Are you a rule breaker?
Below are 10 Australian road rules we bet you didn’t even know about. Each State and Territory has its own set of rules making it difficult for interstate travellers, but they are all covered by the Road Traffic Act (1961).
Kathryn Fisk and Tom Fraser delve into the fine print and found out there are more than a few rules you may not know about.
1. Tooting your horn
According to Regulation 224 of the Australian Road Rules (ARR), you are a rule breaker if you honk your horn unnecessarily.
Yep, that even includes friendly ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ toots!
“A driver must not use, or allow to be used, a horn, or similar warning device, fitted to or in the vehicle unless it is necessary to warn other road users or animals of the approach or position of the vehicle – or if it is being used as part of an anti-theft device, or an alcohol interlock device, fitted to the vehicle,” the rule reads.
2. Driving abnormally slowly
We’ve all become frustrated with slow drivers, but in some circumstances they technically may be breaking the law by impeding your path. That is, if you’re travelling between 20km/h and 80km/h along a road, you might cop a fine for unreasonably obstructing drivers or pedestrians.
According to the legislation, an example of abnormally slowly is “driving at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour on a length of road to which a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour applies when there is no reason for the driver to drive at that speed on the length of road.”
3. Speeding up while being overtaken
Among the most infuriating moves motorists can make is to speed up just as soon as someone goes to overtake them, but it’s against the law to accelerate while you are being passed by another vehicle on a two-way road…Rule breakers!
According to Regulation 145, “the other driver must not increase the speed at which the driver is driving until the first driver has passed the other driver, has returned to the line of traffic where the other driver is driving and is a sufficient distance in front of the other driver.” Take note, drivers.
4. Not leaving your handbrake on
This rule and the next one are all covered under Regulation 213 of the Act under the subheading of Making a Motor Vehicle Secure.
According to the regulation, “before leaving the vehicle, the driver must apply the parking brake effectively or, if weather conditions (for example, snow) would prevent the effective operation of the parking brake, restrain the vehicle’s movement in another way.”
Remember to add chocks to your car’s snow kit this winter!
5. Leaving your keys in the ignition and car unlocked
Not only is it a cardinal common sense rule, but the Australian Road Rules insist that you must secure your car when away from the driver’s seat.
And that’s before we get to the issue of your insurance company not coughing up if your car is stolen with the keys in the ignition.
6. Using your fog lights in clear conditions
Regulation 217 says it is an offence to operate either front or rear fog lights “unless the driver is driving in fog or other hazardous weather conditions causing reduced visibility.”
According to the rule, a front fog light means any light other than headlight fitted to improve visibility while a rear fog light is defined as “a light other than a brake light, a tail-light, a number plate light or a reversing light which is fitted to the rear of a vehicle to make it more visible.
7. Reversing for too long
Regulation 296 of the Australian Road Rules, it is an offence for a driver of a vehicle to reverse a vehicle “further than is reasonable in the circumstances.”
8. Driving with limbs outside of the car
“A person must not travel in or on a motor vehicle with any part of the person’s body outside a window or door of the vehicle.” That is unless, your car’s so old that you must use your arm to indicate left and right turns.
9. Splashing mud on someone who is using a bus
It’s perfectly okay, it seems, to splash someone waiting for a taxi or a tram with mud – just not somebody waiting for a bus!
10. Stopping near a postbox
Specifically, Road Rule 199 states: “A driver must not stop on a road within three meters of a public postbox.”