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Australia's Hidden Traffic Rules: Lesser-Known Regulations you Shouldn't Ignore

In Australia, most individuals, especially those who have received formal training at a driving school, have a firm understanding of fundamental traffic regulations designed to enhance road safety. These rules, ranging from adhering to speed limits to stopping at red lights and yielding at intersections, serve as the bedrock of responsible driving 

Yet, beneath the familiar surface of these well-established regulations, there exists a multitude of lesser-known but equally vital traffic rules that frequently escape notice or are easily forgotten. Amid the fast-paced demands of everyday life, it's easy to overlook these hidden traffic regulations. Nevertheless, they serve as a critical factor in upholding order, minimising accidents, and elevating road safety on the whole. 

Consequently, comprehending these rules accurately becomes of utmost importance, and that's where this article comes into play. This article will discuss eight hidden rules that will help you become a proficient driver and will make you stand above others.

Top 8 Lesser Known Australian Regulations

Driving in Australia can be a unique experience, especially if you're used to driving in other countries. The traffic rules, often taught in a reputable driving school, are legislated on a state and territory basis, which means they can vary slightly depending on where you are. While many rules are common knowledge, there are some lesser-known regulations you might not know. Here are some of them:

●      Tooting Your Horn

In Australia, the use of your vehicle's horn is strictly prohibited. The Regulation 224 of the Australian Road Rules (ARR) deals with this. Unlike some countries where a friendly honk is a common form of greeting, Australian traffic rules limit the use of your horn to specific situations. The primary purposes of your horn are to warn other road users of your presence or to alert animals on or near the road. 

The restriction on unnecessary honking includes those friendly 'hello' and 'goodbye' toots. This rule is in place to prevent noise pollution and maintain a peaceful driving environment. 

While it might be tempting to use your horn casually, respecting this regulation is essential. Unwarranted horn use can startle other drivers, leading to potentially dangerous situations on the road

●      Driving Abnormally Slowly

Many drivers are aware of speed limits, but not everyone is mindful that driving at excessively low speeds can result in penalties. When you drive at speeds ranging from 20 km/h to 80 km/h on a road without a legitimate reason, you could potentially face fines for unreasonably impeding other motorists or pedestrians. 

This rule is enforced to maintain the efficient movement of traffic. Driving well below the speed limit can contribute to traffic jams, annoyance, and possibly even accidents, especially in areas where other drivers anticipate a steady pace of movement.

●      Speeding Up While Being Overtaken

On two-way roads, it is illegal to increase your speed while another vehicle is overtaking you, a fundamental concept commonly taught during a driving lesson. This rule serves to safeguard both the drivers involved in the overtaking manoeuvre. 

When a driver accelerates while being overtaken, it can create a hazardous situation where the overtaking vehicle may need to take evasive measures. This could result in a collision or force the overtaking vehicle into oncoming traffic. Adhering to this regulation helps ensure that overtaking manoeuvres are executed safely and without added risk.

●      Not Leaving Your Handbrake On

According to Regulation 213 of the Australian Road Rules, it is a requirement to securely engage the parking brake (handbrake) before exiting a vehicle. This regulation serves a vital purpose in preventing unattended vehicles from accidentally rolling, thus mitigating the risk of accidents, property damage, or injuries. 

Ensuring that the handbrake is engaged when leaving a vehicle is a critical safety measure that all drivers should observe to prevent accidents from unintended vehicle movement.

●      Leaving Your Keys in the Ignition and Car Unlocked

Leaving your vehicle unlocked and unattended on the road is deemed an offence in numerous Australian states. As per NSW Road Rule 213, Subsection 5, when a driver is situated more than three metres away from the vehicle, and there is no one inside, it is mandatory to ensure all windows are closed and all doors are securely locked. 

This rule is implemented to discourage car theft and bolster vehicle security. Failing to adhere to this regulation may render your vehicle vulnerable to theft or unauthorised entry.

●      Using Your Fog Lights in Clear Conditions

Fog lights are valuable for improving visibility in adverse weather conditions, such as fog, heavy rain, or snow. However, utilising them in favourable weather conditions can blind other drivers and hinder their visibility. 

Consequently, using fog lights when there's no fog or reduced visibility due to adverse weather is considered an offence. You must familiarise yourself with when and how to use your vehicle's lights appropriately to avoid causing discomfort or danger to other road users.

●      Reversing for too Long

There is a limit to how far you can reverse on a public road. Excessive reversing can be dangerous due to limited visibility, and it might be considered an offence in some situations. 

This regulation exists to guarantee road safety. Drivers should avoid unnecessarily long reversing manoeuvres, particularly in areas with high pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

●      Driving With Body Parts Outside of the car

Operating a vehicle with any body part, including arms, legs, or fingers, protruding outside the window or door is illegal. This rule is put in place to emphasise safety. The act of extending limbs outside the vehicle can elevate the risk of injury in the event of an accident. 

Ensuring that all body parts remain within the confines of the vehicle is crucial to minimise the potential for harm in case of a collision or any abrupt manoeuvres on the road.

The Bottom Line

Following these principles helps to create a safer driving environment and lowers the likelihood of an accident. Following these guidelines will also keep you out of legal trouble. Whether you're a seasoned driver or new to Australian roads, you should take the time to learn these lesser-known rules. 

Additionally, if you want to improve your driving skills and understand these traffic rules of Australia effectively, consider enrolling with Onroad Driving School. We are a leading driving education provider in Australia. 

We commit to teaching safe and responsible driving practices. Our highly skilled driving instructors are equipped to provide valuable insights and practical guidance, empowering you to develop into a more confident and secure driver. Visit Onroad Driving School today!

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