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Road safety: do you know the rules?
We all know speeding is a big no no—but there are many other less obvious ways to break the law on the road. Here’s a few national and state-specific road rules, from the smartphone-era ones to the plain wacky.
Pay attention smartphone addicts, this one’s for you.
In NSW, front seat passengers can’t use FaceTime
Yes, even if you’re not driving! If you’re sitting at the front in NSW, you’ll have to resist the pull of cat filters and video calls—it’s distracting for the driver! The next time you’re riding shotgun and the urge to document the road consumes you, do it the old-fashioned way and snap a pic.
In TAS, you can’t use your smartphone for GPS
Sorry solo road trippers, your phone can’t be your guide to the open road in Tasmania. In the island state, it’s illegal to touch any part of your mobile phone while driving, even if it’s mounted. Remember that ‘Floor is Lava’ game you played as a kid? When you’re coasting through Tassie, try the adult version and keep your hands off your phone.
Though, there is a loophole to this rule—have your phone mounted and avoid touching it at all times. Otherwise, take a lesson from the 90s and use a physical map and a friend.
You can’t pay with your phone at a fast food drive-through
Maccas runs: we all love ‘em, we all do ‘em. But you could be breaking the law on your quest for a cheeseburger. Using your phone at a drive-through can get you demerit points and a fine of up to $500 on top of your meal. Do your next Maccas run the legal way: apply the handbrake, switch the engine off, then get out your phone to pay.
These rules aren’t just good manners—they’re the law!
You can’t stick your arms or legs out of car windows
You’re cruising down the road, the wind is blowing, your arm is lazily draped across the side of your car—sounds great, but it’s also illegal! Keep your limbs to yourself (even if you’re a passenger), or risk hefty fines.
You can’t honk your horn for no reason
The only valid reason to honk your horn is when there’s a traffic or safety concern. And no, road rage doesn’t count.
In NSW, you can’t splash mud on people waiting for the bus
NSW locals best be careful driving near bus stops on rainy days. In this south-eastern state drivers can be fined up to $2,200 for splashing mud on public bus passengers. That’s taking mud stains seriously!
You can’t flash your lights to warn other drivers of speed cameras
If you’ve considered a pact with local drivers to warn of speed cameras, reconsider it. Lay off those lights, or risk fines and demerits. Remember, speed limits are there for a reason.
Fog lights can only be used in fog conditions
It’s easy to get the various types of car lights mixed up. Sometimes you reach for the fog lights when you meant to press the running ones. In normal conditions this is distracting to other drivers, and also illegal.
The plain random
In WA, you can’t transport over 50kg potatoes unless you’re a member of a potato corporation
What can you do with 50kg of potatoes? The possibilities are endless—gigantic potato pie, dodgy French fry den. Sorry to smash your potato fantasies, but it’s an offence unless you’ve bought the potatoes from a retailer authorised by the Potato Corporation of WA.
Potato smuggling is a serious crime. Police can search suspected vehicles, and fines go up to $5000, along with further penalties up to twice the value of the potatoes. We don’t know about you, but we’d say tomatoes are a safer bet.
If you get into an accident with a distracted (smartphone using) driver, or your car gets hit by a truckload of potatoes in WA—AAMI can help! Our Comprehensive Car Insurance will give you cover for damage to your car as well as other people’s vehicles and property. Add on Roadside Assist and AAMI will rescue you if you’re stranded after an emergency (either regular or potato-related). Sign up online now and get $50 off your AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance!
- Take the quiz: why you shouldn’t use a mobile phone while driving
- Australia’s most dangerous roads of 2019—revealed!
- Car safety tips for summer
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