Warning on safe driving - incident at Wombat

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 20:53
ThreadID: 33359 Views:2044 Replies:6 FollowUps:9
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G'day all,

I'd just like to emphasize to everyone how critical it is to drive safely and smartly when offroad and on offroad tracks, not that the majority here being experienced 4x4'ers would need any advice but if it saves one person, then it was worth me posting this message.

Two weeks ago on the Tuesday after Easter, me and a friend decided to go out and do some 4x4'ing in some tracks in Wombat State Forest. We did a few tracks and decided to change areas and drive to some other tracks in an area at the Woodend side of the forest. We decided to take O'briens Tracks to get there.

For those that know of O'Briens Tracks, it is a scenic and slow driving gravel track that twists and meandors through the forest, rising pretty high at some places and getting into very slow twisty turns at others.

As I beleive in safety first, I had my headlights on so that even if I didnt see an oncoming vehicle across a valley or further on down, he could see me and know that there would be another vehicle coming up soon. Aswell as this, many of the turns are blind corners and barely have room for two vehicles to pass slowly.

It was one of these corners where our trip almost became a catastrophe. It was uphill and approaching a sharp blind left-hander, with a cliff face to the left of me and a very steep drop off the right hand side of the track. I slowed right down before entering the corner when an 'idiot' P-plater in an old Jeep cut inside the corner at some speed not leaving anywhere for me to go. I though instantly that if I clip him, he'd go straight over the cliff and that'd be the end of him or I could smack my hilux hard into the cliff face on my left.

I chose option B, scraping my tyres, wheels, brush bars pretty severely, and a few scratches on my flares, not too mention the wheel alignment being thrown up the creek and the 4-way sterring stabiliser needing adjustment which I completed today after an alignment.

My moral of the story is this - if it looks dangerous, it probably is worse than you think, leave your lights on at all times because this is what'll get someones attention first, always slow right down when approaching a blind corner and even with a crest, slow down and stay as far left as possible because you dont know who is gonna come over that hill or around that corner and you want to be in the best position to avoid an accident if possible.

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Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 21:12

Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 21:12
Always the way, it has cost you for his stupidity.
Maybe I'm too old nowadays, but I would rather see what is on offer in this great country of ours and take my time when in 4wd (same can't be said on the blacktop when at work).

Glad it worked out OK for you, considering what might have been.
AnswerID: 169732

Reply By: Footloose - Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:11

Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:11
There used to be some very narrow winding corners on the Cape York road that I used to move as far to the left as I could, blowing my horn before each bend. Lights on of course. Now you might think that I was overdoing it a bit, but years later I was told that that bit of road had been widened because of accidents.
I usually drive with my lights on. Better stranded than dead.
AnswerID: 169742

Follow Up By: Patrolman Pat - Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:26

Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:26
We always used to blow the horn on narrow twisty English country roads. I still do it sometimes on twisty tracks.
FollowupID: 425081

Follow Up By: Footloose - Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:29

Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:29
"narrow twisty English country roads".....you mean everywhere where there isn't a motorway ? :)))
FollowupID: 425083

Follow Up By: Darren C - Sunday, Apr 30, 2006 at 11:34

Sunday, Apr 30, 2006 at 11:34
Very true!! but blowing a horn is also something I have been using since I came over here from the UK - also useful to do this when approaching sand dunes - have had some funny looks tho but at least they knew I was coming!!
FollowupID: 425143

Follow Up By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:20

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:20
I feel one of the lucky ones having walked away from a head-on in Heathlands on the Cape back in '86. Old troopy but we lost an argument with a tabletop Telstra truck. I was the designated gate boy and didn't have a seatbelt on. Can remember the star shaped mark I left on the inside of the windscreen...

Heath scrub, a narrow track and speed equals disaster.
FollowupID: 425438

Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:29

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:29
Mike, have you been back ? They have widened that bit of the bypass and also the Tele line from Heathlands up to the bypass....hardly recognized the place.
FollowupID: 425442

Follow Up By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:12

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:12
Not yet. The impact tore the bonnet off, wrecked the radiator, broke both front seat mounts, broke the roofrack mounts and the winch shaft tore the side off the gearbox. We smashed the front windscreen (well my head did...) and the driver broke his thumb on the steering wheel...
If it wasn't for the Ranger at Heathlands we'd still be there. He towed us back to the Ranger Station and let us set up in his workshop for 3 days of repairs to get us home. Transplanted a second hand tractor radiator and an army engineer mate of mine fixed the busted gearbox with a welded bit of dog food tin. We drove slowly back to Cairns with the bonnet on the roof, no front screen in pouring rain and only 3 forward gears...

Must go back one year!
FollowupID: 425496

Reply By: Jo and Mark - Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:32

Saturday, Apr 29, 2006 at 22:32
We were out last weekend with some friends, did a day trip out ot O'reillys National Park via Duck Creek Road, being a public holiday the road suprised us with the amount of vehicles. Some true 4wd'ers others were city 4wders coming back from O"Reillys with no idea that it was probably a 4wd track all the way. Taking up all of what space was there leaving you pushed against the side, not taking care when coming around blind corners. There was even one guy (as we were heading up the mountain he was coming down) on a mountain bike and I tell ya he was not doing just a leisure bike ride! the way he came around the corner near us, he'd of been lucky to make it to the bottom.
But we used common sense and 4wd ettiquite, headlights on and beeping horn and slowing right down on really blind corners.
Better to play safe!!
AnswerID: 169744

Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:23

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:23
Thats a great road Jo.... we lead club trips up there a few times year!
FollowupID: 425426

Follow Up By: Jo and Mark - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:44

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:44
Hey Brian!
It was great to meet up with you the other week!
Yeh we like it too, the first time we were on it, it was quite rutted and you had to think, but it seems that they have graded it though, it is quite flat now, and at the bottom near the gate there is a for sale sign and they are trying to sell all the land around it I think it was 275 acres for $425,000... not bad priced really for that amount of land!
I wonder if anyone actually checks the donation box????????

Cheers Brian
FollowupID: 425429

Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 07:04

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 07:04
Likewise Jo!!

I have seen the donation box full, and have seen it empty......... I think the owners check it fairly regularly.
Now that the 2006 Corroboree is out of the way, we'll have to attend a Qld gathering!!



FollowupID: 425519

Reply By: hl - Sunday, Apr 30, 2006 at 08:52

Sunday, Apr 30, 2006 at 08:52

I reckon forest tracks are far more dangerous than any freeway or country road.
Had quite a few near misses up in the Watagans and one no miss (head on) near Newnes. It is also said that driving along the dog fence was banned because of many accidents with people charging over crests at unsane speeds and many crashes.

So... always take extreme care.
AnswerID: 169774

Reply By: madCrow - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 00:54

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 00:54
like the other fine readers & writers of this forum I have to agree with you.
Also I would say that the Wombat state park is a popular zone with motor bike riders, ie: it's close proximity to Melbourne & surrounds.
With my better half, I was driving the truck happily along a track in the Wombat state park when we came upon a motor bike rider paused on a split in the trail, we said hi & asked "what's up". His reply was he was waiting for his friends coming up behind him. He asked/suggested we stay put till his friends caught with him. A good idea we thought! Especially since there were SEVEN of them.
We waited twenty minutes or so till they all passed, but that was fine, 20 mins waiting was/is better than 2 seconds for a crash bang.
We have also come across motor bike riders on sharp narrow corners on the trails up behind Harrietteville, Victoria.
Each time breathing with relief that no collision occured.
We travel slow but some fruit heads ride/drive fast!

\\\\(-><-)///// The large shy bunny wabbit with a hair cut, hides in the grass.
The sound of Elmer Fud crying makes him smile!
AnswerID: 169950

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 10:07

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 10:07
1) I though instantly that if I clip him, he'd go straight over the cliff and that'd be the end of him or I could smack my hilux hard into the cliff face on my left.

I would have gone option 1.. bleep em.
If they have no concern for anyone else EG a family in a car coming the other way, what do you think he would have done? I can bet you a years supply of fun at the daily planet it wouldnt have been same as u did.
AnswerID: 169987

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