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Strange road rules

Strange road rules

We’ve previously discussed some of the more obscure road rules and regulations in Australia.

These rules, their application and their consequences vary between the States and Territories, so if you’re planning a trip, here are a few more rules to be aware of; as well as how they differ in different places.

Woman indicating with hand out of window of ute

Hand signals

While it’s illegal across Australia to have any part of your body projecting from your vehicle, should your car not have indicator lights, or if they should fail; hand signals are still legal in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In Western Australia hand signals are only legal when driving an old car constructed without indicator lights.

Open windows

In New South Wales and Victoria you’re legally allowed to leave your windows 2cm open while your car is parked and the engine switched off, while in Queensland you’re legally allowed to lower your windows 5 centimetres while parked (perhaps a good thing when you consider the weather).

Bike on racks on the back of a 4WD

Bike rack

In all States and Territories it’s illegal to create your own number plate, for example written on cardboard, when your bike rack obscures your rear licence plate.

In Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, you can purchase a smaller plate to mount instead.

In Victoria you can also purchase a smaller plate, or you can use the actual rear plate from your vehicle, which is illegal in other States and Territories.


In Victoria displaying L-plates or P-plates when they’re not needed is a fineable offence, but North of the border in New South Wales it's not.

Similarly, Victoria fines the supervising driver if the car isn’t displaying L-plates while being operated by a learner driver.

In both Victoria and New South Wales the learner driver must have a 0.0% blood alcohol content, and the supervising driver can only have a 0.05% blood alcohol content.

In New South Wales a supervising driver can be fined for being on the phone if an incident occurs, as they were distracted; while in Victoria supervisors can be fined if the learner driver exceeds the speed limits by over 25km/h.

Line of cars parked at the side of the road

Indicating while parallel parked

When parked at the side of the road in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia it’s a legal requirement that you indicate for at least 5 seconds before moving off into the flow of traffic.

Yes - it's confusing! Try NRMA Insurance for car insurance, which is easy to understand.

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