Australian traffic laws ensure that drivers of all ages travel as safely as possible. To ensure safer driving practices among its drivers, the country has implemented strict licensing requirements, detailed traffic signs, driving rules, and safety laws. This article is a quick rundown of some Australian traffic regulations and speed limit road signs that may be inconsistent in other parts of the globe.
Traffic Signs to Watch Out for in Australia
Aussies have some interesting road signs that can be confusing if you’re not used to them. Look out for these common ones when en route next. And, be careful to pay attention to these signs because they serve as the law, not as suggestions.
Always Keep Left
Australia prefers to operate differently than many other countries, which travel on the right-hand side of the road. On Australian roads, you should almost always stay to the left, and it is frequently against the law to be in the right lane unless you have a legitimate reason.
Seatbelt Use is Mandatory
In Australia, a seatbelt is mandated by law for drivers and passengers, unlike in other nations where the practice is more permissive. Besides, it’s always preferable to be safe than sorry because doing otherwise puts you in danger and could cost you a lot of money.
Using Mobile and Portable Devices is Prohibited
Using pretty much anything other than a GPS while travelling is prohibited throughout Australia, and you risk receiving a fine that could be in the thousands of dollars. Mobile phones and other handheld devices that are integrated with your car can be used hands-free, but you are not allowed to handle the device itself.
Some of the most helpful things you’ll encounter on Aussie roads are the large, colourful signs. These signs generally comprise four colours. Typically:
- Signs providing general directions have white text on a green backdrop
- Signs pointing to tourist sites are brown in colour with white text
- Signs suggesting tolls have a blue base and yellow text
- Signs pointing to amenities like rest stops or service stations have white text on a blue backdrop
Animal warnings are common in Australia. These wildlife signs are typically yellow, with the animal shown in black. They alert you that the animal shown is commonly seen on the road in the area. Although you might also see these signs in suburbia, regional and rural places tend to have more of them. So, be extra cautious when you see them to avoid running into a kangaroo or a wombat.
Speed Limit Road Signs
In Australia, the top speed limit outside built-up regions is 100 km/h, while 50 km/h is the maximum speed limit within built-up areas. Koala crossings and school crossings have 25 km/h speed restrictions.
The speed restrictions in some residential areas have been set at 40 km/h. The country also states that a minimum speed of 10 km/h must be maintained in shared zones where pedestrians and vehicles are allowed.
In addition, errant cars are stopped in their tracks by energy-absorbing bollards. Road regulations forbid racing and excessive acceleration. And remember, cops seize licence plates, which is the same as impounding the car.
Driving around in Australia can be a lot of fun, but there are a few things you should be mindful of before getting behind the wheel. While this article doesn’t list all traffic signs and rules, it does highlight some of the more significant ones, like the energy-absorbing bollards.