The road fatalities in the NT are about 3-4 times greater than NSW, so why are NT roads dangerous? Do more people get killed on remote roads in the Central Australian region? The answer is yes. There are many reasons why a road accident 500km from Alice Springs or Darwin can be fatal. What do I mean by fatal, the driver is killed or the passengers are killed, sadly NT roads kill people more than Victorian roads per head of population. Allot of people say the statistics are distorted by tourist, this argument is rubbish and not based on any research or reports, Territorians that take this view are running away from reality, 80% of fatalities are people that live in the NT.
What are the problems that contribute to road deaths, firstly the isolation of the accident, say I had a 4WD vehicle roll over on the way to Maningrida. How long would it take for someone to find me? Say they found me within 2 hours and then had to drive to Maningrida and alert the flying doctors this may take another 2-3 hours. Then the flying Doctor had to fly to me could the plan land nearby? Can they find the accident site? So it maybe another 6-8 hours before I got to Darwin Hospital. Realistically it could be 12 hours or 24 hours before medical help so this is one reason why people die.
How many large animals could you crash into on a top end road? Lets have a look at the large animals roaming NT roads, pigs, cows, horses, kangaroos, eagles, donkeys, camels, dogs, birds, wallabies. There are probably more large animals in the Northern Territory than any other place in Australia. These animals and remote roads make for a deadly mix, for most places in Victoria you would not encounter this many animals, hitting a horse on the road to the Tanami 700km west of Alice Springs could be fatal.
Does speed contribute to road deaths? Which 4WD vehicle accident would you prefer to be in?
A) Hitting a horse at 120km/hr on a dirt road 700km south of Darwin
B) Hitting a donkey at 80km/hr on a dirt road 400kn east of Darwin
I would chose the slower car.
What can you do to make your road trip safer? Slow down, plan your trip, avoid driving night time, sun rise and sunset, share the driving, if you feel tired have a rest. On an unsealed road never drive greater than 90km/hr and this is not a target you may have to drive slower than 90km/hr. Put the vehicle in 4WD high range for the dirt sections. There are numerous things that can make the trip safer these are only a few ideas. James Gorrie runs 4WD courses in Darwin. See our 4WD courses.