Vehicles must have a UHF radio (preferably vehicle-mounted) tuned to Channel 14, or that specified by the trip leader, and carry the following basic recovery equipment:
- Suitable recovery points both front and rear
- Snatch strap and rated bow shackle
- Shovel or spade
- Axe or bowsaw
- First Aid Kit
- Personal medical information
- and any other equipment as specified by the trip leader
We also recommend the following as being highly desirable:
- Spare parts and tool kit suitable to the vehicle and type of trip
- Fire extinguisher within reach of the driver
- Air Compressor
- Tyre Pressure Gauge
- Jacking Plate
- Vehicle Manual
2. Convoy Procedures
- Start — At the commencement of the trip, the Trip Leader shall arrange the convoy order and nominate a vehicle to be last in the convoy (Tail-End-Charlie or TEC).
- Communications — Convoy communication shall be by the designated CB Radio or UHF Radio channel selected. The nationally recognised 4WD convoy channel is Channel 10 on both AM and UHF frequencies. Note: Wangaratta 4×4 Club uses Channel 14 unless leader specifies otherwise.
- If you are unable to make radio contact, flash your headlights onto the vehicle ahead. This is a signal for the rest of the the convoy to stop.
- Keep unnecessary chatter on the radio to a minimum when navigating difficult areas.
- If in any doubt of the best / safest way to proceed through hazards / obstacles, ask the Trip Leader or a more experienced driver for advice. Remember you probably won’t be the only one experiencing difficulty.
- Acknowledge all radio calls to yourself from the Trip Leader.
- Travelling — Keep the vehicle behind you in view at all times and at any decision point (corner, deviation, obstacle):
- Wait for the following vehicle
- Indicate where to go (use indicators if appropriate)
- When acknowledgment is received (use your indicator, flash your headlights or by the radio) then proceed.
- Drive at your comfortable and safe speed. Generally keep 4-6 vehicle lengths distance between vehicles and keep the convoy moving.
- On step inclines / obstacles:
- Proceed one vehicle at a time
- On very steep or difficult terrain:
- Call the next vehicle through when you are clear
- All gates are to be left as they were found. The Trip Leader is responsible to ensure that the last vehicle knows to leave the gate open or closed.
- Vehicles should not leave the convoy other than in exceptional circumstances and before doing so must obtain approval from the Trip Leader.
- Remember you are responsible for the vehicle behind!
- Code of Ethics — At all times abide by road rules and regulations and drive in a manner consistent with the 4WDriver’s Code of Ethics.
3. UHF Radio
UHF is widely used for vehicle to vehicle communication. On club trips it’s essential for all vehicles to have a UHF radio in the vehicle either fitted or a hand held radio and tuned to the channel specified by the leader. Note: The club has some spare UHF handheld radios that can be loaned to new participants.
Click this link UHF Radio (pdf) to download and view information on UHF radios.
4. General Advice
- Quick Tips — Dirt Roads/Tracks, Sand, Rocks, Mud & Snow (pdf)
- Water Crossings (pdf)
- Beach Driving (pdf)
- Mud Driving (pdf)
- Rock Driving (pdf)
- Automatics — “Driving through the brakes technique” (pdf)
- Snatch Straps & Recovery (pdf)
- Winches – Electric, Hand & Maintenance (pdf)
- Hand Winch Options (pdf). Click [HERE] to also watch the Video
- Tyre Tips (pdf)
- Repairing Flat Tyres in the Bush. Click [HERE] to view the article & videos
- Snow Chains (pdf). Click [HERE] to also watch the Video.
- 4WD Handbook (edition 2 May 2014) – by Robert Pepper
- 1st Aid Kits (pdf)
- Safety Flags in the Simpson Desert (pdf)
- Emergency Telephone No’s — Triple ‘000’ & 112 (pdf)
- UHF Radio (pdf)
- Handheld Satellite Phone Solutions for Travellers (pdf)
- Iridium Satphone 9555 — Club User Manual (pdf)
5. Trip Rating
- Easy — little or no Four Wheel Driving experience required. Road tyres are acceptable. Front and rear recovery points at Trip Leader’s discretion. Expected track classification to be encountered – Green.
- Medium — low range may be needed with a snatch strap recovery possible. All terrain tyres preferred. Front and rear recovery points (rated), basic recovery gear (snatch strap, 2 rated shackles and gloves), and appropriate driver training. Expected track classification to be encountered – Green and Blue.
- Hard — steep terrain or rutted tracks. Snatch strap and / or winching recovery may be required. All terrain tyres acceptable, mud terrain tyres preferred, road tyres are not acceptable. Front and rear recovery points (rated), basic recovery gear (snatch strap, 2 rated shackles and gloves), and appropriate driver training. Winch and full recovery gear is preferred. Expected track classification to be encountered – mostly Blue & Black
- Extreme — very steep, deeply rutted tracks or rock hopping will be encountered. Front and rear recovery points (rated), full recovery gear (snatch strap, rated shackles, tree trunk protector, winch extension, drag chain and gloves), and appropriate driver training. Winching will be expected and an electric or motorised winch is compulsory on all vehicles. Mud terrain or swamper style tyres essential. Warning: Vehicle damage may occur. Expected track classification to be encountered – Black & Double Black.
A track grading classification scale has been developed to assist in advising Trip Leaders and participants on 4WD trips of the type of tracks that they can expect to encounter. It is intended, over time, for all 4WD tracks to be rated according to this scale an sign-posted accordingly.
On most 4WD trips participants can expect that a variety of tracks will be traversed each with an appropriate rating. Trip Leaders should advise participants of the range of track ratings expected to be encountered on the planned route.
The following classification will assist in determining an overall Trip Rating:
7. 4WDriver’s Code of Ethics
Four Wheel Drive Australia (ANFWDC) has produced this document in the interest of promoting responsible recreational vehicle use.
- Obey the laws and regulations for Recreational Vehicles that apply to public lands.
- Respect the cultural, heritage and environmental values of public / private land by obeying restrictions that may apply.
- Respect our flora and fauna. Stop and look but never disturb.
- Keep to formed vehicle tracks.
- Keep the environment clean. Carry your own and any other rubbish out.
- Keep your vehicle mechanically sound and clean to reduce the environmental impact.
- Adopt minimal impact camping and driving practices.
- Seek permission before driving on private land. Do not disturb livestock or watering points, leave gates as found.
- Take adequate water, food, fuel, basic spares and a first aid kit on trips. In remote areas travel with another vehicle and have appropriate communications.
- Enjoy your recreation and respect the rights of others.
- Plan ahead and lodge trip details with a responsible person.
- Support four-wheel drive touring as a responsible and legitimate family recreational activity. Consider joining an affiliated four-wheel drive club.
- Report inappropriate behaviour (Bush Telegraph) telephone: 12 28 74.