Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Cairns and Hinterland Local Ambulance Service Network Acting Assistant Commissioner Warren Martin said it is essential travellers are prepared to reduce the risk of a road traffic crash.
“The far north population swells during winter, with many southern travellers flocking north to enjoy the warmer weather,” he said.
“It is wise to plot your route in advance and research road conditions, especially as many roads may still be damaged from Tropical Cyclone Nathan which impacted North Queensland earlier this year.
“We advise travellers to drive to the road conditions and seek advice before driving on rough or dirt roads if unfamiliar with this road surface.
“We also encourage drivers to take regular breaks to reduce fatigue and pull over to use their mobile phone as distraction and inattention are major cause of traffic crashes.
“It is also important to ensure your vehicle and caravan or camper trailer are in good working order before leaving home and pack enough supplies, including food, water and medications in case of an emergency."
Mr Martin also encouraged travellers to consider taking a satellite phone to ensure they can contact Triple Zero (000) to report an emergency.
“A lot of rural areas do not have phone reception, and so a satellite phone or Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) is essential to be able to alert authorities of an emergency,” he said.
“Most stations and homesteads in the region also have landlines that can be used to call Triple Zero (000), so that’s always another option.”
Mr Martin also urged travellers to download the free Emergency+ App from the iTunes and Google Play Stores to their smartphone to assist with pinpointing their location in an emergency.
“Although we encourage travellers to take note of street names, landmarks, stations and homesteads they pass, the Emergency+ App can also assist to verify your location,” he said.
“The Emergency+ App displays your phone's GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude), which must then be passed verbally to the Emergency Medical Dispatcher when calling Triple Zero (000).
“Having the Emergency+ App on your phone may save a life of a loved one in a time critical emergency.”