Summer is all about the outdoors – weekend getaways for the surf and sun, outdoor games/competitions, concerts, barbeque invites – and may involve a bit, or a lot of driving. This new year, we re-familiarise you with a few old road rules that might have become a distant memory over the Christmas break.
As you get back to routine, and behind the wheel, we encourage you to brush up on these road rules listed below.
- A toot ‘goodbye’ can lead to an infringement notice in all Australian jurisdictions. You can be fined if you use your horn for anything other than warning animals or other road users, or if it’s fitted to the car’s security system or alcohol interlock device.
- It is well known that talking or texting on your mobile while driving is a big no-no, but did you know that holding or touching the phone is classified as ‘using a handheld device’ and incurs the same penalty? It is also worth noting that this includes a GPS.
- 1 metre rule: In most states, drivers can be fined for giving less than one metre of space when passing a cyclist when travelling less than 60km/h and less than 1.5 metres when travelling over 60km/h. In NSW, you could cop a $319 fine and two demerit points.
- While it seems to be an unwritten Australian custom to alert drivers of cops up ahead, flashing your headlights is an offence unless being used to respond to an emergency. In NSW, this carries a fine of $108 and 1 demerit point.
- It is illegal to drive with your fog lights on in Australia unless there is fog, mist or other atmospheric conditions that restrict visibility. You can be fined $100 and lose one demerit point in WA.
- U-turn permitted: In most Australian states, it is illegal to make a U-turn at an intersection unless there is a U-turn permitted sign or a green U-turn traffic light. Only in VIC can you make a U-turn in the absence of the sign (It is only illegal when a U-turn prohibited sign is displayed).
- Left your licence at home? In QLD, you may be given up to 48 hours to present it to a police station. If however you are in NSW or TAS, you are likely to face a fine. ($50 in TAS or $106 in NSW).
- In Victoria, you can be fined for having a bike rack fitted to your vehicle when it is not carrying bicycles.
- 3 metre rule: In QLD and VIC, your windows must be up and your car secure if you are more than three metres away. In QLD, you could receive a $44 fine.
- Fact: it is not illegal to drive in thongs. It is however advised by safety experts to drive barefoot so your feet can grip the pedals.
Drive safe and enjoy the summer.