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4WDriving - Responsibly

Home > Brisbane > Environment | Nature | Outdoor
by Sharon Higson (subscribe)
60 and still adventuring !!
Published August 26th 2012
Don't lose your 4WD to the Tides
To four wheel drive on a beach can be so exhilarating. You feel free. The wind whips through your hair, bounding over the sand, watching the waves come into shore. There are certainly a lot of people who love it. This does however come with a code of ethics as well as responsibility.

In Brad McCarthy's book "Dirty Weekends" he gives quite an extensive list of the how-to's. I highly recommend this book if you so choose to 4WD in Queensland. Though it is great fun we all need to be aware.

Here are a few basics that are important as well as considerate:

Tyre pressure is a huge factor in driving on the sand. When you deflate your tires to 18 PSI (pounds per square inch) you have more surface space so you don't sink into the sand, tending more to ride across the top of it. If you find yourself getting stuck you can be assured that you have too much air in your tyres.

A portable tyre gauge, along with snatch straps and a fold up shovel all are essentials. They can be stowed in the rear of your 4WD so you always have them.

Just like when you are driving on the streets there are speed limits. Speed limits are 80kph when safe to do so - 30 kph on inland tracks. Slowing down to 60kph when there are people along the beach allows everyone safety. Places like Moreton Island at Easter are incredibly busy; along with all the people there are more 4WD's than at any other time of the year.

Signal lights are essential. When another driver comes at you it is imperative to show your intention by signalling and driving on the left hand side.

You are obliged to help anyone that you come across who is stuck. This leaves no one abandoned in the bush or on the beach with the tide coming in.

Download the tidal charts from www.bom.gov.au. This enables you to drive and pass around things like outcroppings etc. If you have cause to drive on Fraser island or up Noosa North shore there are a few places that love to capture inexperienced drivers and their vehicles. Boards full of photos in the general stores show vehicles disappearing under the waves as their owners stand helplessly by.

Queensland's offshore islands are all sand. Fraser is a world heritage site and driving on the dunes is illegal as well as eroding. Once again courtesy and respect for your surroundings keeps you safe and out of jail as well.

You will want to reinflate your tyres, wash down your vehicles really well to stop any corrosion and get rid of any left over salt. If possible don't drive in the sea water.

Follow the rules, read the book, and if all else fails there are numerous places out there with experienced drivers who do 4WD tours of Fraser, Moreton and other areas.

Enjoy the beach!
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