GORV - Digital Magazine Issue #58 - Page 9

Do you check that your brake lights are working before every departure ?
Avoiding towing during times when big critters want to jump out right in front of you on the highway is a good start . If you ’ re forced to drive at kangaroo play time ( from dusk to dawn ), then slow down .
If you accumulate traffic behind , regularly pull over and let them pass . If you ’ re on a schedule or timeline , extend the timeline . A steel bullbar is good insurance , too .
I thought all would be fine when towing my own van one rainy morning out in western New South Wales . Having waited for daylight before hitching up and heading off , and after a cautious 80km / h start , I finally upped my cruising speed to 100km / h . Aside from the rain , the conditions were good ; no traffic , very good sight lines ( or so I thought ) on the road raised up from a floodplain . I was watching for wildlife , but saw none ... until a wallaby jumped up from the floodplain and out on the road in front of me .
Watch out for wildlife ( image : Destination NSW ).
I hit the brakes hard and realised that the van seemed to be pushing a bit . The van ’ s brakes were seemingly out of adjustment , as they were not helping to pull up as strongly as I thought they would , and had in the days earlier in ( non-emergency ) braking . Yep , all I could do was stay hard on the brakes , hit the horn and hope for the best . The roo turned south , trying to outrun me but too little , too late . Sadly , it was a goner .
With one dead roo and $ 1000 panel damage later , I discovered the trailer brake wiring wasn ’ t properly earthed . The moral of the story : always check your van ’ s brakes work after hitching up , and expect the unexpected from wildlife .
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