Safety Tips in Australia

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Australia

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    Your biggest risk: Too much of a good thing

    by tiabunna Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Many visitors to Australia are drawn by the sunshine, so there’s a good chance that’s at least partly what interests you. There’s a trap though, in the endless sunny days. If you couple them with the high elevation of the sun and the clear atmosphere, the result is that you’re exposed to quite extreme levels of solar radiation. So a few uncomfortable facts:

    * Depending on your skin type (northern European is worst) you can get very uncomfortable sunburn, leading to peeling skin, from just half an hour’s exposure to the sun – if you do not have some sun protection.

    * Australia in general, and Queensland in particular, has the world’s highest incidence of skin cancer. OK, the effects tend to be cumulative with time, but about 300,000 skin cancers are diagnosed yearly and exposure to the sun is the main cause. Skin cancers don’t show up until years later, but lead to over 1200 deaths a year in Australia. For comparison, Australia has about 1600 road fatalities yearly (one of the world’s safest). The message in the second photo is meant to be taken far more seriously than it may appear!

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    • Beaches

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    Mind the Level Crossings.

    by wise23girl Updated Jan 13, 2013

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    In certain parts of Australia the only way you know there could be a train passing across the road in front of you is there a road sign to warn you and/or you see the tracks. You might hear a train whistle or you might miss the sound altogether. And diesel trains are so much quieter than the' old puffin billy'. Trains come both ways so LOOK.

    Sometimes there are boom gates and a flashing red light. Do not try to beat the boom gates.

    The best defence of course is to be aware. If there is a vehicle behind you be careful to give as much warning as possible before you stop.

    And if you are at a railway station never take a short cut across the tracks.

    If you find this tip helpful you will find more on Driving in Australia here

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Snakes!

    by tiabunna Written Feb 10, 2007

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    I’ll bet you’ve heard about the exciting snakes found in Australia. In case you haven’t, Australia has something like 190 different species of snakes, of which 22 are at least as deadly as an Indian cobra and, of these, 16 are much more deadly - one (which luckily lives well off the beaten path) is the world’s most lethal snake. Do I have your attention now?

    The good news is that most visitors are unlikely to encounter snakes anywhere except in an enclosure at somebody’s zoo or animal park. You never know, the animal park might even encourage you to have your photo taken with one – but you can be sure it will be from the entirely safe python family. So go ahead and be a devil, then you can amaze everyone when you go home. :-)

    Yes, every year Australia has about 3000 suspected snakebites, but most bites do not require antivenom treatment and, on average, snakebites result in only one or two deaths yearly. In other words, you are at substantially greater risk every time you cross the road (slightly over 200 pedestrians are killed yearly).

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  • wise23girl's Profile Photo

    Is Australia Dangerous?

    by wise23girl Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    If,as you do in any other place of the world, heed the local warnings and generally be sensible you will be fine. Danger is not lurking around every corner.

    After reading all my warnings and dangers on my Queensland Page....all 34 of them at this point in time (2013), a VT friend said she would be frightened to come here.

    "Oh my goodness" I thought, "what am I doing?"....."I have lived here all my life and seen about 3 dangerous snakes....never been taken by a crocodile, and never broken my neck diving into a shallow pool!"

    Then I read a book (2001) by a young Aussie guy (Bryce Corbett) who lived in Paris at one time...maybe still does..who on a return visit to Australia wrote in his book, A Town Like Paris: "What kind of a coddled country had Australia become when even the most obvious personal safety information had to be SPELLED OUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS?"

    On returning to Paris as his French Taxi hurtled at breakneck speed ......it struck him it was not so in Paris. Paris the mot visited city in the world was much more laissez-faire. No 'LOOK LEFT....LOOK RIGHT"...."if you happen to step out in front of an on-coming bus too bad for you"

    So read the reviews, absorb some local knowledge but please come and visit us. You are welcome

    There was a red-back on the toilet seat
    When I was there last night,
    I didn’t see him in the dark,
    But boy! I felt his bite!
    And now I’m here in hospital,
    A sad and sorry plight,
    And I curse that red-back spider
    On the toilet seat last night.

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    GUM TREES

    by balhannah Updated Nov 8, 2009

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    Gum Trees,......... lovely for shade in summer, but these also have an unknown danger that people do not know about.
    On a hot day, a Gum Tree limb will just break off, and come crashing to the ground. You can't tell by looking at the Tree if this will happen.

    If you can have a choice when camping, or parking your car in the shade, try to find a different Tree to a Gum, its much safer on those very hot days.

    The lovely White Gum in my photo, has dropped several branches unexpectedly on a hot, Summer's day. You wouldn't have wanted to be under them, I can tell you that for sure, the noise when one hit the ground was massive!

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    More snake facts

    by tiabunna Updated Feb 10, 2007

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    Snakes are uncommon in major urban areas, but as I’d like to encourage you to visit further afield, let’s go into more detail. It’s also a fact that, with rare exceptions, most people who are bitten by snakes are trying to catch or kill them. Of course, some people simply do not see the snake and walk on it, at which point it reacts in the only way it knows!

    The ways to avoid snakebite are simple: watch where you are walking if you are not in an urban area, avoid walking in long grass without good shoes or boots, and should you see a snake, don’t panic: just move away and give it a wide berth. If you do that, you’ll have no problems. Most of all, leave it alone!

    The photo shows a Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus), with a toxicity about equal to a Cobra, I found near our house. This species of snake is by nature a timid animal – they just want to be ignored to quietly go their own way. Let them. Some other types, such as the Brown, are less benign.

    For more information about Australia’s snakes and the treatment for bites, the website below should meet your needs

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Swimming statistics – don’t be one!

    by tiabunna Updated Feb 10, 2007

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    About 250 people are drowned in Australia each year. That makes drowning statistically one of the greatest risks in Australia.

    There are some very simple ways to avoid any risk.

    * Don’t swim after meals or, particularly, after drinking

    * Swim only at patrolled beaches, or in pools. At patrolled beaches, you will see flags such as those in the photo (taken at a museum display on surf lifesaving) – swim ONLY between the flags. Hopefully they will be further apart than they are in the museum photo! :-)

    * Don’t swim if the beach is closed (red flags) and follow any warning instructions.

    * Supervise children.

    * Don’t go out of your depth and, in the unlikely event you find yourself in trouble with a ‘rip’ (strong current) do not fight against it, allow it to carry you along the beach while you swim diagonally toward shore. Most of all, if you are in trouble, hold up your arm to signal for help.

    The website below gives all the information you’re likely to need on beach safety.

    Related to:
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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Regional risks #1 - Sea Wasps in the far north

    by tiabunna Updated Feb 11, 2007

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    Actually, we’re talking about a range of jellyfish types found in tropical waters around the north of Australia, but sea wasps is a commonly used name. Nasty beasts. In terms of toxicity, they rank way above any snake and can kill in under five minutes (after the victim first suffers excruciating pain). The main culprit is the Box Jellyfish (Chironex Fleckeri) which is almost invisible in the ocean, but can have up to 60 tentacles of up to 3 metres length. Get yourself wrapped in just one or two of those tentacles and it’s probably goodbye. From all accounts, if you're stung the pain will make you wish for an early end. An antivenom is available – if you can reach it in time! In the past 20 years, they have killed about 70 people.

    Avoidance is the best answer. They are found in tropical northern Australia in the months between October and May, so be very careful if you wish to go swimming in the ocean then: swim only at patrolled beaches and watch for warning flags; do not run or dive into the water; supervise children; and wear protective clothing (believe it or not, pantihose will provide protection). If someone is stung, the best immediate treatment is to douse with vinegar - but being careful not to contact the tentacles yourself.

    Personally, if I was in northern Australia in summer (and I’d strongly suggest that’s not the time to be there) I’d be quite happy to just sit alongside some hotel pool with a cool drink and let others risk these things!

    The Australian Institute of Marine Science website has more information :

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Minimising risks from solar radiation

    by tiabunna Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Here’s how to minimise your risks from the sun. For some years, Australia has had a campaign called Slip, Slop, Slap – meaning you should

    *slip on a long-sleeved shirt,

    *slop on some sunscreen lotion and

    *slap on a hat.

    If you do that, you’re well on the way to being sun-safe. The other thing is to not overdo enjoying the sunshine – head under some shade rather than frying your hide in the sun all day, because you might just pay for the consequences later!

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    • Beaches

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  • 850prc's Profile Photo

    Look RIGHT or DIE.

    by 850prc Written Jul 14, 2005

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    In Australia, traffic keeps to the left. So, that means that everything occurs opposite to that which much of the world expects.

    I once read that the leading cause of injury to American tourists in the UK was pedestrian mishaps, when they failed to look RIGHT before stepping into the street. I'd guess that the same is true in Australia as well.

    In the accompanying photo, you can see that the Australian government deems it enough of a tourist hazard to actually preint LOOK RIGHT warnings at pedestrian crossings. And if you want to see the danger involved with ignoring this advice, look in the upper right corner of the photo. Yep, that's a car bumper, slowed only by a very fast shutter speed.

    LOOK RIGHT mates. Or die.

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    RIVER BEDS

    by balhannah Updated Mar 2, 2010

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    SO, you have decided to travel the Outback of Australia, its got late, your tired, and you want to pull over and set up camp somewhere as its too far to the next town.

    Trouble is, its so dry and dusty out here, its been a hot day, and I want some shade. It will be ok, once the sun sets, it can be quite cool at night, but in the morning, I would like to be under the shade of a Gum Tree.

    I actually just passed some, so will go back to them.

    The camp site looks so enticing, but NO! IT IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO CAMP, as it is a dry creek bed, and even though it might not look like rain here, it could rain somewhere else, and you will be washed away and DROWN.

    This has happened on many ocassions, and when a storm hits, mountains of water head down these creeks, taking everything in their wake. Water moves at incredible speed.

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    KANGAROOS AND CARS

    by balhannah Updated Oct 6, 2009

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    I guess you have heard the advice from lots of people, "Be careful of the Roos"

    Once you get out the Cities, there is a good chance of you seeing Kangaroos.
    Probably, surprisingly to overseas tourists, is that you don't have to be far from the major Cities to find Kangaroos.
    Of course, the further to the centre of Australia you travel, the more you will come across. Driving, early morning, and from the early evening and through the night is a dangerous time, as this is when they are out and about, when they are at their most active.

    If there hasn't been much rain, then this is an added danger, as they are on the road side edges, eating any greenery they can find.

    They have a mind of their own. They may hop along the side of the road, and you are having a great time watching them, then, for no reason, they just charge across the road, hopefully, infront or behind the car.
    If one hits, then expect quite a bit of damage, as they hit with force!

    People that live in these outback areas have Roo bars, but for you, the traveller, just make sure that your hire car has insurance, you may need it!

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    EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED ON THE ROADS!

    by balhannah Updated Nov 7, 2009

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    As you have probably gathered, we have a lot of wildlife that tends to get hit by Cars. The bigger Animals do a lot of damage to the vehicle and you, if hit at high speed.

    There are also smaller ones to look out for.....
    AT NIGHT......the Koala's are on the move.
    and OWLS, so many of them get hit.

    DAY TIME...... and a nice, sunny winter's day, passing through a rainforest area, a big Python is sunning himself on the road. Try not to hit them, the Python is non -venomus!

    The further out west you go, you might run into quite a few Birds on the roads, they are after the Grain that has dropped from the Harvester's travelling along the road.
    We have been fairly lucky, with only a broken mirror resulting in damage.

    Emus, and these do great damage as well. They can run really fast. Our friend had an experience where one actually got caught in her car window, she said it was quite scary!

    Wild goats, daughter has just returned from out west, and ran into a herd of these!

    And then there are the unfenced roads, where the cattle just run loose. Usually, they are not a problem, but if you come across them unexpectedly, then it is a problem, especially on dirt road!

    DRIVER BEWARE!

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    CATTLE & SHEEP DROVING

    by balhannah Updated Mar 7, 2010

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    Once you get away from Coastal areas of Australia, and into the west and the outback more, you may run into Drovers with their Cattle or Sheep.

    A drovers' road, is a route for driving livestock on foot from one place to another, such as to market or between summer and winter pasture. You may come across quite a few in times of drought, when the farmer has no food left for his stock, so he takes to the road with his animals.

    Drovers' roads are often wider than other roads, so that they can accommodate large herds or flocks. Sometimes though, you will have to drive through the flock of sheep or cattle.

    By law, the travelling stock must travel 10 kms per day. This is to avoid all the roadside grass from being cleared in a particular area by an individual herd. Bores, equipped with windmills and troughs, may also be located at regular intervals to provide water in regions where there are no other reliable water sources.
    A Travelling Stock Reserve is a fenced paddock set aside at strategic distances to allow overnight watering and camping of stock.

    The travelling stock are driven by a drover and stockmen using Australian Stock Horses or vehicles. Other working animals include working dogs such as Kelpies, or their crosses which have been bred for working sheep and cattle.
    The stockman may also be accompanied by a packhorse, carrying supplies and equipment, or a wagon with supplies might follow the stock. More recently travelling stock has been accompanied by four-wheel drive vehicles and mobile homes.

    If you have to drive through a flock or herd, drive slowly, at an even speed, and they should move aside for you. Be ready with the foot for the brake, because Animals do the unexpected.

    THE DROVERS EXPECT YOU TO DRIVE THROUGH, AND NOT FOR YOU TO WAIT FOR THEM TO CLEAR THE ROADWAY!

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    DRIVING LONG DISTANCES

    by balhannah Updated Oct 6, 2009

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    Australia is large, with big distances between towns and cities.
    When coming from overseas, a lot of people do no realize just how far it is from one town to another.

    On our roads, you may come across a sign that says it is a "Driver Fatigue Area"
    This means that there have been an awful lots of accidents, including deaths on this stretch of road.
    It is often the halfway point between major towns.

    Ways to hopefully prevent you from becoming the next victim of that stretch of road are.............

    * have enough sleep and rest before setting off..........
    * avoid long drives at night.............
    * take frequent breaks during the journey to refresh yourself.......
    * frequently change focus to prevent your eyes from becoming tired or hypnotised...........
    *keep physically active during rest breaks go for a walk, stretch, etc.........
    * apply your full attention to the driving task, let somebody else bother with the screaming kids, etc.
    * STOP at one of the many rest stops on the side of the road. Some of these have Toilets and drinking water.

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