Dave Darmody, director and instructor at Australian Offroad Academy
Dave Darmody, director and instructor at Australian Offroad Academy

Why off-road expert calls Fraser ‘Australia’s safest suburb’

THE tragic death of a tourist on Fraser Island should not deter anyone from visiting, an off-road driving instructor says.

Dave Darmody, who runs the Australian Offroad Academy, said he had long believed Fraser Island was "Australia's safest suburb".

He said while incidents on the island, such as the recent fatal shark attack or dingo attacks, got high profile attention, they were not frequent.

"I think that's the response from everyone who visits the island regularly," he said.

"It is a paradise, it holds so much passion for so many people."

Mr Darmody said crashes on the island were often caused by fatigue and changing conditions on the beaches.

"It's just trying to knock off too much in a day," he said.

He said extending a holiday on the island from three days to seven would be his advice.

"It will give you more opportunity to plan out your stay and enjoy it, rather than trying to see everything in three days," he said.

Packing too much into a few days could get people into trouble, Mr Darmody said.

While tagalong tours had been praised for increasing safety on the island, he believed it had been a safe place to visit and drive long before the introduction of the tours.

Mr Damody said he wasn't in favour of compulsory training.

"Statistically speaking, it's really quite safe," he said.

"In any kind of off-road situation the variables are wider.

"There's a wider range of things that can get people into trouble."

Paying attention while driving and being responsive to changing conditions were the most important things drivers could do while visiting the island, he said.



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