Australia has some of the most beautiful natural wonders on the planet. That's why many come for a visit from overseas to explore its sights and destinations.
And there's no better way to take in the sights than to drive around, especially to some of the more remote areas.
Just remember to put your family's safety first when driving. And there's no better way to ensure this than to be aware and mindful of the following driving laws in Australia.
If you are from the United States, Germany or certain other parts of Europe, or West Africa, you're used to driving on the right hand side of the road. But in Australia, people drive on the left side of the road. And vehicles are right-hand drive.
It is often challenging for some foreign drivers to get used to this rule. But don't worry. It shouldn't take long before you get the hang of it. Also, most rental car firms will provide you with cards or stickers displaying the basic driving positions and rules. You can keep these in your car during your stay as a constant reminder.
In Australia, you are required by law to wear your seat belt when you are on the road.
Australian authorities are strict on the use of seat belts both for drivers and passengers. Safety capsule harnesses also required for children aged 7 years and below. Otherwise, you can get into serious trouble with authorities.
Drivers also have the duty to make sure passengers wear seatbelts. If a passenger is caught not wearing his seatbelt, the driver will be issued an on the spot fine.
Like anywhere else in the world, a red light in Australia means stop.
Besides the lights at intersections, be conscious of STOP signs at railway crossings.
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is strictly prohibited. If caught, you could get your licence suspended.
Drink driving and driving at high speed have been among the major causes of road accidents.
So if you are going to attend a party or drinking with friends, better to leave your car at home and let a cab fetch you to and from the venue.
The laws are also strict on whether or not you can overtake other vehicles. There are passing lanes that you may use, but the rule of thumb is to have a clear view of oncoming traffic when overtaking a vehicle.
You'll need to adjust your driving speeds in accordance with conditions such as ongoing road works, weather or unsealed roads.
Australia is also rich in wildlife and the animals usually come out during dawn and at dusk, another reason to be careful when driving
Also, slow down when going around bends or on narrow roads. Overall, understand that keeping within the speed limit is not only imposed by law, but also a good safety practice for you and your family.
Australian traffic laws forbid the use of mobile phones while driving.
The law requires you to pull over if you need to make a call or if you want to send a text message. Otherwise, be ready for serious penalties that include 3 demerit points and spot fines.
Texting, talking, playing games, recording videos or taking photos on your mobile phone are all illegal. This rule is in effect even when your vehicle is stopped but is not parked. This means it is illegal to use your phone when you are stopped by STOP signs or traffic lights.
These are the driving rules and regulations you have to keep in mind as see the natural wonders of Australia. More than avoiding penalties, remember that these rules were imposed to keep you and your family safe on the road.
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