5 Road Rules You Probably Didn’t Know Exist
Being across Australian road rules seems like a prerequisite for getting your license, right? While all Australian licenses, from your Learner’s to your Provisionals and even full-license all require computerised tests that indicate you have a sound knowledge of road rules, there’s little chance you actually know every road rule that exists.
That’s likely down to the sheer amount of road rules there actually are and the fact that most of them simply prevent things that our common sense tells us not to do anyway so there’s no need to mention them. But we’re betting there are a few driving habits that are actually against the law that you didn’t know about, and there’s a good chance you’ve broken some of these rules yourself.
1. Honking your horn
Unless you’ve got a good and safe reason to be using your horn, it’s hands-off according to the law. Regulation 224 of the Australian Road Rules reads “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 it is being used as part of an anti-theft device, or an alcohol interlock device, fitted to the vehicle.”
That means that those goodbye toots you use as a farewell as you’re driving away from a family member or friends place, honking to get the attention of someone you’re picking up and even that angry honk you give someone who’s annoyed you on the road, are all illegal.
2. Accelerating while being taken over
We all hate it when someone we’re about to overtake suddenly speeds up and it turns out they’re not just being annoying, they’re actually breaking the law. That’s because it’s illegal to be accelerating when someone pulls out to pass you on a two-way road.
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.”
3. Leaving the keys in the ignition and your car unlocked
Here’s one of those rules you don’t realise is actually a law because it should just be common sense to not leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. What you probably don’t know is that this law extends to securing your windows as well meaning you can’t leave them even partially down if you’re going to be more than three metres away from your vehicle.
Regulation 213 states, “the driver must remove the ignition key before leaving the vehicle. If the driver will be over three metres from the closest part of the vehicle and there is no-one left in the vehicle, the driver must secure the windows immediately before leaving the vehicle (if the windows of the vehicle can be secured) and lock the doors immediately after leaving the vehicle (if the doors of the vehicle can be locked).”
4. Driving abnormally slow
There’s no doubt you’re aware that exceeding the speed limit is a quick way to get in trouble with the law but driving too far underneath the indicated limit is also illegal. While there are no solid rules around how slow is too slow, any speed that unnecessarily impedes other drivers or even pedestrians is a no no.
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.”
5. Making a U-Turn
We all have to make an occasional U-Turn, whether it’s because you’ve followed bad directions and need to correct your course or even just want to grab a park on the other side of the road. But it’s actually illegal to perform a U-Turn across an unbroken and continuous line, even if you’re on a residential street.
Instead, you’ll need to continue driving until your side of the road is marked with a broken line and overtaking is permitted.