Rough Terrain – Slow down and proceed with caution
Tackling rough terrain is one of the best ways to see some of Australia’s most incredible sights. While we opt to leave the caravan behind and 4WD the really hard stuff, sometimes we have no option but to tow the van through tough terrain to get to our next destination.
It doesn’t matter whether we are setting up a campsite, driving on a bitumen highway or towing over rough terrain, Drew and I are constantly reminding each other to ‘be careful’. It seems to be the catchphrase of our trip.
So it’s no surprise that when we find ourselves towing on rough roads, the first thing we do is slow down. It makes it much safer for us to brake and get around corners with the caravan in tow.
We will admit, there have been times when we haven’t driven to conditions as well as we should have.
In Kakadu National Park we drove too fast over a corrugated road in pursuit of our next campsite. We arrived in pretty good time, but when Drew opened the caravan fridge door he found a bottle of wine had shattered, leaving a smelly sticky mess.
Needless to say Drew told me to ‘be careful’ when packing the fridge, and I gave him the same advice about his driving.
Turn on headlights
On roads where dust can impair an oncoming driver’s vision, we always flip our headlights on for added safety. This was particularly necessary in the Pilbara and the Northern Territory where dust is ever present.
Reduce caravan tyre pressure
When towing on difficult terrain a simple way to make it out the other side with everything intact is by reducing tyre pressure.
While we don’t do this all the time, when we have, it’s helped make the journey smoother and given us greater peace of mind that we’re reducing the risk of a puncture.
Tune into Channel 40
When towing on outback roads we’ve had to make way for oncoming trucks, which is made much easier if we are going slowly and know they are coming.
We always keep the CB radio scanning but when we’re on roads where there are lots of trucks, tuning into Channel 40 keeps us informed of their whereabouts.
Just because we’re towing a caravan doesn’t mean we have to miss out on exploring off the beaten track. Following a few important precautions, such as taking it slowly, reducing our tyre pressure and tuning into channel 40, has helped us safely navigate tough terrain all with our van in tow.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’re writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.