CAUTION: A car rolled after driving on soft sand at the high tide mark in the dark last Saturday night on Fraser Island.
CAUTION: A car rolled after driving on soft sand at the high tide mark in the dark last Saturday night on Fraser Island.

What can happen if you ignore Fraser Island driving advice

A LUCKY escape for a driver on Fraser Island on Saturday night has prompted a warning about the dangers of driving on the beach.

 

A four-wheel-drive ute rolled while the driver was travelling along the high tide line of soft sand in the dark.

The steep edges from the high tide gave way.

The driver had his seat belt on and was not injured.

Fraser Island Towing owner Dave Elder said the recent weather conditions had eroded the beach and left sheer cliffs where the dunes began.

"We have done a lot of dune rescues recently," he said.

"It is recommended never to drive the beach at night or at high tide. I can't stress enough, don't do these things - 90 per cent of phone calls are accidents from driving at high tide and at night."

Mr Elder said accidents could happen to the most experienced drivers.

"The most common mistake we see is people driving over wash-outs, were the rivers run into the ocean, they come up pretty quick and are hard to see.

"It is easy to get complacent and drop over the top," he said.

"No-one is immune from that, I've seen people who have been going to the island for 30 years be affected by that."

The towing business has been operating on the island for the last six years, has a driver on the island at all times and can be called out almost every day during a busy holiday season.

"The best way to get across the soft sand is to have low pressure in your tyres, around 20psi. Don't change gear and keep your tyres facing in one direction," Mr Elder said.

"The biggest thing is be educated about the tides and do your research.

"I remember one I went to a while ago, a couple had parked their vehicle on the low tide mark and gone for a hike. When they got back, the water was almost over the roof."

Mr Elder said driving at high tide put a lot of stress on the car and could blow a radiator.

"The best example is I went and did a tow job at Orchid Beach and we had to stop to wait for the tide at Champagne Pools," he said.

"The people who were with the broken-down car were a bit impatient and left early.

"We left an hour later and we were on the same barge coming back.

"They had a hell of a time coming down with the car over-heating but they didn't get there any quicker."