Australian Road Rules: Advice for Travellers

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This one is for the travellers out there. If you have landed in Australia, or you are planning your journey here, and you will be hiring a car to travel around there are a few important things you need to know. As you might expect, Australian road rules differ from other countries.

To keep you safe, and free from annoying parking fines on your holiday, here are the basics for Australian road rules:

  • If you are driving slowly and getting adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings, the lane you should be in is the leftmost lane (if there is more than one lane available).
  • If you’re traveling on a highway or motorway, Australian traffic rules say you should stay in the left lane unless you’re overtaking. There are usually signs that will remind you of this.
  • If you’re entering and crossing an intersection, drivers usually give way to the motorist on the right unless they are located at a STOP sign. At a T intersection, the motorist that is driving straight through has the right of way.
  • Don’t use your car horn — unless in a situation where you really need to warn another driver, for instance, if they are about to hit you.
  • No talking or using your phone when you are driving. Don’t check your messages or answer calls, unless you have a good hands-free system set up. Fines can be up to $350 dollars.
  • The speed limit in residential areas is usually set at 60 kilometres per hour (35mph), but this has been reduced in many places to 50 kilometres per hour, especially in Brisbane suburbs and a number of Sydney areas. Be watchful of the speed limits on the signs and do check with the locals if possible. On country roads and highways the usual speed limit has been 100km per hour (62mph) or 110km per hour (68mph), particularly on the highway.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive — the limit here is .05 which is usually only about 1 drink per hour.
  • Seat belts must be worn by drivers and passengers at all times.

Some road signs to take note of:

  • NO STANDING. Well, sure, you can’t be standing while driving a car. What this means is you can’t stop in the area indicated, unless to let a passenger get in or out of the car. You definitely can’t park here. If you do you could get fined. Or even worse, your car will get towed.
  • NO STOPPING. Unless in the event of serious medical emergency, do not stop in the area specified.
  • NO PARKING. This is pretty self explanatory. You can pick up and drop off passengers quickly but don’t leave your vehicle parked here.
  • BUS ZONE. Only for buses and taxis.
  • LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE. If you’re driving a truck, ute or van you can park here, but only if you are delivering or picking up something from the business’s address.

Whether you’re driving your own car or a car rental, you should always follow road rules. It doesn’t matter if the car isn’t registered under your name. Remember that breaking the rules will definitely put a dent on your record and on your wallet. Drive safe!