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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.
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.
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.
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’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.
The only valid reason to honk your horn is when there’s a traffic or safety concern. And no, road rage doesn’t count.
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!
Think you know all you can about Victorian road rules?
Let’s take a look at five road safety rules drivers commonly get wrong.
Performing a hook turn doesn’t need to be stressful – just follow these simple steps.
First, safely move into the left lane
If the light is green, move through the intersection, keeping as far left as possible…
And remain here until the traffic lights on the road you want to enter turn green.
Then, wait for any traffic in the intersection to clear before turning right.
Before entering a roundabout, give way to all vehicles – including trams and bikes – that are already on the roundabout, and use your indicator to tell other vehicles which direction you’re heading.
Check that the lane you want to exit is free of traffic and then enter when there is a safe gap.
And remember to indicate left to tell other drivers that you’re exiting the roundabout.
At tram stops, always stop at the rear of the tram… and give way to pedestrians, especially those in a hurry!
Once the tram doors close and pedestrians are clear, you can pass the tram at no more than 10 kilometres per hour.
If there is a tram safety zone, you can pass at a safe speed while the tram is stopped…
but keep an eye out for pedestrians racing across the road to catch the tram!
When two lanes merge together without a dashed line the driver at the rear must give way to the vehicle at the front.
Where there is a dashed line, the vehicle merging must give way to other vehicles.
When it comes to changing lanes, give way to vehicles already in the lane you want to enter.
Indicate and merge when there’s a safe gap and always remember to do a ‘head check’ for your blind spot you can’t see all other vehicles just by using your mirrors.
When doing a U-turn, give way to all other vehicles and pedestrians even if other vehicles have a ‘Give way’ sign or are turning right.
Signal right and perform your U-turn without disrupting other traffic.
Remember: you can’t perform a U-turn over a single continuous line…a double line…or at a ‘no U-turn’ sign.
If there’s a ‘Give way’ sign or Give way line you need to give way to any vehicle in, approaching or entering the intersection.
The same goes for a ‘Stop sign’ or ‘Stop line’, but you must also come to a complete stop before giving way.
If an oncoming vehicle is turning right they need to give way to you if you’re going straight ahead or turning left.
If you’re turning right and the vehicle opposite you is turning left or going straight they have right of way.
If you’re both turning right, you can both proceed when there’s no oncoming traffic.
If an intersection is blocked, don’t enter it only proceed if there’s enough room for you to exit the intersection.
The same goes for pedestrian crossings:
Only proceed through a crossing if there’s enough room for you to cross it completely.
If a vehicle is making a U-turn, they must give way to you.
At T-intersections, you must give way to all vehicles on the continuous road.
Accidents happen… even when we follow all the road safety rules.
That’s why it’s important to have insurance cover for your car.
Plus, did you know you can get $50 off a new AAMI comprehensive car insurance policy when you quote and buy online?
Head to aami.com.au to find out more. And while you're there check out the AAMI informed blog for resources and handy hints and tips.
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!
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.