Road trip danger Down Under!

A road safety campaign has been launched in Queensland, Australia, in order to help prevent accidents involving over-50s taking once in a lifetime trips.

This category of drivers who are experienced in an urban setting but not in the outback have been dubbed- grey nomads.

They are unfamiliar with dealing with hazards including gravel roads, road trains and wildlife, which can be very unpredictable.

In order to counteract these issues which can lead to serious accidents, a campaign entitled Stay on Track Outback has been launched.

It was thought up by Dominic Richardson, a Police Officer in the town of Tambo, which is situated in south west Queensland.

He told ABC: “Every tourist season we have a repeat number of single vehicle crashes that involve grey nomads, so I thought, we had to do something.”

Adverts for the campaign are being shown on television highlighting the issues associated with travelling in the outback.

These include encountering kangaroos and emus on the road, as well as the dangers of driving at night and tiredness from long days behind the wheel.

Mr Richardson said: “It is distressing to see that personal tragedy when these people are recent retirees, they’ve planned [these trips] for years.

“Most of the ones I’ve dealt with, they’ve only left home in the last two weeks.”

Traffic on remote roads has also become heavier due to a recent mining boom and it is important that grey nomads know how to deal with larger vehicles.

Charleville District Inspector Mick Dowie, said: “You can be on a perfectly sealed two lane road, you turn off that road, and for 100 metres it’ll be the same.

“And then with the outback roads they narrow down to a single lane bitumen or even a dirt road.”

Grey nomads often have a caravan being towed on the back of their vehicles, which can add to the dangers if a driver needs to swerve to avoid a wild animal such as a kangaroo.

Mr Dowie said: “The rear wheel goes off into the dirt, they lose control, they brake, the outcome’s the same every time – the vehicle rolls, the caravan rolls, and that’s the end of their holiday.”

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About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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