Outback Queensland traffic authorities record five incidents in two weeks, prompting police warning
- Three out of five crashes on south-west Queensland roads in the past fortnight involved caravans
- Emergency responders want caravan owners to do training before leaving home
- Speed, fatigue and incorrectly loaded caravans are common issues leading to crashes
As he drove his empty delivery truck back to Charleville, he watched a car towing a caravan try to overtake him while he sat at a speed of 90 kilometres per hour.
“It started swaying, I think she might have panicked and hit the brakes a bit,” Mr Liston said.
“[The caravan] ended up spinning right around, the caravan hit a culvert, and went over into the culvert.
“But the car stayed upright, luckily.”
Mr Liston pulled over to check on the travellers, where they stayed for more than an hour on the Matilda Highway, waiting for someone to come and assist.
“[I] helped them unload, they got a bit of gear out of it, because the caravan, there was nothing left of it, it made a big mess.”
Five incidents in two weeks
It was not the only incident involving caravans in recent weeks in western Queensland.
Charleville’s Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) area commander John Fogarty said that, of five recent road crashes in the region, three involved caravans.
“Speed, fatigue, caravans that have been incorrectly loaded, and probably some inexperienced new people getting into the industry, going out to buy that new van and the four-wheel-drive to head off to the west [have been involved].”
He said that, while the influx of tourists and visitors to outback Queensland was beneficial for the region’s economy, safety had to be the top priority.
“I’d suggest that you get a little bit of training in and around your caravan — how to tow your van, and certainly how to pack your van to make sure it’s correctly packed and it’s well balanced,” he said.
He also recommended keeping a close eye on road conditions, from checking Facebook groups, Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and RACQ websites, as well as talking to locals in outback towns.
In more remote parts of the country, the commander said being aware of who has right of way was highly important.
“Road trains do not get off the side of the road, they’re way too big and there’s too much risk,” he said.
Mr Liston agreed training on how to correctly tow and weight a caravan should be a priority before heading out west on a road trip.
“Just take it steady,” Mr Liston said.
“You’re not in a hurry, you’re on holidays. You should be just poking along.”