Australia may be surrounded by water on all sides, but as things heat up, the conditions are drying out, which is changing the way we drive. 

Driving in Australia for tourists may already be a new experience due to the fact that we drive on the left-hand side of the road, but if you’re not familiar with these conditions, it’s a good idea to know what to expect during the dry season and how you can prepare for it. 

Note that in Australia, climate zones are so big that it will depend on where you’re driving, so look up the conditions before you arrive or simply ask at the desk if you should expect dryness when picking up your rental car! 

Here’s a little information on how droughts in Australia and other causes of dryness can affect your drive. 

Loose gravel 

No matter where you’re from in the world, you’re probably already familiar with loose gravel on the roads. 

Loose gravel is especially prevalent whenever the weather dries out, which usually means that you’re more likely to kick up tiny stones as you drive. And whether it’s your own tyres or those of another vehicle that do it, a cracked windscreen is no fun for anyone. 

Firstly, be sure to slow down your speed before arriving at a corner where there is loose gravel, as it can reduce the tyres’ grip on the road. You should also allow plenty of room between you and the car in front to reduce the change of a stone from their tyres chipping your screen. 

Also, consider purchasing our Ultimate Protection insurance option, which covers you in the case of a chipped windscreen. 

The first rain 

Another potential issue in very dry weather is actually the least expected – rain. 

As the farmers celebrate a little precipitation, drivers must be more careful as this is when roads are at their slipperiest. 

During a dry spell, materials such as oil and rubber build up on the roads, and form a residue that only increases the longer there is no rain to wash it away. When rain first falls, it mixes with the residue to create a greasy, slippery layer on the roads, meaning that you will need to slow down, be more careful on corners, and try to avoid driving at night when visibility is lower. 

RELATED: 5 driving tips for staying safe in wet weather 

Lower visibility

Driving in Australia can be dusty once you leave the cities, and when things are extra dry, there’s more dust than ever.  

Usually, dust will only seriously impede your vision if you are following another car that’s picking up a dust cloud behind them. In that case, it’s easy enough to slow down and let them and their cloud move ahead. 

Another time that dust can be an issue is if it also becomes windy. Almost like having a car in front of you, this adds more dust into the air, and makes it trickier to see. 

In these conditions, switch your lights on so other vehicles can see you, and if you wish to pull over and wait for conditions to settle, make sure you are well off the road and not a hazard to other drivers or cyclists.

Find more tips for your road trip and get inspired to travel with the latest from the Thrifty blog!