Collateral damage from car rallies

Submitted: Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:16
ThreadID: 89021 Views:2372 Replies:8 FollowUps:14
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I have always thought that it’s good practice to slow down when approaching an oncoming vehicle on a gravel road. It’s a mark of consideration for others, avoids spraying them with rocks and may perhaps prevent an accident.

So we were disappointed by the behaviour of participants in a high profile car rally that we encountered in north Queensland recently. No hint of slowing down despite very loose gravel, gibbers flying everywhere, and livestock along the unfenced road.

We sustained one stone chip on our windscreen (it will have to be replaced to get through rego), and called over the UHF on their frequency asking them to slow down. No response, though we did subsequently hear one or two drivers calling that they were slowing down for oncoming vehicles.

I wonder whether rally drivers are given any advice about approaching oncoming traffic? Are their schedules so tight that they can’t slow down a bit when circumstances warrant it?

I accept that some rallies do a good job with supporting worthy causes, but perhaps some drivers get a bit caught up in the excitement of it all and forget that others share the roads they are travelling on.

What are others' experiences of “collateral damage” from car rallies?


J and V
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Reply By: Member - Ian W1 (QLD) - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:39

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:39
It was my belief that any official rally took place only on 'closed' roads and that no-one else should be driving on them. Was this an official rally or just some local club out for a good time? Can you imagine coming face to face with some of these ARC rally cars doing 160kmh on the dirt road taking up both sides of the road? A standard rally car doesn't carry a UHF CB so I'd suspect you got mixed up in a local event?
AnswerID: 465023

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:52

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:52
Hi Ian,

Maybe "rally" is not the correct term for this event, but it was a high profile, well publicised fundraising "fun" event, not just a local thing. All of the vehicles (didnt count them but there were plenty) were covered with signage and all had flashing warning lights on the roof.


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Follow Up By: Meggs - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:56

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:56
Same Clowns
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Follow Up By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:59

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:59
i agree with your comments that formal competitive rallies are held on closed roads except for a transport and assembly stages however i believe in this situation Val is referring to the "Bash" type charity events where often there is little control over the entrants whose prime aim is to have a good time while raising a few bucks for what are mostly worthwhile charities.
unfortunately the only requiremnts here are that the drivers obey the speed limits or at least dont get caught when they exceed them.
i have crossed paths with a few of these events over the years and have noticed that generally they dont have much regard for other road users and tend to go quiet when challanged via UHF.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W1 (QLD) - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 06:04

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 06:04
Sorry Val, yeah, many of those 'rally' drivers do drive like bats from hell, but many are also pretty good people doing a great job, A real shame about the few who do all the damage to the cause. That said, I've had 3-4 bad chips on my windscreen the last few years and each one has been from driving on a multi-lane highway in suburban Brisbane! The last chip was less than a week after having the whole windscreen replaced. Just can't win. Safe travelling.
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Reply By: Meggs - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:45

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:45
I had exactly the same happen to me between Windorah and Quilpie last year. I called them on their frequency to say I would get off the road but they were so thick they also got off and showered me with rocks. I had to endure 40 or more doing this.
When I went through Kynuna this year I was siting outside the roadhouse having a beer and the promoters of this year's rally came and were distributing posters promoting the rally and I didn't miss telling they what I thought of their rally.
AnswerID: 465025

Reply By: have a go - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:58

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 20:58
Hi Val,
I was an official on car rallies for about 7 years. I think I know the one you are talking about and it wasn't ours thankfully. That same rally smashed the windscreen of my sister in-law out near Bedourie. She lived out on a station and couldn't just go and buy one. They had to kick out the glass and drive then wait for one to be delivered. One time they had a celebrity that ran over fences and didn't give a crap about the owners cattle.

Our road boss takes the safety of everybody seriously. Every day the entrants have a briefing about adequate and the road rules. Leave a gate how you find it etc.. etc.. Our timed events take place mostly on private property. Any sections on public roads were timed according to the safe speed limits. A day ahead car rings the boss with road conditions so at briefing he can change the speed rating accordingly. If you come in too quick your penalised.

(old girl)
AnswerID: 465027

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 21:09

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 21:09
Yep we've had the same problem with several of these bash type events over the years, they all drive like buggery in each others dust showering rocks in all directions.
Don't give a toss about other road users or the environments/communities they travel through.
Best to get right off the road and then throw rocks back as they pass. Idiots the lot of them.
I've lost three windscreens to these type of richard craniums despite pulling over as far as we could they still showered us with rocks.
AnswerID: 465029

Follow Up By: have a go - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 21:20

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 21:20
"Idiots the lot of them"

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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 22:04

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 22:04
Yep I agree with you guys its my pet hat when on dirt roads but not only ralliers
cheers nick
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Follow Up By: Dave... Adelaide (SA - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 22:48

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 22:48
"Idiots the lot of them."

I think your comments are a little harsh Peter, you are tarring all Rally Bash etc drivers with the same brush !!
We came a cross a variety club bash whilst up on the Cape in 2009.
You couldn't have met a nicer bunch of people, they had a pilot type vehicle travelling ahead of them warning all us people that were doing the OTT that they would be coming thru, we stopped at one of the river crossings and waited there for a good hour ( our choice l might add ) whilst they went thru, some of them even took time out to have a bit of a chat with us.
We came across them several times over the few days and always found them courteous always assuring they let us know when they were going to overtake or whatever, also found they slowed down when they were on the way back and passing our vehicles.
Not all ralliers are IDIOTS ....Same could be said for some 4wdrivers as well !!

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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 07:47

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 07:47
Perhaps I've been a bit harsh but after losing three windscreens in three years from these bash bods I was a bit peeved.
Follow up complaints to the organisers were typically "your problem". While I never expected any compensation etc some sort of "we'll try and get them to slow for oncoming vehicles" might have soothed people complaining.
I wasn't alone there were locals also in the same boat.
Yes there are many 4wd groups travelling in convoy that drive the same way, funnily enough the majority towing camper trailers. The latter is worse because the rocks thrown at oncoming vehicles are usually rocks being bounced off the trailer.
FollowupID: 739003

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 06:40

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 06:40
Same old complaint every month or two , the answer is simple , if you don't want stone chips on your vehicle or windscreen don't drive any where , leave your over precious vehicle in the garage at home.
AnswerID: 465048

Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 08:28

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 08:28
everyone expects normal wear and tear, and the occasional expense and inconvenience of equipment damage ( tyres, windscreens, aerials, lights etc) but most of us take steps to minimise unecessary damage by driving to the conditions. ie slowing down when driving on rough surfaces, through water etc. Only a mindless cretin would approach a jump up at full tilt. Only a mindless cretin would risk a $300 windscreen by not washing off 20 kph occasionally when a hazard presented. The difference is of course that the damage isn't done to the driver's vehicle, its done to the vehicle they pass.
Alloy, I suspect from your attitude that you are a mindless cretin, so we can expect you and your mates to pass at full tilt, showering others with your rocks, and very likely costing them several hundred dollars which is totally avoidable.
Thanks very much
FollowupID: 739006

Follow Up By: Crackles - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 21:48

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 21:48
I'm with you on this one Alloy. Each trip out central Oz I budget for a new windscreen. It's the risk I take going out there. If I get one then bad luck no matter what the cause & if I don't well then it's a bonus. If you get lots of brakages like some unlucky soles above, then get glass insurance for about $70 more on your policy. Complaining about a broken windscreen is like crying over spilt milk. Pointless.
Cheers Craig...............
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 08:13

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 08:13
Echucan Bob , the mindless Cretin must be you if you think as you state "washing off 20kph OCCASIONALLY" ,, ,,,,Why only occasionally ?? What ?? Only when it suits YOU ?? Guaranteed your one of the " I drive to the conditions and my speed is the only correct one ! " Got news for you , each and every driver drives to the 'conditions' at the speed they are comfortable at and don't require a Richard Cranium such as yourself declaring themselves as the arbitrator driving in the bush.
FollowupID: 739121

Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:33

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:33

your wrong about my use of 'occasional' but I suspect the logic of the argument would escape you.

Here's hoping our paths never cross.

FollowupID: 739137

Reply By: Member - Royce- Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 13:55

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 13:55
I understand your disgruntlement! Fair enough.

I just scored a magnificent stone chip just below my line of sight on the bitumen road outside my place... it can happen anywhere.

I've been told that the speed the rock hits you is related to your speed. Usually rocks are squeezed out of the side of a tyre or perhaps sprayed backwards. Your vehicle then drives 'through' it as it makes its way up and then down.
AnswerID: 465079

Reply By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 22:59

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 22:59
I have been driving on gravel roads most of my life and every time I have broken a windscreen its been on a tar sealed road or highway.

I travel at or near the speed limit gravel or not however I always slow down for oncoming traffic. What urks me are the ones traveling in the same direction who want to sit on 70 or 80kph on a 4 lane gravel road and then get the poops when I want to pass. I generally get up along side them and travel at the same speed so they can see me and know I am there (It can be difficult to see a vehicle behind you with the dust etc) I am expecting they will slow down or move over so I can pass giving then as much space as possible in order to prevent stone damage to their vehicle.

When I had my Non turbo diesel towing a camper trailer I use to get passed quite often. I would see the vehicle coming from behind I would move over and slow down or even stop to allow him to pass. I expected he would also return the courtesy by slowing down as he went past.

Courtesy and common sense are lacking my many drivers both on the highway and in the bush.

Oh and I was a Rally Driver for 35 Years too.

AnswerID: 465141

Reply By: Hairy (WA) - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 09:12

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 09:12
Im not sure if I agree with the haveing to slow down rule as people use the roads for different reasons.
Sure......back off a bit if your really moving but it depends what you mean by slow?
Drive past at a safe speed but the rocks and dust are just part of the country.

AnswerID: 465159

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 09:56

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 09:56
Hairy , you could bet your last dollar that the ones who complain the most about the speeds on country roads and stone chips are "on holiday" and have no real idea that people live out in the scrub and drive the dirt every day to the "conditions".
FollowupID: 739134

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:17

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:17
Your probably right......I usually back off when there are on coming vehicles but it depends on what people call slow. I dont think 80km is too fast to pass but then again it all depends on the road.
FollowupID: 739136

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