The Fickle Finger of Fate

 Every now and again the fickle finger of fate reaches out and picks every simple 4 wheel driver just to let us know there is no place for complacency in the bush.  Catastrophe strikes when least expected and usually in the last place you expect.  To say these occurrences are unavoidable is codswallop, proper planning, maintenance and knowing both you and your vehicles limits goes a long way to avoiding those little disasters that randomly occur. 

All my experience of road users leads me to the following conclusions: 


If you travel to fast you may end up upside down, off the road or perhaps head on into a fellow expert coming the other way.


If you travel too far in one hit you may end up upside down, off the road or perhaps head on into a fellow expert coming the other way after harvesting a crop of white posts on the way.  This is the insidious fatigue and it usually claims those who take just a little nap, wake up on the gravel shoulder, over correct, roll and kill them and their passengers.


 If you stick heavy stuff on the roof rack and do not drive accordingly you may end up upside down, off the road or in the middle of it, spinning.  Once a vehicle loses equilibrium a roll or a skid happens within a split second.


If you go anywhere near or try to move your vehicle after dinner and refreshments something expensive will definitely break or accordingly you may end up upside down, off the road or in the middle of it, spinning

 An accident occurs when your foot slips off the bike pedal, a collision occurs when you hit the bar of the bike, usually with the softest two pieces of a bloke's anatomy, and the crash occurs when the whole lot comes crashing down onto the road surface.

 On unmade roads be aware that some vehicles have been set up to run at 100 kph but the majority havenít so check your tyres, tyre pressures, then find the speed at which both you and your vehicle are comfortable.  Travelling at this comfortable speed does not allow you to take your eyes off the road for a second because thatís all it takes for catastrophe to claim you.  Sand, bulldust and gravel conceal genuinely awful road conditions from washaways to holes and even rocks loosened by heavier traffic. Remember dirt, gravel, unmade or unmaintained roads are not your normal surface of choice for driving.  These roads are rough, slippery and dusty, so take your time to get used to them.  As a matter of practice when the dirt appears the 4x4 lever comes back a notch into high 4 and for 100 or so k's I get used to the feel of the vehicle all over again.  Now you have a completely different dynamic, all 4 wheels driving / pulling and it feels, acts and reacts in a totally different manner.  The investment in King Springs and Koni Shocks, arguably the best suspension package on the market, is more than repaid on these surfaces.  Remember if you encounter a hazard you must either be able to avoid it or stop in time to avert catastrophe.

If you think for a moment that I am being somewhat careless with the truth have the person in the passenger seat itemise the car bits you pass.  Usually the tail pipe and rear muffler appear first followed by sundry exhaust and suspension bits then the remains of a car on its roof, side or wheels but wrecked none the less.  A single tree in the middle of nowhere often bear the scars of the fatigued driver who in his stupor focused on it for that minute too long and hit it.  If you doubt me have a look at the trees close to the road in the outback and the wreckage around them.

The main message of this page is that catastrophe can be avoided by planning, preparation and the knowledge of both your and the vehicleís limitations.  Donít try to do too much remember time is on your side.

Keeping all the above in mind sometimes as they say there is many a slip between cup and lip.............

If for some reason it does happen like in the case below use available resources, do not do any damage to the track or surrounds and use your hand winch to get out.

To be able to traverse rough terrain and utilise all the features of the vehicle it is imperative all four wheel be on the ground at the same time but it is a tribute to the strength of the Brown Davis Auxiliary fuel tank the vehicle is sitting on.  It can happen to any or all of us but at low speed on the Overland Telegraph Route there is little chance of damage or injury.  The slower you go the softer you hit.

This ended up being a 20 minute recovery and remember if you can't see over the bonnet your bound to find a hole like this on the odd occasion so get out and walk!


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