Why Driving Motorhomes At Night Is Risky

Most of us are guilty of underestimating how long it takes to get places, and it’s understandable that you might have packed too much into your itinerary. After all, you’re going on a holiday and there’s so much to see!

But it’s so important to plan for travel time, both so that you’re not travelling long hours and to make sure that you’re safely tucked away in a holiday park once the sun sets.

You’ll likely already know that driving at night in Australia has a range of safety issues, and it’s absolutely something we don’t recommend. Here are the top reasons why.

A Lot Of Australian Animals Are Nocturnal

You’ve probably seen them many times before. Animals, like kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and possums are all nocturnal, and we all know that they have a notoriously bad time on Australian roads.

So, to avoid hurting any animals, yourself, or your motorhome, avoid driving once the sun starts going down.

The Weather Can Be An Unexpected Adversary

Australia is gorgeous because of its diverse nature, but if you’re driving in a new state you might get caught off guard by the different weather.

In a state like Queensland you’d have to be aware of high summer temperatures, even during the night. The heat coupled, with general fatigue, can make you feel an incredible amount of exhaustion. This can lead to some highly unwanted outcomes.

On the other hand, if you’re driving in Tasmania during the winter it can become freezing cold and foggy, leading to icy roads that can be slippery and impossible to navigate. Black ice is dangerous even during the daytime, so if you’re driving at night your chances of seeing it are slim to none.

The Outback

The Outback, whilst stunningly gorgeous and breathtaking, deserves a section all on its own as the number one place to avoid driving at night in Australia. In case you’re not familiar with the Outback, you can expect huge red kangaroos appearing from nowhere, isolated roads, limited mobile coverage, high temperatures, and towns that are few and far between.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to contact someone it could still take a tow truck up to 8 hours just to reach you, so you’ll be spending the night alone in the middle of nowhere in unsafe conditions.

If you’re in a place with no mobile coverage, or if you end up unconscious from an injury or from the heatwave, you’ll have to wait for another vehicle to pass before help can even be notified – and in the Outback there’s just no guarantee that someone will happen to pass you.

Low Visibility

If you’re new to driving a motorhome it can be easy to overestimate how much space you have around you – especially when it’s dark.

Also, in rural or forested areas you’re entirely reliant on your headlights. If something jumps out at you, you’re very unlikely to see it until it’s too late. Low visibility lowers our reaction times significantly, so don’t take the risk.

Open Grazing In The Outback

Another hazard of driving in the Outback at night is livestock. A lot of farms don’t have fenced-in areas, which allows animals to move freely through natural corridors so that they can access food, shelter, and water.

Whilst this is good for the animals, it means that they’ll often cross the roads. Just like other wildlife, livestock have significantly slow reaction times, so if they see you coming they likely won’t move out of the way. They also move in herds, which poses an even greater risk if you can’t see them in the dark.

Driver Fatigue

We understand that you have an itinerary that you’re trying to stick to (otherwise why would you risk driving at night), but no grand holiday plan is worth sacrificing your safety for.

Driver fatigue is one of the major causes of fatal accidents on Australian roads, with studies showing that driving whilst you’re tired has the exact same effect on your body as drink driving. Your reaction times will be slow, you won’t be able to concentrate, and you definitely won’t be paying proper attention to what’s going on around you.

So How Can You Avoid Driving At Night In Australia?

It can be tempting to stuff your itinerary full of fun and exciting things, but you need to give yourself the time to enjoy those things as well. Make mindful decisions, give yourself a generous amount of time to travel between destinations, and make sure you’re factoring in time to rest. This way you won’t have to sacrifice your plans or your safety.

If you’re new to driving a motorhome, make sure you research motorhome safety tips so that you can really have a great, stress-free holiday.

If you’re new to the motorhome lifestyle and want to get a feel for things with the added safety net of 24/7 roadside assistance, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to organise a rental by calling our friendly reservations team on 1300 664 485 and check out our Cruisin’ Motorhomes and GoCheap Campervans vehicle pages to see what motorhomes are available to hire at our branches.

Or, if you’re comfortable driving a motorhome and ready to invest in one of your very own, check out the used campervans and motorhomes for sale on our website. If you don’t see the type of vehicle you’re interested in, go ahead and submit an enquiry form or give us a ring on 1300 124 329.