25 October 2021
Help to navigate the quirkiest road rules from around Australia
While most of us are aware of our own state’s road rules, you don’t have to be a tourist to be caught off guard when driving through another state.
To better prepare you for your next cross-country trip, we’ve put together some of Australia’s quirkiest road rules you could encounter on a state-by-state basis so you don’t get caught out breaking them.
While it’s unlikely this will affect you on your journey, WA has one of the strangest rules of all. It is illegal to transport over 50kg of potatoes in your car, unless you’re a “potato corporation” or an authorised agent. The law arose out of the Great Depression and World War 11 to help regulate food. Break it and you could receive a $2,000 fine. Break it again? $5,000! That’s no small potatoes.
Victoria is the state known for its infamous, death defying ‘Hook Turn’; a confusing turn that allows drivers to turn right from the left-hand lane. Sounds crazy if you’re from another state, yet for Victorians this is pretty stock standard.
In a bid to combat speeding, which is one of Australia’s leading causes of road fatalities, South Australia introduced a 25km/h speed limit in school zones, reducing it by 15km/h, compared to neighbouring states VIC, WA and NSW where the speed limit is 40kmh.
Despite the reduced speed limit, if you do find yourself in a road accident NRMA now offers comprehensive car insurance for SA.
If you’re planning a trip through the country, chances are you’re going to get some mud on your tyres. It could well be worth noting that in NSW it’s illegal to splash mud on someone waiting for a bus. The law is literally that specific, stating a driver must take due care, by slowing down or stopping the vehicle if necessary, not to splash mud on any person in or on a bus, or any person entering or leaving any stationary bus, or any person waiting at any bus stop. It’s perfectly okay, it seems, to splash someone waiting for a taxi or a tram with mud, just not somebody waiting for a bus, though we don’t recommend you do this!
Mud isn’t the only thing you have to watch out for on NSW roads. Keeping an eye out for aircraft on your country drive isn’t something that would spring to mind, however a part of the Silver City Highway in NSW actually doubles as an emergency air strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) The airstrip can be used all hours of the day, in all conditions. Previously to this the RFDS had to land on unsealed airstrips on isolated properties with property owners bearing the cost of maintaining the landing area so this is seen as a better solution and one that is safer and more reliable.
If you’re planning a trip to the Apple Isle, it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s illegal to use your smartphone’s GPS navigation while driving on Tassie roads, even if it’s mounted. We recommend you get well acquainted with your hard-copy Gregory’s or hire a car with an inbuilt sat nav.
If you’ve ever been to Canberra, you’ll know all roads lead to a roundabout or 20. And these roundabouts have rules out-of-towners sometimes find a little confusing. One such rule is even if you plan to go straight ahead down the same road after the roundabout, you must indicate left as you exit. It may feel strange but if it helps you avoid a fine then it makes a lot of sense.
Giving way to restive horses is just one of the quirkier rules you need to know when driving through Queensland. Whilst the word ‘restive’ could be misinterpreted for a horse taking a siesta, this law does not in fact mean trying to avoid horses taking a nap in the middle of the road. It actually means giving way to horses that may be agitated and unable to stay still if your car noise makes them panic.
So, if you’re planning your next road trip or cross-country adventure, make sure you check all the road rules that apply for each individual state before heading off on your journey.