Students are advised to plan their travel arrangements well in advance of their placement dates, and investigate all transport options. Mapping out the route, and if possible, having a trial run to the placement site can help reduce the stress of arriving on time for the first day.
Students should check their placement provider location details through InPlace.
Tips for travelling in rural areas
Driving on rural roads
Apart from common factors such as speeding, not wearing seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, there are other causes of accidents which are specific to regional and rural Australia. These include:
- Higher travel exposure rates.
- Fewer alternative modes of transport.
- Greater driver fatigue and boredom.
- Wider variety of road conditions.
- Many narrow, unsealed roads.
- Larger number of roadside hazards and uncontrolled animals.
- Greater speed variation, caused by stretches of single lanes and the sudden presence of agricultural vehicles and trucks, generate more crashes through risky overtaking.
- Longer response times to provide emergency care and trauma recovery for crash victims.
Strategies for keeping safe on rural roads
- Make sure your car is safe and travel worthy.
- Drive slower than you normally would.
- Be on the lookout for sheep, cattle or wildlife on the road.
- Travel with others and share the driving.
- Stop frequently to admire the view and rest.
- Be aware the road surface is prone to sudden changes.
- Be aware that slow, or fast moving, vehicles may suddenly appear.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
- As you leave towns check your speedometer reading. It will be easier to locate you if you know how far you are from the nearest town.
Responding to trucks and heavy vehicles
- Give them plenty of space and allow at least 1km to overtake.
- Hold the steering wheel firmly when passing oncoming heavy vehicles.
- Be alert when they overtake you. Air pressure build-up can cause significant buffeting to smaller cars.
Driving on dirt roads
- Dust clouds can be hazardous when following vehicles on dirt roads.
- Keep to an appropriate speed.
- Don't get too close to the vehicle in front.
- Stop if necessary to allow dust clouds to settle.
Areas prone to flooding in Tasmania
- Don't try crossing flooded bridges/causeways unless you're certain of the depth.
- Don't test depths of moving flood water. Flow can be very rapid and can sweep anything away that is in its path, including heavy vehicles.
Breakdown assistance is not always easily at hand. If you break down in an isolated area, do not leave your vehicle. If you do not have any way of making contact for assistance the best and safest chance of rescue is someone else passing. Your vehicle can in the mean time provide protection and, shelter and is far more visible for rescuers.
It is worth being a member of Tasmania's RACT for emergency assistance services. Visit RACT's website
Dealing with animals on the road
Encountering animals on the road can be dangerous because they are unpredictable and easily frightened. You can come across animals at any time, often with little warning. Watch out for signs like broken fences, open farm gates or droppings on the road. Farmers often use rural roads to move animals between paddocks and some use flashing lights to indicate to drivers that is occurring.
- Reduce your speed and be ready to stop.
If there are animals on the road or roadside, remember:
- Slow down, or pull over to the side of the road.
- Don't sound your horn or rev your engine.
- Follow the farmer's directions if given.
- Pass carefully - slow down and give the animals plenty of room, especially on bridges or narrow roads.
- Stop if the animals appear frightened.
- Dip your headlights at night.
Accidents with animals
If you injure an animal on the road, it is your responsibility to tell the animal's owner. If you are unable to contact the owner, you must contact an RCPCA officer or police officer as soon as possible, and no more than 48 hours after the accident.