4WD expert promotes safe driving in the beautiful outdoors
Adventuring is his bread and butter, but David Hiscox will be the first bloke to tell you when to leave your off-road vehicle off the road.
The owner of Capricorn 4 x 4 and Outdoors in North Rockhampton, Mr Hiscox is committed to his customers having an enjoyable and safe experience, with the emphasis on safe.
“I don’t want to wrap everyone up in cotton wool; there’s a bit too much of that nowadays,” he said.
“Everybody’s got a bit of adventure in them. It’s just a matter of not taking risks unnecessarily.”
Mr Hiscox was responding to last week’s stories about people driving into flooded roads, which gave rise to Morning Bulletin reader inquiries about emergency gadgets, such as windscreen hammers.
He doesn’t sell them at his shop because he reckons they distract from the real message about road safety.
“Do you really want to put yourself in a position where you might have to smash your way out of a flooding car?” he said.
“First, you need breathers for the diff, the gearbox and the transfer case, high up the firewall, otherwise water’s going to seep into your working parts and that would be expensive to fix.
“And if you’ve been heavy on the brakes or towing a caravan, for example, you need to let them cool before you go into cold water otherwise you’re going to warp your discs.”
At the end of the day, Mr Hiscox said, don’t drive into flowing water unless you’re transporting somebody to hospital or some such emergency.
“You can’t see what’s under there and things change quickly,” he said
“Spare a thought for the people who’ve got to risk their lives to come rescue you if something goes wrong.”
He also disagrees with people going for a rainy day spin on the forestry and national parks roads, just for the sake of it.
“It just causes too much damage and that’s our tax dollars that have to fix the roads up after,” he said.
“Maybe the Council should often up some Crown land, like up behind the Mt Morgan dam, for people to have a safe play off the roads.”
Mr Hiscox stocks all the gear drivers need to set their vehicles up for exploring Australia’s remote and beautiful areas.
“I love helping people experience the beaches and headlands, the snow and the deserts,” said the seasoned traveller, who grew up touring around Armidale and Lismore.
“There’s a lot of stuff available which is lighter and less stressful to use, like the relatively new soft shackles instead of the hard ones.”
In February, he hosted more than 500 drivers from CQ and interstate, at the Safety on the Sand workshops on Farnborough Beach.
The event was inspired by a Bangalee memorial to Christopher Poulson who lost his life three years ago in a towing accident.
“We showed them how to repair tyres and hook up the recovery straps, how to radio on and off beaches,” he said.
When it comes to local drivers, Ms Hiscox said the number one mistake was still not letting your tyres down.
“Farnborough, you may not need to but, when it comes to Five Rocks then, unless it’s been raining, you really want to get them down to 12 PSI,” he said.
“And if everyone dropped them to 12 PSI, we wouldn’t see so much gouging around the dunes and damage to the environment.”