Before you set off on your adventure there are a few road rules you’ll need to know. By following these driving in Australia tips you’re more likely to avoid any unwanted surprises so you can focus on having a great time exploring Australia.
1. We drive on the left side of the road
In Australia, we drive on the left-hand side of the road. A good tip is if you’re driving, you should be the one closest to the centre line (not your passenger).
If you are from the UK or some Asian countries, you will feel right at home, if not, you will need to concentrate to make sure you don’t revert to your side of the road
2. Seat belts are compulsory
Be sure you and all passengers wear seat belts when driving in the vehicle as it is the law. While it can be tempting to take it off for better comfort or to take a nap, you must keep your seat belt on.
Be mindful that it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all passengers are in seat belts and they carry the fine if pulled over.
3. Pay attention to all the signs
All international tourists say it – we are a country of signs. It’s because we love our tourists and we don’t want you to get lost!
There will be signs which tell you how far it is until the next towns and the next major city, and they will appear every 5-10 kms and these are very helpful. You will also see lots of signs like “Drowsy drivers die” which are designed to encourage you to stop and have a break. This is how much we care.
Other important signs to watch indicate the maximum speed for the area. On major freeways and highways this is usually 100km/h but can increase to 110km/h on some stretches and 60-80km/h if you are going through towns. If in doubt, stick to the speed of other traffic.
4. Children must be properly restrained
It is also Australian law that all children are properly restrained. Young children who weigh 9kgs to 18kgs (approximately 6 months to 5 years) must be seated in a baby seat (or child seat) which is anchored to the chassis of the vehicle. All of our motorhomes are fitted with child restraint points, with our 5 Berth Traveller and 6 Berth Grand Tourer have 2 x restraint points, all other vehicles have 1 x restraint point.
It is recommended that older children who weigh up to 26kgs (approximately 6 years) are seated in a child booster seat. This booster seat gives the child extra height allowing them to fit more safely into a lap/sash seat belt. Both baby seats and child booster seats must be seated in a forward facing position.
5. Get an international driver’s license if you’re travelling from overseas
If you are travelling from overseas and want to drive in Australia, you are required to hold a valid international driving permit. This accompanies the driver’s license issued in your country of residence. Click here for more information.
6. Take your time getting used to the size of the motorhome
We know how exciting it is to get on the road in your shiny new home, but just take your time getting used to its height, width and speed so you’re less likely to have an accident.
Take care when reversing and always check bridge heights before going under.
7. Be mindful of hazards
Roads you drive on will vary from sealed to gravel and unsealed roads. Look out of hazards such as holes and changing road surfaces. Please remember that unsealed roads are not covered by insurance.
8. Obey speed limits
In Australia, we have an abundance of beautiful beaches, great coffee and speed cameras. We highly recommend sticking to the speed limits for you and your wallet’s safety. For more valuable information on road safety visit smartraveller.gov.au.
9. Don’t use touch your mobile phone while driving
Be aware that it is illegal to use your hand-held mobile device while driving. If you want to receive and make calls, or use music or audio functions, you must secure your mobile phone in a holder fixed to the vehicle and operate the phone without touching it (i.e. using Bluetooth). Also note that drivers with a learner or provisional licence are not allowed to use a mobile phone in any way.
10. Look out for animals
Australian animals are especially active at dusk and dawn so take extra care during these times when driving. Our furry friends will thank you for it.
11. Take breaks from driving
Take a break from driving every two hours. Your destination isn’t going anywhere and you’ll feel refreshed after a 10-minute break.
Ready to book a motorhome for your exciting motorhome holiday? View our available campervans for hire and motorhomes for hire, and contact us if you have any questions. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your holiday, we have some fantastic recommended itineraries, places to stay and things to see and do.
Photo credit: Image of animal warning sign via CarsGuide