All the road rules you are breaking.
All the road rules you are breaking.

All the road rules you are breaking

AS MUCH as some drivers might like to think they know and follow every single road rule to the letter, it's pretty common for people to get things wrong once in a while.

There are so many different rules that vary from state to state and when you add in all the road rule misconceptions out there it is easy to see how people could get confused.

But fear not, we have compiled a list of some of the most common road rules many Aussie drivers regularly break without even realising it.

Brush up on your road rule knowledge below and see if you are guilty of any of these common mistakes.

WHEN TO USE YOUR FOG LIGHTS

When it comes to car lights, drivers have a few options: regular headlights, high beams, fog lights and daytime running lights.

Many drivers are guilty of getting them muddled up from time to time, but what seems like a simple mistake could end up costing hundreds of dollars.

Front and rear fog lights are made to be used in foggy or rainy conditions when a driver's vision may be limited.

Front fog lights are mounted low down on the vehicle, and are angled down at a steeper angle than normal headlights.

They emit a flat horizontal beam that reduces the amount of light reflecting back off the fog allowing for better visibility.

But if these lights are switched on under normal driving conditions they can be a hazard to other drivers by causing approaching vehicles to be temporarily blinded by the lights.

They can also lead to rear-end accidents due to drivers mistaking the bright red rear fog lights for brake lights.

"In NSW a driver is only permitted to use fog lights if driving in fog, mist or other atmospheric conditions that restrict visibility," a NSW Transport spokesperson told news.com.au.

"It is important to only use fog lights in the appropriate conditions as in normal day-to-day driving they have the potential to dazzle other drivers."

Every Australian state has laws prohibiting the use of fog lights other than in the conditions they were made for.

 

In NSW using your fog lights when not permitted could cost you $112 fine and two demerit points.

Western Australian and Queensland drivers be penalised one demerit point, accompanied by a $100 fine in WA and a $52 in Qld.

If you forget to turn your fog lights off in Victoria, you will be facing a $161 fine, while in South Australia, the fine is $243.

Breaking this rule in Tasmania will cost you $112.25 and $200 in the ACT. And for fog lights to be used in the Northern Territory they must be angled towards the ground so they don't shine in other drivers' eyes.

COMMON ROUNDABOUT MYTH

When approaching a roundabout always give way to your right.

This is likely one of the first road rules that was drilled into you when you were learning how to drive.

If this is the case then you have probably been driving wrong your whole life, because this common roundabout rule is actually a myth, one that could cost to up to $474.

The actual rule dictates that drivers must slow or stop to give way to any vehicles already on the roundabout.

A lot of the time the car you are giving way to will have entered the roundabout on your right, which is what may have caused this rule to become misconstrued.

The actual rule states that you must give way to anyone who enters the roundabout before you.
The actual rule states that you must give way to anyone who enters the roundabout before you.

But you still have to wait even if the car is directly across from you, in the case of smaller roundabouts, to your left so long as they enter the roundabout before you do.

A spokesman from NRMA, Peter Khoury, told news.com.au that waiting for cars on your right if you get to the roundabout before them can impact the traffic flow.

"We are not quite sure where this misconception comes from," he said.

"If people approaching the roundabout are unnecessarily giving way to all cars coming from their right then it impedes on the flow of traffic."

Mr Khoury added that: "Drivers should enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so."

Unnecessarily waiting for cars on your right could disrupt the flow of traffic.
Unnecessarily waiting for cars on your right could disrupt the flow of traffic.

The rule is the same for all states and territories in Australia and carries some pretty heavy penalties for those who ignore it.

NSW drivers will cop a $337 fine for failing to give way to cars already on the roundabout and Queenslanders will get a $391, with both states giving out three demerit points as well.

In Victoria and Tasmania it will cost you $161 and $163, with drivers also given three demerit points in the latter state.

Motorists in Western Australia will get a $150 fine and three points, with those in the ACT also copping three points and a $474 fine.

South Australia gives out at $428 fine and three points.

On smaller roundabouts you may even have to give way to cars entering on the left.
On smaller roundabouts you may even have to give way to cars entering on the left.

LITTLE-KNOWN PARKING RULE

There's one parking rule that's catching out a lot of Aussie drivers and you've probably broken it before as well without even realising it.

Traffic rules across the country state that you must not park your vehicle within 10m of an intersection. That distance is bumped up to 20m if there are traffic lights on the intersecting road.

All states and territories in Australia have similar road rules preventing parking within 10m or 20m from an intersection, "unless a sign allows you to park there".

In NSW if you are caught breaking this rule you could be facing a $337 fine and two demerit points.

You'll be coughing up $120 if you flout this rule in the ACT and a few dollars more in Tasmania with the fine is $122.25.

 

Drivers in Western Australia risk facing a $150 fine if they park within 10m of an intersection, or 20m if traffic lights are present.

This kind of parking is also prohibited in Queensland and the Northern Territory, where penalty unit values are currently $130.55 and $155 respectively.

In South Australia you will be fined $115 for violating the 10m rule, compared to the $153 you have to pay for breaking the 20m rule.

In Victoria you will cough up $161.

OBSCURE DOUBLE DIVIDING LINE RULE

If you are one of the people who believed you were never able to cross an unbroken double line while driving then you are in for a shock.

In NSW, there are a number of circumstances in which drivers are permitted to cross unbroken double lines, with the most surprising being to enter or leave a road.

Many motorists are under the impression that it is illegal to cross a continuous double, or single, line even when driving off or on to a road.

But it appears this is simply a myth.

Under NSW road rules, you can cross a dividing line to enter or leave a property or road "by the shortest route".

For example, it is legal to turn right over dividing lines when coming out of a petrol station or shopping centre, unless there is a sign specifically stating you can't.

 

 

This rule applies to both double and single unbroken road markings.

Drivers are also permitted to cross any type of dividing line when turning right at an intersection.

Drivers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia are also allowed to turn right across double dividing lines when coming from or going on to a property or different road.

In Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania it is illegal for motorists to cross a double dividing line to enter or leave the road.

There is slightly more leeway when it comes to single dividing lines, with all states allowing drivers to cross single unbroken lines in order to enter or leave a road.

'10 PER CENT' SPEED LIMIT MYTH

There are two common types of drivers in Australia: Those who usually travel under the speed limit at all times and have a conniption if they find themselves 1km/h over, and those who believe in the 10 per cent rule.

The 10 per cent rule relates to the belief among some drivers that so long as their driving speed is within 10 per cent of the limit, then they won't get booked.

For example, you are able to get away with going 88km/h in an 80km/h zone or 55km/h in a 50km/h zone.

This belief is more of a myth than an official rule and comes from uncertainty surrounding the exact tolerances for speeding in each state.

Victoria is known for having a low tolerance for speeding and it is not uncommon for motorists to be fined if a speed camera catches them going over just 2km/h, or 3km/h if it is a mobile speed camera.

Authorities rarely discuss speed thresholds to avoid a ‘defacto’ speed limit being created.
Authorities rarely discuss speed thresholds to avoid a ‘defacto’ speed limit being created.

In NSW, while the exact speeding tolerance has not officially been stated, it is believed that drivers get a bit more leeway, which is where the idea of the 10 per cent rule evolved from.

On the Queensland Police website it specifically states that the speed tolerance levels cannot be disclosed in order to ensure a "defacto" speed limit isn't created.

Figures released by South Australia Police in 2017 show that some motorists were able to go past speed cameras travelling as much as 7km/h over the limit without getting fined.

But in the same year there were also some drivers being pulled over by police and issued fines for going as little as 1km/h over the limit.

Acting Superintendent of the Victoria Police Road Policing Command Operations, Simon Stevens, told news.com.au that police don't "discuss thresholds with regard to speed enforcement".

"Suffice to say if you are detected travelling over the limit or in a dangerous manner you should expect to be fined and or charged with the relevant offences," Mr Stevens said.

"Sadly, many motorists think that it's OK to drive just that little bit over but what we do know is that speed, in whatever form, impacts road trauma."

RED LIGHTS AND EMERGENCY VEHICLES

In every Australian state drivers are required to move out of the way of emergency vehicles driving with their flashing lights on. But what happens when this coincides with other important road rules?

Not moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle can result in hefty fines and demerit points and many motorists may believe that it takes precedence over all other road rules, including stopping at red lights.

Unfortunately it is not this simple and there is no blanket rule saying whether drivers can or cannot disobey a red light in order to clear a path for an emergency vehicle.

The correct response varies from state to state and in some cases a lot of it can be left up to interpretation.

In all states, motorists need to safely make way for fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.
In all states, motorists need to safely make way for fire trucks, ambulances and police cars.

Under NSW law, drivers are required to get out of the way of the police, fire brigade or ambulances if they hear a siren or see they are displaying flashing blue and red lights.

A lot of the time this will mean pulling over to the left until the vehicle has passed.

Transport for NSW told news.com.au that motorists should only make way for these vehicles "if it is safe to do so".

"In some circumstances it may not be safe for the driver to move out of the path of an emergency vehicle, for example when they are stopped at a red light," the spokesperson said.

In Victoria, legislation also states that motorists should move out of the path of emergency vehicles as soon as the driver can safely do so.

Queensland drivers are also required to safely move out of the way for ambulances, the police and the fire brigade but driving through a red light is also permitted under certain circumstances.

"The law allows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traffic light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so," the Queensland Government website states.

Western Australia and Tasmania both states that drivers aren't permitted to break the law in order to make way for emergency vehicles.

South Australian and Northern Territory motorists follow the rule that they should move safely out of the way of emergency vehicles.



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