Car Essentials for Driving Down Under

driving a car

Australia’s roads can give you some of the best driving experiences of your life. Wide-open roads that stretch for miles, magnificent scenery, and no snow or ice to worry about. However, driving down under comes with certain risks and conditions, most of which can be solved with minor modifications to your vehicle.

UV Shielding

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world — mostly because of UV exposure. Harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun is more concentrated, being so close to the equator, and the clear skies aren’t helping. UV concentrations down under can be 15 percent higher than what you’re usually exposed to if you’re coming from outside the country. Several research studies have found correlations between the amount of time spent driving and higher occurrences of skin cancer. While sunblock can give a modicum of protection when you’re out in the sun, nobody uses them when they’re driving. Get your car fitted with a UV filtering film. It only takes a few minutes, and they don’t cost that much. UV film can protect you from 99 percent of UV radiation from the sun. They can come tinted or clear, so you don’t have to worry about changing your car’s appearance.

A Dashcam

Insurance scams are everywhere, and Australia is no exception. There have been several incidents where a scammer would overtake a car and then hit the brakes, causing an accident. He would later claim the other driver was on the phone or distracted. Motorbikes and mopeds have been deliberately rammed into cars — some of them even while stationary — to make a false claim. While scams like these are not so prevalent in countries that use dashcams extensively, they still make the rounds in Australia because less than 10 percent of car owners have one installed. An electronic witness is invaluable — whether to prove your innocence or the liability of another. They cost less than AU$200, which is a pittance compared to what it will cost if you get scammed.

New Mufflers

family roadtrip

Muscle cars don’t get a fair shake in Australia. While there are numerous racing circuits in the country where you can drive to your heart’s content, your Shelby Mustangs and Maclarens might not exactly be street legal. Australia has strict regulations regarding engine and exhaust noise. Anything above 90 decibels can get you a stiff fine and keep your car away from the road, and you better believe that your neighbors won’t hesitate to report your vehicle. Police or EPA personnel can require your vehicle to be tested once they receive a noise complaint. Noise-canceling mufflers can take a small bite out of your vehicle’s performance, but it allows you to use your car for everyday driving. It takes minutes to install, and you can easily take it out yourself if ever you’re on the racing circuit.

Keep your car safe from the sun, scam artists, and nosy neighbors. A few dollars spent on a few add-ons can save you a lot of money and keep your car on the road.

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