention of planes, other vehicles or stockmen in the area
- Ration your food & water - you do not know how long it will have to last
- Use your rear vision mirror to signal passing planes by flashing it into the sun
- Keep your clothes on as they will protect you against exposure - cold and hot.
Finally, don't panic. A ground signal for motorists needing help is simple and the following two codes should be used:
- SOS - means that a motorist has a survival problem
- X - means that the motorist is unable to proceed.
How to Spot & Survive a Rip
How to Spot
Hindi - https://youtu.be/IxgsVGBPucQ
Malay - https://youtu.be/iT_-9eZV3sQ
Chinese - https://youtu.be/s-BZf_y4kO4
Korean - https://youtu.be/-3H-CvB1bKA
Hindi - https://youtu.be/Rek86qANJdg
Malay - https://youtu.be/azzCBw4GJ9A
Chinese - https://youtu.be/Zh0tL9nWCqo
Japanese – https://youtu.be/KLomJmKFI3k
Korean - https://youtu.be/t1977bytonc
What if someone needs Resuscitation
Our country recommended using a method called DRS ABCD action plan. The steps are as follows:
- Danger Ensure that the patient and everyone in the area is safe. Do not put yourself or others at risk. Remove the danger or the patient.
- Response Look for a response from the patient — loudly ask their name, squeeze their shoulder.
- Send for help If there is no response, phone triple zero (000) or ask another person to call. Do not leave the patient.
- Airway Check their mouth and throat is clear. Remove any obvious blockages in the mouth or nose, such as vomit, blood, food or loose teeth, then gently tilt their head back and lift their chin.
- Breathing Check if the person is breathing abnormally or not breathing at all after 10 seconds. If they are breathing normally, place them in the recovery position and stay with them.
- CPR If they are still not breathing normally, start CPR. Chest compressions are the most important part of CPR. Start chest compressions as soon as possible after calling for help.
- Defibrillation Attach an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the patient if one is available and there is someone else who is able to bring it. Do not get one yourself if that would mean leaving the patient alone.
Use the phrase “doctor’s ABCD” — DRS ABCD — to help you remember the first letter of each step
All beaches across the country with lifeguards as well as government and sports facilities should have a defibrillator present. Be sure to familiarise yourself with where your closest location will be. In popular locations, these devices will automatically detect if they are required to be used, it is suggested that you apply the patches(according to instructions provided) before making any actions and then continue with your CPR procedure.
Animals to avoid
- The Blue Ringed Octopus is a beautiful, but deadly creature. They can be extremely well camouflaged into the rocks, only displaying their blue rings when threatened. The bite is usually painless from a beak under the body of the octopus. Numbness of the lips and tongue may occur with weakness and breathing difficulty developing rapidly. Severe untreated bites may lead to death. Blue ringed octopus are commonly found in the shallow rock pools of the inter-tidal zone, hiding amongst the rocks all around Australia. You can avoid them by staying clear, and not disturbing these environments
- Crocodiles can be extremely dangerous, and we generally have a healthy fear of these creatures! They live in rivers, lakes and the ocean in Northern Australia. If you’re in an area that may have saltwater crocodiles, you should never swim in the area even if there are no warnings signs. You should only swim in designated safe swimming areas which are regularly checked and signposted.
- Sharks around Australia vary in size and shape. Most are harmless to humans. Although humans fear sharks, they are an important part of the ecosystem and a reality of the ocean. There are some very simple tips you can use to minimise your chances of encountering a shark at the beach:
- Box Jellyfish (Chironex) is a large, but almost transparent jellyfish with a box shaped bell which can be up to 30cm in diameter. It also has up to 15 tentacles that can extend up to 3m in length. Its sting causes severe burning skin pain, often with tentacles remaining in the stung area. Severe stings can cause respiratory distress and cardiac arrest.
- Irukandji is another dangerous stinger but is quite different in appearance to the box jellyfish. Irukandji have a small 1-2cm bell which is extremely difficult to see. They may appear in epidemic proportions close to shore, which presents a real hazard to swimmers. Irukandji cause an initial minor sting, followed 5-40 minutes later by severe generalised muscular pain, headache, vomiting and sweating. The sting by some species can also increase blood pressure which may become life threatening. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as Irukandji Syndrome.
· Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk
· Avoid swimming at river mouths or in murk, discoloured waters
· Avoid swimming in or around schools of baitfish
Did you know that on average at least 19 people drown while caught in rip currents each year? That is more people than are killed by sharks, cyclones and floods combined.
The tropical waters of Australia, north of Bundaberg in Queensland and in Geraldton in Western Australia, are home to some of the most dangerous marine stingers on Earth.
Tropical stingers have potent toxic stings which can cause serious illness and death in some cases.
HERE'S SOME TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF IN TROPICAL WATERS:
Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags, inside the stinger nets where provided.
Look for and obey the safety signage.
Don’t enter the water when beaches are closed.
Wear a full-body lycra suit to provide a good measure of protection, particularly during stinger season (generally November to March).
Ask a lifeguard for help and advice if you need it.
WHERE MIGHT YOU FIND DANGEROUS TROPICAL MARINE STINGERS?
Tropical marine stingers can be found across Northern Australia, down to around Bundaberg in Queensland and Broome in Western Australia.
WHAT KINDS OF STINGERS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS?
Australia’s waters are home to many interesting and fascinating creatures, including jellyfish, some of which can be the cause of painful stings! Although they are generally quite easy to avoid, they can cause discomfort if you are stung. The intensity and severity of a sting varies on a range of factors including type of stinger, location of the sting, and the health and fitness of the victim.
TOP SAFETY TIPS ABOUT NON-TROPICAL MARINE STINGERS:
Look for marine stinger signs at patrolled locations
Ask a lifeguard/lifesaver if marine stingers are present
Wash off any remaining tentacles or pick off with your fingers (they can’t usually sting through the tough skin on your fingers!)
Immerse the sting in hot water (no hotter than can be easily tolerated)
If local pain is not relieved or immersion facilities are not available, the application of cold packs or wrapped ice is also effective.
Refer to medical aid for further treatment if condition deteriorates.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON NON-TROPICAL STINGERS IN AUSTRALIA?
The bluebottle (physalia) is probably the most well known jellyfish around the Australian coastline. Their blue, balloon like sail sits above the water and is attached to a long tentacle extending below it. This tentacle is covered in stinging cells callednematocysts. When this touches the skin it reacts by injecting a small amount of a toxin which causes irritation and can be quite painful.
Another common jellyfish is the hair jelly (cyanea) which has a more classic ‘bell’ shaped body with many tentacles protruding underneath. They can also cause a painful sting.
Non-tropical stingers can be found all around Australia but are more commonly found south of Bundaberg in Queensland and south of Geraldton in Western Australia.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU GET STUNG BY A NON-TROPICAL STINGER?
FOR BLUEBOTTLE STINGS:
Wash off any remaining tentacles with seawater, or pick off with your fingers (they can’t usually sting through thetough skin on your fingers!)
Immerse the patient’s sting in hot water (no hotter than can be easily tolerated)
If local pain is not relieved or immersion facilities are not available, the application of cold packs or wrapped ice is also effective.
FOR OTHER NON-TROPICAL MINOR JELLYFISH STINGS:
Wash off remaining tentacles with seawater, or pick off with fingers.
Apply cold pack or wrapped ice for at least 10 minutes or until pain is relieved.
Refer to medical aid for further treatment if condition deteriorates.
A QUICK NOTE ON SOME THINGS THAT DON’T WORK FOR STINGS...
Lifeguards are often amused and entertained by the many strange and bizarre treatments people try to relieve the temporary pain of a non-tropical marine sting, such as;
Rubbing sand over the sting (it just gives you a rash around the sting)
Pouring soft drinks over the sting (just makes it sticky)
Pouring vinegar over the skin (is vitally important for TROPICAL marine stings, but not for non-tropical stings)
Urinating over the sting (it’s just gross, and doesn’t work anyway!)
Accidents & Roadside assistance
Australian Phone Number - 1800 648 058
New Zealand Phone Number - 0800 734 543
Note: You may be charged to use this service. Please contact Enterprise during business hours to confirm. (the numbers listed above are direct 24/7 phone numbers for the insurance providers)
In case of an accident involving injury or death to any person, the police and appropriate emergency response authorities must be contacted. Phone the Australian emergency number 000. The GSM standard emergency number 112 also works from any mobile phone. 112 will use any available network and will work even with an overseas GSM phone without roaming enabled. Emergency numbers from other countries (such as 911) do not work in Australia.
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident in which a person may have been injured or killed, or where there is serious property damage, is legally required to stop and render assistance. The penalties for leaving an accident scene can be severe (up to 10 years imprisonment), even if you are not at fault. You must contact appropriate emergency authorities, but you are not required to give first aid if you have not had training.
Persons rendering first aid in good faith in Australia are protected by law and are not at risk of legal action against them. If you can help at an accident scene, always do so.
Spotting Animals on the road
Australia is home to a number of large wildlife including emus, camels, horses, cattle, and kangaroos, which often wander onto the roads across the country—especially in rural areas and most of the Outback. When driving, scan the sides of the road and use caution when traveling through dense brush and rural areas. Also be ready to use your brakes and try to avoid swerving to miss these critters, which could cause an even bigger accident if you lose control of the vehicle.
Curfews are in effect for driving after sunset in Western Australia and the Northern Territory to avoid serious injury from collisions with large animals. If you have to travel at night, reduce your driving speed and turn on your high beams (if not facing oncoming traffic).
If you do hit an animal, stop if it is safe to do so and phone the appropriate trained wildlife rescue group, which varies by state. Try to remove any injured or deceased animal to the side of the road if it is safe to do so, then call the appropriate rescue group.
· New South Wales and ACT: Call Wildcare Queanbeyan at 6299 1966. In the Braidwood area, you should call NARG (Native Animal Rescue Group) at 02 4846 1900.
· Northern Territory: Contact Wildcare at 08 89 886 121 or 0408 885 34.
· South Australia: Contact Fauna Rescue at 08 8289 0896.
· Queensland: Contact Wildcare Australia at 07 5527 2444.
· Tasmania: Contact the Wildlife Management Branch at 1300 827 727.
· Victoria: In Victoria, call Wildlife Victoria’s emergency response service at 03 8400 7300 even if the animal didn’t survive, someone may need to be sent to check the pouch for young.
· Western Australia: The Wildcare Helpline at 9474 9055 puts you in touch with a wildlife volunteer who can help you connect with an appropriate wildlife rehabilitation program.
· New Zealand: Contact the department of conservation at 0800 362 468
Parking in major cities can be difficult and expensive, especially in the CBD and around tourist areas, such as beaches. Even smaller towns may have parking hassles on popular market days and for events.
Commercial parking lot charges are common in capital cities centres, and operate on an hourly basis on weekdays, and often charging a flat fee on weekends or evenings. These can be very expensive in the CBD.
Cities often have council operated on-street parking that involves a fee payable. There is either a meter that corresponds to the spot in which you have parked, or a ticket machine to buy a ticket from. These spots will have a sign indicating the maximum amount of time you can park there (paying the appropriate fee), and at what times the fee operates. Feeding meters (staying longer than the posted time by returning to the meter or ticket machine, and inserting more money or buying another ticket) is illegal and will result in the same fine as not paying the fee.
Parking is policed sporadically, with some areas regularly patrolled and others rarely, but you are never entirely safe parking illegally. Fines are of the order of $100.
Areas signposted as clearways, prohibit parking during peak times. Parked cars will be often be towed, adding a $100 recovery charge, and considerable hassle.
Areas marked as no stopping, or bus zones or taxi zones are illegal to stop in, even to pick up and drop off. Areas marked as no standing or no parking zones are those in which you may pick up and drop off, but you can't leave your car.
If you are willing to park a few blocks away and walk, it is often possible to find free on-street parking in residential areas near some attractions.
Major capitals usually have good public transport within the CBD itself, and this is an alternative to driving between CBD locations once parked.
When a vehicle is safely parked it is visible and not obstructing other road users. At night time, if you are only parking for a short time you can leave your park lights or hazard lights on to make the vehicle more visible.
If you have parked facing uphill, put your handbrake or park brake on, angle the wheels towards the kerb, put a manual car in first gear or an automatic car in P (park).
If you have parked facing downhill, put your handbrake or park brake on, angle the wheels towards the kerb, put a manual car in reverse or an automatic car in P (park).
Both of these techniques give three levels of failure. Handbrakes can fail, so if it does, the next defence is P (park) in an automatic (it won’t roll if in P), or having the car in-gear in a manual, in which case it would need to be a steep hill for the car to roll forwards. If that fails, angling the wheels towards the kerb will mean that the car will roll gently into the kerb and come to rest.
If parking a motorbike, try to park on level ground; if this isn’t possible, angle your bike so that it won’t tip over.
It’s important for motorbikes to park on firm ground so that the stand doesn’t sink into the ground, which could cause the bike to tip over.
When parking for unloading, choose level ground otherwise the load can shift and possibly fall on you when you open the trailer or boot.
When you park parallel to the kerb you must leave at least one metre front and back for other vehicles to be able to exit their park safely. Where there is kerbside parallel parking you are not allowed to double-park alongside a parked vehicle as you will be obstructing the roadway.
If there are no lines marked on the road (and assuming you are allowed to park there), then parallel parking applies, not angle parking.
Angle parking is usually at around 45 degrees to the kerb. Some angle parking is nose in, and others, as in the image below on the left, is nose out. This road also has parallel parking on the other side.
Exiting your vehicle
When you leave your vehicle, check in your mirrors and over your shoulder before you open your door so that you don’t hit a cyclist or other motorist. Some countries teach drivers to open their door with their left hand so that they have to turn their body, and this means they’re more likely to see objects in their blind spot.
Hide any visible valuables or take them with you. Do not leave pets or children in the vehicle. Close the windows, lock your vehicle and set the alarm. You must take the key with you if you are more than three metres from your vehicle.
Where you are not allowed to park
You must not stop your vehicle (that is, bring it to a stop and either stay with the vehicle or leave it parked) in the following circumstances:
- Double parked (that is in the road alongside a car that is parked).
- Across a driveway or footpath – this prevents other drivers from accessing the driveway, or forces pedestrians onto the road.
- On a median strip or traffic island – median strips are to allow people to turn safely, and traffic islands are to help separate traffic at a junction. Parking on a traffic island would reduce drivers’ visibility.
- On motorways or freeways – motorways are high-speed roads and should be as free of obstacles as possible.
- In a clearway – clearways are designed to keep traffic moving by opening up a lane for traffic when it’s needed.
- On footpaths and nature strips – parking on a nature strip damages the nature strip.
- Between BUS STOP, BUS ZONE, TAXI STAND or TAXI ZONE signs – these zones are for other vehicles, as specified.
- In a safety zone or within 10 metres before or after a safety zone.
- Within an intersection – parking within an intersection reduces visibility and room for manouevring.
- In a slip lane – a left-turn that bypasses a crossroads.
- Within 20 metres of an intersecting road at an intersection with traffic lights unless a sign allows you to park there.
- Within one metre of another vehicle parked in front or behind (does not apply when angle parking) – this is so that the other vehicles can exit the parking space easily.
- Within 10 metres of an intersecting road at an intersection without traffic lights unless a sign allows you to park there – this is to ensure that drivers have good visibility up and down the road as they emerge from the junction, and also so that long and wide vehicles have more room to make the turn.
- Within three metres of any double centre lines – vehicles aren’t allowed to overtake and if your vehicle is creating an obstacle on the left it might force users to have to cross the centre line.
- Within three metres of an Australia Post letter box unless dropping off or picking up passengers or mail.
- Within 20 metres before and 10 metres after a bus stop – this gives enough room for the bus to enter and exit safely, and also improves visibility for pedestrians as they leave the bus stop.
- On or within 20 metres before and 10 metres after a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing.
- Within 10 metres before and three metres after a marked foot crossing with traffic signals.
- Within one metre of a fire hydrant, fire hydrant indicator or fire plug indicator.
- On a railway level crossing.
- Within 20 metres before and after a railway level crossing.
- When you are parking on a hill or a curve outside a built up area, make sure that someone coming over the hill or around the bend can see your car from at least 100 metres away.
The parking below is motorbike-only parking and you can see the sign on the left-hand side stating this.
Some motorways, bridges, and tunnels in major cities require payment of tolls. On some roads, a cash payment can be made at tollbooths on the road, however increasingly there is a trend to electronic collection of tolls via transponders fitted inside vehicles. Some toll roads do not allow for cash payment at all. If you drive on such a road without a transponder, a photo is taken of your vehicle's number plate, and you have a limited time (between 24 and 72 hours, depending upon the road) to phone a number or visit a website and arrange credit card payment (plus an additional processing fee) before a fine is issued. Toll roads are clearly signposted and opportunities to exit are clearly delineated before reaching the first tolling point.
Avoiding toll roads may save you a few dollars, but you may pay in extra travel time, fuel cost, and navigation difficulties, particularly during peak travel times. If hiring a car, ask the agency for advice on toll roads. A single transponder can be used on any toll road in Australia, regardless of which company issued the transponder and which company operates the toll road you wish to travel on. There is no extra charge for travelling on another company's toll road.
Note: All data provided has been sourced from government agencies tasked at ensuring safety for each topic specified. For up to date information and specific enquiries, please consult each government department directly.