You’ve been behind the same car for over twenty minutes now. Out here on these long country roads, that’s hardly unheard of – it’s not as though there are that many places to turn off, unless you live on one of these stations or are going to see a man about a sheep. Still, you can’t help paying attention to this car. It’s (a) new and shiny, (b) a sort of metallic orange, and (c) perilously under-equipped for outback driving.
What’s more, there’s a huge cloud of smoke billowing out its back end. That’s the main thing that’s been holding your attention. You wonder if the clown driving it has any idea, or if he’s so absorbed in a podcast that he hasn’t even noticed his impending doom. You caught a glimpse of him on a sharp bend a while back, and it’s safe to say he’s reasonably oblivious. Aaand… yep, there it goes.
You watch the orange slicker-mobile grind to a halt, blending seamlessly into a cloud of orange dust, which is punctured only by the hazard lights coming on. Maybe this goofslinger isn’t completely clueless after all (just mostly clueless). Maybe you’ll try and help. Then again, given how new the car looks, old mate’s probably going to want a bona fide log book service, not advice from an akubra-wearing local in a modded out 4WD. But then, what are his options out here?
At a glance, you reckon the problem might be auto electrical. Around Toowoomba, you’ll sometimes see drivers trying to test the limits of their zippy little city cars, and not until about this far out that they start to realise they’ve pushed it. We’re talking unsealed roads with rocks and potholes galore, and all at 80km/hour. Frankly, everyone’s better off in a 4WD in this neck of the woods, but you can’t say that to out-of-towners – they get all freaked out and think you’re deliberately trying to make them feel inadequate.