‘Is the trip worth the ride? Travelling in safety in Australia’

Apr 01, 2021
Julie recalls a number of memorable car journeys. Source: Getty Images

Our lucky land of Australia is a large continent, where most of us cluster along the coasts. The roads between cities and towns can vary in distance and quality of surface. Car travelling is a part of our laconic lifestyle, for whatever reason.

Cities here can have expensive toll roads. If you travel on these, you need to purchase a tag or a day trip pass.

One memorable car trip I took was when I set off for a camping trip before dawn, touring along the major toll road to the city and the bush lands beyond. It was raining, the less said about Melbourne’s holiday weather the better. At least there were no bushfires!

No! A flat tyre! After phoning the roadside assist, a tow truck arrived, as no one is supposed to stop for car repairs on a toll road. People in the car were allowed to clamber up to the tow truck, but not the adorable fur friend. I still carry a clear recollection of the cute, panicking puppy face, peering desperately at me as the car was winched aboard the tow truck. I guess the trip was worth the ride, but not for the fur friend.

The flat tyre was repaired by a different roadside assist gentleman, so the holiday continued with no spare. That is not sound car trip policy, travelling any distance with no spare. The remainder of the camping holiday was uneventful, we arrived there and back home in one piece. The canine companion was still wondering.

Is the trip worth the ride? Motorists can travel to some beautiful, scenic parts of Australia. We should always have our tyres, water, oil and battery checked before setting off, that is quite normal. Planning a car trip can include checking the distance between stops for fuel, restrooms and dining options. Drivers in remote regions should routinely carry spare water for the radiator, with drinking water for the motorist and passengers. Driver fatigue can be a concern, so a second driver is a good idea. If alcohol is consumed anywhere, a designated sober driver is advisable.

When on car trips in rural areas, there are hazard signs. Beware! There can be kangaroos, koalas, or wombats crossing! A distant road I travelled on had a sign, ‘Kentucky fried wombat, 10km!’ I suppose the fur friends did not think that trip was worth the ride!

‘Beware! Camels crossing!’ Yes, slow down and proceed with caution. Those big units have no road sense. If you hit one, it is a long walk home when there is no mobile phone reception to summon car repairs.

Australia has some lovely fluffy pets. Off to work I drove in my wheels, steering east into the sun. Dangerously, as I was in three lanes of commuter traffic, a large, furry huntsman spider wandered over the interior of my windscreen. What a lovely car trip!

Somehow, despite my passenger, I arrived at my workplace, and made insect spray my priority. I did hesitate, but later headed off home, driving west into the setting sun. The resilient spider seemed to be more hyperactive from all the spray. My fluffy travel companion. After a while, he/she then disappeared.

I never felt quite the same about driving again. For furry spiders, or fur friends, or motorists, is the trip worth the ride?

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How do you feel about car travel? Have you ever encountered any funny road signs on your trip?

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