Not all roads in country areas are sealed. They can also be gravel surfaces which can be loose and corrugated, dirt or sand.
Vehicles on gravel roads and dirt create big clouds of dust and make visibility poor, so keep your distance from the car in front and be prepared for dust and stones from cars travelling in the opposite direction.
Many sealed roads also have gravel edges and drivers can easily lose control of their vehicle if they veer into them - especially at higher speeds. In some country areas, roads are narrow, single and sealed with gravel edges. Drivers need to take particular care when approaching oncoming vehicles, especially large agricultural machines or heavy vehicles. Please do not force them onto the edge of the road - brake gently, pull over and wait for them to pass.
On gravel roads tyres can spin or lose grip
. Take particular care on bends as it is easy to slide off the road or roll your car. Do not brake suddenly
as you are likely to skid and lose control. Please slow down and take care when driving on unsealed roads.
Driving on sandy tracks requires plenty of skill and often the only suitable vehicle is a four-wheel-drive. Sand tracks often form pockets like snow drifts which create extra hazard
. You will need to take extra care when driving on sandy roads and travel very slowly.
If floodwaters cover the road, drivers should use an alternative route if possible. If there is no other choice, always check the water level on roads and floodways, streams or rivers before driving over or through them.
- Always check the depth of the water by getting out of your vehicle and walking the intended crossing if safe to do so.
- If the water is not flowing, always check that the water level is no higher than the bottom of the vehicle if driving a conventional 2WD and no higher than the average adult knee if driving a higher 4WD.
- If the water is flowing and deeper than the bottom of the wheel chassis do not cross.
- Country road conditions can change quickly so check with the local visitor centre before leaving.
In country areas, particularly in the north-west of WA, there are local publications with good advice on driving in the region. Local police, local government (RoadWise) offices and local visitor centres can all offer advice on driving safely.
To check current road conditions, visit the Traffic & Road Conditions website
or call Main Roads Western Australia on 138 138. This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can also be contacted to report road hazards.
Our hot and dry conditions also create a bush fire risk. The Bush Fires in the North of Australia
brochure provides useful fire safety information for travellers.
The best advice on any road condition
- assess the situation
- ask experienced locals for advice
- take your time
- avoid potential hazards.