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11 Australian road rules you may not be aware of

Source: Image obtained by SBS Punjabi

Did you know a toot 'goodbye' is illegal? You can be penalised for using your car horn for anything other than warning other road users or animals.

While many of you would have been driving for many years without incurring a fine or any demerit points, but there are some road rules that you are perhaps breaking inadvertently. We spoke to Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader Craig Lynch about these:

1. Honking goodbye

A toot ‘goodbye’ isn't uncommon but it can lead to an infringement notice. 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.


2. Even just touching your phone

Holding a mobile phone and talking or texting while driving, as you all know, is an offence. But even touching it can get you hefty fine and demerit points. Holding or touch the phone is classified as 'using a handheld device' and incurs the same penalty.

3.Touching your GPS device

Touching the GPS while driving incurs the same penalty as touching or texting on the phone. 

4. Failing to leave space for cyclists

Watch out for cyclists when you are driving because if you fail to give a cyclist less than one-metre space when passing them, you may have to fork out $319 and demerit points in fine in NSW. When travelling over 60km/h, the space has to 1.5 meters. 

5. Flashing your headlights inappropriately

Motorists are often seen flashing headlight to alert other about a speed camera or a police drug test unit. But, it's actually an offence to flash your headlights unless being used to respond to an emergency. In NSW, it carries a fine of $108 and 1 demerit point.  

6. Using fog lights inappropriately

Use fog lights only when there is fog, mist or other conditions that restrict visibility. Driving with fog lights on without a valid reason is an offence and getting caught doing so may set you back by $100 and a demerit point in Western Australia.


7. 'Chucking a U-ey'

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 Victoria can you make a U-turn in the absence of the sign. It's illegal to make a U-turn where 'U-turn not permitted' sign is displayed.

8. Leaving your license at home

In QLD, you may be given up to 48 hours to present it to a police station. However, if you are in NSW or Tasmania, you are likely to face a fine. 

9. Hauling an empty bike rack

In Victoria, you can be fined for having a bike rack fitted to your vehicle when it is not carrying bicycles

10. Leaving your windows open when unattended

In Queensland and Victoria, your car windows must be up and your car secure if you are more than three metres away.

11. Parking your car on a nature strip can get you a fine 

And finally, a mythbuster: while it is not actually illegal to drive in thongs it is however advised by safety experts to drive barefoot so your feet can still grip the pedals.

For more news and updates, follow SBS Punjabi on Facebook.  

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