Welcome to Episode 3 of the Outback Safer Driving series.
Two systems that are going to make your journey so much safer and give you greater peace of mind, are good communications and great navigation systems. Being able to talk to people and tell them where you are in case of emergency pays great dividends when it comes to remote travel.
Mobile phone coverage out here is sporadic at best and is centred around the major towns. If you’re not with Telstra, you can forget about using your phone anywhere. And even if you are with them, there are plenty of black spots that can catch you out.
The Sturts Steps mobile app has downloadable content that works even when your offline, so check out the information available before you leave a major town or city, and you will have access to important info and entertaining content while you travel even if there is no mobile coverage.
For more coverage in remote places, you might look into getting a satellite phone or satellite enabled GPS device that works even when there is no range for a mobile device. These can be hired or purchased.
Also, a UHF radio is a terrific bit of gear and allows good comms between station owners and other road users. Remember to mount your mobile device in a cradle that doesn’t obscure your view of the road. If you’re a learner or a provisional driver, remember, when it comes to navigation systems, it’s illegal for you to operate a mobile device, even if it’s in its cradle.
Something else to keep in mind is the reliability of your in-car unit. These may not always lead you up the right path. It might send you through outback stations or other private properties. And this may lead to you getting stuck in s very remote part of the world.
There are plenty of aftermarket apps that work on both mobile devices and tablets. But for novice drivers or to ensure that you always have coverage, you may consider a GPS device that is not connected to the Internet. If that’s the case, don’t forget to update it before hitting the road.
Personally, to make absolutely sure I always have a reliable and accessible map, I’ll make sure that I have a paper map of the area with me at all times. This will give me a great overall view of where I’m going and also where I’ve been. And, in the event of a technical failure, I will have another important tool at my disposal.
Knowing you have a good handle on communications and navigation will give you great peace of mind, and help keep you travel safely while you’re out here. Just remember to download everything and check the website for the latest safety information and road conditions BEFORE you leave.
Stay safe. See you on the road.
The advice in these videos is for general information and entertainment purposes only. Road users are responsible for knowing and following the road rules. Consult a professional before travelling.
Links to relevant road rules: