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Driving on Gravel/Logging Roads

25 Oct

“The Graham Road up to Wawang Lake is made up of a finer gravel and the speed limit is 70 km/h, although remember that speed is for ideal conditions only. If it’s rainy or snowing or you just don’t feel comfortable, slow down.”

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Visibility can be an issue due to the dust clouds kicked up by yours and other vehicles although mornings, high humidity and rain will reduce dust dramatically.  The majority of the Graham Road up to our lodge has a dust control chemical put down which keeps the dust to a minimum.  Without that control, the dust can be as thick as fog. It can be difficult to drive through therefore it’s advisable to slow down and drive over to the right as far as the road will allow safely, without mishap.   Sometimes you need to put on your four-ways just so the other vehicles can see you coming.

u3ntitledFlying stones are another hazard to be aware of, especially if you don’t want to lose a headlight, or windshield. If there is a vehicle travelling in front of you, allow plenty of space between the vehicles. Because it takes longer to stop on gravel roads, and dust can impede your visibility, road safety experts suggest a minimum of six seconds of following distance instead of the three seconds usually recommended on paved roads.

The Graham Road is wide and built to government standards allowing for two-way traffic of large profile vehicles.  The road also has a shoulder but keep in mind that larger rocks, logs and other debris are pushed over to the edge and could pose a danger to tires if driven over.

The most important thing to keep in mind on gravel is: slow down. To avoid skidding, when accelerating or turning a corner, do so gently, and brake gradually when slowing down or stopping.  But what if you do begin to feel like you’re losing control?

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Diagram for single vehicle

It comes back to remaining calm. You want to have both hands on the wheel so you are in control of the vehicle. It’s normal for the vehicle to feel like it’s wandering slightly on gravel, but just don’t fight your vehicle – try not to over steer. If your vehicle does begin to skid, don’t hit the brakes. Take your foot off the accelerator and stay calm.

For a more comfortable ride it’s advisable to reduce the air in your tires.  Another important reason why to do this is to avoid flat tires.  Low pressure (softer tires) will roll over rocks and other small logging road debris easier without the mishap of a flat tire.  Normal paved road tire pressure isn’t as fogivable.

Remember, on the Graham Road you’re more likely to see wildlife so be ready for a close encounter along with an approaching vehicle or logging truck.  You’ll want to keep your camera ready because the wildlife our area itself has to offer can make your entire trip to the lodge a great memory.

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