Plan Ahead

Western Australia is a large state with unique road and weather conditions from the southern coast to the northern coast.



Make sure you plan your journey and educate yourself on the distances, conditions and weather in the areas to which you will be travelling, so you can enjoy a safe and trouble-free drive in WA.
 

Choose the right vehicle

If you are travelling within a 400km radius of the Perth metropolitan area, a conventional SUV, sedan and hatchback where the majority of roads are sealed and well maintained is ample.

However, if you are travelling longer distances from the Perth metropolitan area, plan to visit the north or east of the state or would like to explore the outback or remote coastline, a well-equipped four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle in good mechancial order would be more appropriate.

Be aware of animals on the road

Drivers need to be aware of Australian wildlife roaming on roads and roadsides.

Kangaroos, cattle, camels and even large birds can stray onto the road or appear suddenly in front of your vehicle.

Be aware that animals on the road will be unpredictable, sometimes heading towards your vehicle rather than away from it.

Drive slowly and do not try to swerve around an animal as you may lose control on the gravel verge.

Gravel and sand roads

The roads outside WA’s cities and towns usually have gravel edges, or, further afield, are made up of red dirt and small stones.

Gravel is like ball-bearings under car tyres. Please slow down on bends and do not brake suddenly as you are likely to skid.

Be aware that gravel and dirt roads also create big clouds of dust and impede visibility, so keep a safe distance behind other vehicles.

Be prepared for dust and stones from cars travelling in the opposite direction.

Driving on sandy tracks requires plenty of skill and often the only suitable vehicle is a four-wheel-drive.

Sand tracks often form pockets like snow drifts which create extra hazard.

Low visibility

Hot and dry conditions in Western Australia create a bushfire risk. Avoid driving when there is smoke on the road.

Torrential rain in the wet season reduces visibility and increases risk on the roads. Switch on your headlights, use the vehicles windscreen wipers and do not attempt to cross flooded roads.

Plan your journey to avoid roads which have been affected by bushfire smoke or flooding.

It is also dangerous to drive directly into the sun. Take a break until the sun rises higher in the sky, or in the evening, wait until the sun sets and drive within the visibility of your headlights.

The Emergency WA website has information and live updates on bushfires, floods and severe weather across the state.

Towing

If you are going to tow a caravan, trailer or boat, be sure you know the legal load limit for your vehicle and make sure your load is well secured.

Heavy or poorly-secured loads can cause rollovers and accidents.

Add 200kg to the weight shown on the vehicle licence paper to allow for bedding, travelling gear, stores and equipment.

The legal speed limit outside a built-up area, unless otherwise signposted, for a vehicle towing a trailer or caravan is 100 km/h.

If your car and caravan is more than 7.5m long you must keep at least 200m behind any similar car/caravan or long vehicle on all roads outside built-up areas, unless you are overtaking.

Be courteous and check regularly to see if traffic is building up behind you. If you are holding up traffic, pull over when it is safe to do so and allow the traffic to pass.

It is not recommended that you tow a caravan on unsealed roads in remote areas. If you take a camper-trailer, make sure it has four-wheel-drive tyres with a high clearance and can handle rough road surfaces.

Using your overseas driver's licence while driving in Western Australia