ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

7 reasons to die in Australia: Unusual road hazards and safety tips

Updated on February 7, 2012

You arrive in Australia after a long flight, jet lagged and slightly irritated only to find that the rental car agency gave you a faulty car. The steering wheel is missing! How odd. Once your initial surprise evaporates, you are finding the lost object on the passenger  side. That’s when the penny drops, Australia isn’t called “down under” for nothing. You have to get accustomed to quite a few strange things around here, especially when it comes to road hazards.

Drive on the left side of the road

Now you realize that the odd steering wheel arrangement is actually here to remind you to drive on the left side of the road.

Safety tip: Avoid rush hour traffic and busy tourist routes until you get your bearings. Never drive when you are distracted or tired. Hire a chauffeur when you visit the wine growing areas.


Slow down, after all you are on holidays. Kangaroo road kill is a common sight, especially in the outback. Kangaroo meat (the farmed kind) is available in most supermarkets. It’s actually quite tasty (kind of gamy), low fat and loaded with iron (don’t overcook it or it will get tough). The average Aussie wouldn’t be seen dead eating “Roo” . Reminds them to much of road kill.

Safety tip: Avoid driving around dusk and dawn. Kangaroos are stupid animals. Instead of running away from you, they usually hop around back and forth, in a totally unpredictable way. Kangaroos quite often travel in groups, so if you’ve just barely missed one, the danger is far from being over.

Road Trains

You will never forget your first encounter with a road train. You see a dust cloud appear on the horizon, the earth starts trembling and when the big monster finally rumbles past you, you get sucked into the abyss (or so it seems). I am talking from experience here: The suction was so big that the rubber and metal trimming around our vehicle’s windshield got sucked right out of the frame and disappeared off the face of the earth. A rather costly and complicated replacement, I must add. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does, as the experience magnifies when there is a strong headwind.

Due to its huge size and remoteness, Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes. Triple (three trailer) and AB-Quad road trains have a max. combined length of 53.5 m (176 ft). The Australian national heavy vehicle speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph), except in NSW, Queensland and South Australia, where the speed limit for any road train is 90 km/h (56 mph). Triple road trains mainly operate in the outback and are allowed in western New South Wales, western Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The last three states also allow AB-Quads (3.5 trailers). Darwin is the only capital city in the world where triples and quads are allowed to within 1 km (0.62 mi) of the central business district.

Safety tip: If you see a road train approach, make sure that you are on the left side of the road (remember paragraph 1)! Immediately slow down and if possible, pull over to the side of the road (watch out for soft shoulders). Road trains never slow down (jackknifing danger), so even if you’ve just survived a kangaroo encounter, don’t push your luck here! If cycling, say a quick prayer,hop off and run for your life.

Some awsome road train pictures


If a sign tells you that the next shop is in 1’000 kilometres, then you better believe it, Mate!

Safety tip: Know your route and make sure that there are gas stations along the way. For overland trips it’s safer to bring a jerry can of fuel, plenty of extra water and some snacks. Check that your vehicle is in good nick (especially the tires and radiator). Better safe than sorry, the only thing you might encounter out there is road kill, road trains that won’t stop and plenty of flies. Before opening your mouth to take a bite of your sandwich ensure that your head net is securely in place to avoid suffocating on unintended fly meat.

Long distances, heat and monotonousness

If I told you that probably the most dangerous road in the whole of Australia is a straight one, you wouldn’t believe me.  However, we are talking of the Red Continent’s longest straight stretch of road (90 miles, 146,6 km). It’s not only dead straight, it’s also as monotonous as hell. All you see is sand, brush and road kill and to make matters worse, it’s blazing hot. The combination of long distances, heat and monotonous country can be fatal.

Safety tip: Have a break and a stretch before you enter the straight road and make sure that you are not in standby or sleep mode.  This is also a good occasion to relieve the pressure on your bladder behind a bush, remember, people can see you for 90 miles straight!


I’m not kidding when I tell you that we were stuck for over a week because our vehicle didn’t have a snorkel. Australia is generally an extremely dry place, so there is no need for expensive culverts and high-tech drainage. Most roads hug the contour of the land so if it rains, the roads get flooded, sometimes for weeks or months. That’s when a 4 WD fitted with a snorkel comes in handy. If you don’t have local knowledge you shouldn’t even attempt it with a snorkel. Tourists have been trapped on the roofs of their rental SUVs with crocodiles circling them, not a nice thought.

Safety tip: Make sure that you are up-to-date with the latest road conditions and that if equipped, your snorkel does not have any leaks. After heavy rain falls check with the local Crocodile Dundee if it’s safe for you to drive (never ask a tourist). As a rule of thumb, the further North you travel, the more the risk of flood increases. Never even think of traveling to the Northern Territory by road in Summer (rainy season). That’s when half of the territory is under water.

Speed bumps

Probably the biggest nuisance, one that virtually makes your head go through the roof, are speed bumps. You will find them in built-up areas all over Australia along with the ever so present black tire marks called “wheelies”. Speed bumps and traffic circles are the Aussie way of dealing with “Hoons” (young irresponsible drivers). The Government of New South Wales has taken an even stricter approach. Hoon vehicles will get confiscated and crushed by the police. A video of the process will be posted online, for everyone plus the owner of the car to see. “Dad, did you know that your Mercedes is on youtube”? Ouch...

Safety tip: Never engage in any road races or stunts, especially in New South Wales and watch out for speed bumps.

Drive safely, Mate!

Australia road quiz

view quiz statistics

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)