Things go wrong in the outback. I'm here to help you understand when to start eating crickets and burning tyres! Being prepared is vital but this article isnt about how to be prepared, its about when to throw rocks at birds and burn your car seats!
I personally know that feeling when everything is going wrong and you start feeling totally under prepared. Unfortunately its in these moments people can make bad decisions and end up paying the ultimate price. This article is not about preparation its about what to do when things go from bad to worse.
Don’t Panic, I’m a sucker for this, I get caught up with the adrenaline and attack the problem like there is 10 minutes until the end of the world. On our Easter trip down the old Ghan we had a flat tyre on the camper trailer on the last morning of our trip, we wanted to get away quickly and when I realised that the Car wheel brace was not going to fit and I had no long sockets that were the right size I started getting hectic! Long story short with the addition of a breaker bar an extension bar and precision nut removal and replacement I was able to get the spare changed over eventually. During all this I had emptied the toolbox off the roof, had the drill out trying to attach different things to it and made a complete mess. Now had I slown down and thought logically about the situation I would have walked to the back of the car got the air compressor out pumped the tyre up and had a look to see if I could plug it, turns out I could have so I turned what could have been a 20 minute job into a 3 hour job and I was tired at the end of it all. Now this is a very minor issue however I can see how when things continue to go wrong the effect can snow ball. I have a cure for this stress and anxiety though. Gratitude, it is impossible to get caught up by the stress and anxiety of the situation if you are feeling grateful. Make a cup of Tea and appreciate your surrounds feel grateful for your opportunity to explore these great area’s, think about your family ect. I would even think about what I have to be grateful for in the situation. For example in my tyre changing saga I should have been grateful for having a huge range of tools and options available to me in my tool kit, I had enough food and water to last 2 weeks ect.
Now if your ever in the situation where everything is going wrong here are a few tips you can hopefully call on for inspiration.
Tip 1; Stay with your vehicle! Regardless if you’re out of water, out of food out of everything stay where you are. As dire as things may seem, your car offers shelter and is easier to locate then a single person.
Tip 2; Use your UHF, Make regular call’s for help, try all channels paying particular attention to channel 40. Also if you have map books take a detailed look, some note the UHF channel surrounding roadhouses and cattle stations use.
Tip 3; Make a bush still, the earlier you do this the better! If you’re running out of water make a bush still. Another source of water is your washer bottle (If you have not put additive in it.
Tip 4; Get attention! If a self-rescue is out of the question, get busy lighting fires, you have at least 5 tyres these are a great item to burn as anyone in the area will see the thick black smoke and hopefully will come to have a look at what is on fire. If you burn all your tyres and still no luck start dismantling you care, seats burn well upholstery ect. Mirrors, snap off a mirror and start directing light at planes that pass over head do anything to attract attention.
Tip 5; Get attention! If a self-rescue is out of the question, get busy lighting fires, you have at least 5 tyres these are a great item to burn as anyone in the area will see the thick black smoke and hopefully will come to have a look at what is on fire. If you burn all your tyres and still no luck start dismantling you care, seats burn well upholstery ect. Mirrors, snap off a mirror and start directing light at planes that pass over head do anything to attract attention.
Tip 6; Catch insects or birds. Insects are the way to go, high in protein and becoming fashionable in western diets already. If you can put on some lights of nighttime and you should be able to attract a few easy to catch bugs. Birds are also an option. Catching them maybe tricky however if you can throw a rock your in with a chance. Look at any maps you may have as they often have some basic bush food information in them.
Tip 7; get creative and back yourself, If your clearly not going to drive your car out in its current condition and no one is on their way to help get creative and have a crack at fixing the problem your self. Here are a few points to help you get started.
Fault light won’t clear? Pull out every fuse in the car, take your time and map where they need to go back into, also check each fuse as it comes out to make sure it is not broken, wait 20 min and plug them all back in. Your car manual will help locate where all the fuses are kept.
Broken Fuel lines, Get creative with any hosing that you may have with you.
Broken Fuel tank try wedging a object into the hole, failing this you can disconnect the fuel lines and put them straight into a jerry can with fuel in it or similar. If your fuel pump fail’s try attaching the fuel lines to a container of fuel such as a jerry can and gravity feeding the fuel to the engine.
Flat Tyres, On the bush mechanics show they stuffed a flat tyre with spinerfex and kept going. I don’t know how true this is but maybe worth a try.
Broken fan belt. Try rope or nylon stocking to gain traction.
Broken Radiator. Lead melts at low temperatures, Ill let you figure the rest of this one out.
Don’t Panic easier said then done. Try to relax and stay calm. You do have time on your side. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. Try to get creative about the problem you are trying to solve.
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