Gibb River Road accidents

Hi all,
I know I'm mostly preaching to mostly experienced people but wanted to remind you once more how easy things can go wrong.
Today there have been three accidents on the Gibb River road, all within 10 km of each other. All ended up here one way or another.
Two lots of passengers had lucky escapes and only the vehicles are stuffed, no other vehicle was involved in those two crashes. Sounds like they just lost it and rolled.
The other was a vehicle comes round corner suddenly sees 2 pushbike riders.
Driver brakes, slides and wipes out both bikes.
The male bike rider is ok just some bark off, the lady is not ok and has just been airlifted from here by the RFDS. Hopefully she will be ok, has some broken bones, badly bruised etc, it could have been even worse.
This particular vehicle driver was an older man who has never before in his life had any accident at all BUT is from Europe and is inexperienced on gravel.
I can't say it often enough, your brakes will not work as expected on loose gravel !!!!! Driving on gravel is nothing like driving on bitumen !!!!!!
If you have to brake hard you WILL slide and lose control of the vehicle.

The other thing is I have noticed a lot in the last few years is there are now often pushbike riders on the GR road. When catching up to another vehicle you know it's ahead because of the dust, bikes are different thing altogether you have no idea they are there. Fine when you have even a small clear bit to see them ahead, different when you just happen to catch up to them, right on a corner.
I'm not excusing the accident , I'm just glad it's never been me rounding a sharp bend and finding pushbikes right there ahead of me.
Even a small accident will totally wreck your holiday, to say nothing of what a bad one could do.
There have been SO many stories again this year of vehicles out of control due to speed and inexperience.
Please take care, I really don't want to ever have to get the RFDS to airlift you or anyone else out of Drysdale.
cheers, Anne

Drysdale River Station

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Reply By: Member -Flatty D (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 06:42

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 06:42
Hi Ann,,
We have just returned from a trip to the tip of cape York,,
I feel that i must BACKUP your letter of warning to all drivers,,
on our trip to the Top we encountered several push bike riders on the gravel roads ,, on one instance , we were about to let a vehicle pass us ,, when a bike rider appeared coming to wards us , we first seen the bike rider about half a kilometre ahead , he was riding the inside wheeltrack on his side of the road,, I could see the vehicle behind me coming at a great rate of knots
and felt sure they would not be aware of the pushbike rider ahead ,, due to my dust,, as i started to slow down ,, i started flashing my headlights to get some warning to the bike rider,, I was about 200mts from the bikerider when the overtaking vehicle was about to pass me,, My wife was on the UHF 18 trying to call the overtaking vehicle, but got no reply,, By then the bikerider must of become aware of the second vehicle beside me , and was getting off the road, when his bike be came wobbly in the dirt ,,, at this stage we were all getting pretty close together ,, the passing vehicle coming out of my dust must of spotted the bike rider , and was able to cross in front of us,, as by now i was down to about 30 ks,, The bike rider got off the road ok ,, but i reckon he wont forget the moment,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Yes Ann ,, alot of care must be taken when on our gravel roads,,,,,,, regards Flatty
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 08:42

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 08:42
I have found that very very few people use channel 18.

Much better to be on the local truck channel which is far more useful.

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Follow Up By: OREJAP - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:17

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:17
It is horrifying at times when you are a witness to an incident that is happening right before your eyes & frustrating when you try to warn people of an approaching hazard/danger & they are oblivious to what you are on about. Just recently saw an article fall from a 4WD towing a C/van. Dirt road,plenty of dust & we were travelling slowly a few hundred metres behind the vehicle. I tried channel 40. to call up the vehicle infront which had lost the response.....I tried channel wife started at channel 1 all the way through to channel response. Flashing of my head lights & indicating left also had no response. I decided to overtake on a very long stretch of road & when alongside the vehicle indicated for them to pull over & stop. I explained what had happened some distance back & enquired as to what UHF channel they were on & or monitoring. Answer "Oh we turn that thing off to noisy." I realise channel 40 can be a pain at times especially around major highways with the bad language used by some people however why have a UHF in your vehicle if you don't use it? I scan all channels with my car UHF and have my handheld in my top pocket set to channel 40. Some of you might think that's dumb but I believe it's beneficial especially if you are travelling with others you can have your group on a channel whilst monotoring the main UHF which is 40. It is very helpful to hear other vehicles in the area you are in and their position & maybe hazards they have come across prior to you coming around a blind corner into same.
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:27

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:27
Re the UHF, we've just come back from the CSR.

No-one was using 18. 40 was used by all.

Mind you, we didn't see a single bike either.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bentaxle - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:43

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:43
You will find that UHF18 is mainly used by caravaners and campertrailer users. I've started to carry 2 uhf radios on trips, one is a hand held, and have one running in scan mode and the other on Ch40 to talk to truckies when needed.
May the fleas of a thousand afghan camels infect the crutch of your enemy and may their arms be too short to scratch.

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Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:09

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:09
Graders and people working on the road are also on ch 40, we also run ours on scan.
When a truck can't see you for dust and you simply can't get close enough to pass due to dust, it's handy to be able to ask really nicely if the truck driver may be willing to allow you to pass at the next oppertunity that suits him.
If you do it nice and say when it suits you, they are almost all real good about letting you pass.
cheers, Anne
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:20

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:20
Re the truckies - totally agree Anne. We've only had good experiences. A thank you once passed goes a long way to good relations as well.

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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:02

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:02
As a caravaner I would NEVER use channel 18.

All you get is passengers talking about recipes or "look at the cows they're eating grass" type chatter

Far better to be on the truck channel or you may end up with the cows if you arent observant both in your mirrors or on the truck channel on the radio.

As for the ones that dont turn it on , perhaps thay should stay home if they dont like the chatter.

I havent found it bad except on a couple of occasions and we just turned it down a bit so you could make it out but it wasnt intrusive.

Why have a radio and turn it off Defies belief.

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Follow Up By: Muntoo - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:42

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:42
Each to there own i guess. I like to listen to music when i travel, and i hate the constant interuption over the radio.

Drive to the conditions and you shouldnt have to monitor the radio about the road ahead. No point leaving home i say if you have to have a radio.

I did a lap of Oz without one, and there was never a time when i needed one either.
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Follow Up By: Drysdale River Station - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 15:16

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 15:16
Loved the one about the cows eating the grass. How true !
Can't resist a comment about radio chatter .......... I think you should have said radio rubbish. Sure the radio is there for all to use but all of us do NOT want to hear non stop rubbish that everyone could well have done without.
" Oh watch out there is a speed hump here "
(well frankly if you are to blind to see the speed hump you should have stayed home)
" When you get to the Drysdale turn off, you have to turn left to the homestead"
( Really ? several signs, a huge entry road & no right turn available )
" When you come through the gate you will see the fuel bowsers right in front of you"
( yes you can see them and yes they are right in front of you)
"I phoned Mary ( Tom, Dick, Harry) back at home last night and she said it's been raining there"
( how interesting - not )
And on and on it goes, non stop darn useless rubbish. Often seems to be just talking for the sake of talking, doesn't seem to gain much else.

Use the camp fire at night for chitter chatter, use the radio for sensible needed comment. Then everyone else won't want to turn it down. A lot of what I hear here seems to often be just dribble.
I think the trick to keep in mind is everyone can hear you, not just your mate in the other vehicle.
cheers, Anne

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:06

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:06
Member - Graham H (QLD)

Ive got one because it came with the vehicle

sometimes i have it on scan on the highway

i dont hear anything usefull on it

and when out bush the most I hear is the odd peep from a repeater or a faint one way conversation

I truly would have to think long and hard if i would replace it if it carked it

over the last 5 years i would have used it less than a handfull of times when travelling with another person
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Follow Up By: Voxson - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:17

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:17
What about that one vehicle in your group that has to keep saying "oncoming vehicle" every time and it goes on forever....

Fair enough if they think because of the blind corner or some other reason it may be dangerous for you....

Drives me nuts....

They make us have to tell them to relax.....
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:26

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 16:26
To those that either dont have one or dont use it I would say this.

How do you know you didnt need it if you didnt have it.

How many truckies were trying to call you to say they were coming through or were growling because you were holding them up..

How many wide loads coming towards you that you didnt know about till you met them on a corner unexpectedly.

I met one out of Newman because it had no pilot when it should have.

A head in the sand attitude Im afraid guys.

Reminds me of a guy whose computer I had to fix.

He had no antivirus software and reckoned he didnt need any as he had no viruses.
Hmmmm after I found 26 items of viruses and spyware on his computer he shut up and got some.
Same with a CB have it ,use it, it might amaze you how much more pleasant your journey maybe.

Also if you do find out what channel is the most common in use like almost

everywhere except the eastern highway is Ch 40 East is Ch 29 Ch 6 or Ch 9 in

cities but stay well clear of them. Full of swearing rednecks.

Nothing worse than seeing a CB aerial on a vehicle and trying to call it and getting no reply.

Why waste the money if you arent going to use it

Defies belief.

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Follow Up By: Muntoo - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 22:59

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 22:59
My last vehicle had one, and my new one will too. But only for emergency communications if needed. I dont know how a radio is supposed to predict a wide load coming either. Obviously yours didnt on that occasion?

I do however respect your preference to using your radio whenever you want, as its is your right too. I enjoyed listening to yarns every now and then, but i prefer my music over that.
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 06:37

Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 06:37
I've been driving for 40 years and never had any benefit from wearing a seatbelt.

Based on advice here, I may as well not bother putting it on in future.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 07:43

Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 07:43
You find out by listening. The big ones have a pilot who talks to oncoming traffic.

The one we missed had a pilot who was too close to the load and wasnt talking so no the radio didnt help but it did allow us to stir the pilot up.

It did help in some places where the road wasnt wide and we had to find somewhere to pull almost right off as they were transporting houses over several weeks of our travel.

Usually the pilot would tell us the width so we would know how far off to pull up so as not to get hit..

We played music constantly as well but always had the UHF just high enough to be able to hear what was going on.
After years driving taxis you learn to listen to two things at once

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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 11:24

Friday, Jul 30, 2010 at 11:24
Re the pilots; we've found on a number of occasions when approaching from behind, if you let them know you're there, and the load isn't too wide, they'll call you thru if there's no oncoming traffic.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 07:54

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 07:54
Keep preaching Anne.

We will all at some stage come across unexpected situations - and its worth thinking about how well we are prepared.
While a situation may be unexpected to us , before it occurs, we all have the choice as to wether we load jerry cans etc onto our roofs , wether cars are overloaded , and the type of tyres and pressures on the car and its general condition.

As you begin to react these other variables can help or hinder - so consider them carefully before setting out.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Leigh (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:37

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 11:37
A timely reminder Anne. An error of judgement by one can quickly multiply to effect several others and so on along the chain. You guys must despair at times!! Cheers
AnswerID: 425638

Reply By: Voxson - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:00

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:00
Yeah take note anyone who has done the following things.............

Overheated a shocker from corrugations where oil has spewed out...

Travelled over heavy corrugations at more than 80kmh....

Split a fuel tank from heavy corrugations.....

Passed another vehicle on a dirt road in the same direction at more than 80kmh with limited vision....

Travelled in another vehicles dust cloud when you could have dropped back...

Put a hole in your radiator from your fan when crossing a creek or river.....

Blown a tyre when cornering on a dirt road.....

This email relates to you...................................................................

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Follow Up By: Voxson - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:03

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:03
This post relates to you i meant to write.
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Reply By: madcow - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:52

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 14:52
Have to agree! We were there last year when the troopy rolled on a straight bit of road coming back from Mitchell plateau and they ended up in Darwin Hospital. We saw some amazing driving on our travels up there and wonder how some people get by!
AnswerID: 425650

Reply By: Cruisin-Oz - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 17:37

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 17:37
Gigg River Road and accidents!!
Several years ago I travelled a number of times along the Gibb in a 60 series toyota. It was amazing the number of vehicles that flew by. Tourists and tour operators included ! I tootled along, often in their dust and turned on the head lights to help warn anything coming/going my way. It was interesting to note how many of these vehicles I later passed as they were dealing with buggered axles, punctures etc.
My biggest worry was one time returning from the Plateau just as there was a V8 ute bush bash. The dust would be thick for longer and more often as there were many that flew passed.
I often slowed and moved to the side as much as possible and left my lights on the whole trip.(And sometimes even turned on the hazard lights) I was concerned about what could go into my rear as well as head on.
Then I remembered as the dust cleared briefly, there, just ahead were 2 bike riders pedalling and chokingin the dust as they came towards me. Then along came another ute from behind and the riders dissappeared in the spray of rocks and cloud of dust.
I could not believe this was allowed and I was expecting to read in the Kununurra local rag about some horrific accident.
I hope this type of event does not run even if the fund raising intention is good the risk of serious accidents is too high.
Anyway, when out on these tracks besides the obvious hazards there can be all sorts of unexpected happenings and the best way to deal with them is to drive with care and enjoy the scenery the country has to offer.

Cheers Reg
AnswerID: 425664

Follow Up By: Rosco24 - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 20:11

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 20:11
I have to agree with the tour operator reference. A number of times on the GRR I have had to take almost evasive action from large Oka type tour buses. I think they run to a tight schedule and fly through no matter what the road condition. I always treat them with caution ...
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 22:21

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 22:21
It is not only tour buses these tag-a-longs are no angels. About six years ago the Cook and I were camped at Drysdale and this tag group came in at a great rate of knots - dust and rocks flying everywhere. Once they were settled I wandered over and was talking to one of the tagers [for want of a name] and asked him what speed they were sitting on. The answer was "whatever the slowest was happy with". Turned out to be 90 to 95 kph !!
There used to be 80kay speed signs along the GRR. Don't know if they are still there. If they are, the cops would have a ball.
The rig

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Follow Up By: Steve - Monday, Aug 02, 2010 at 09:30

Monday, Aug 02, 2010 at 09:30
with school-aged kids still with us, we haven't managed the GRR yet but you only have to go to Fraser Island to see tour buses tearing along those narrow tracks. Crazy. It's a wonder there aren't far more acciidents

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