Considering talk that the RACV is pushing for Victoria to follow in the footsteps of its New South Wales neighbours regarding passing distances for cyclists, we got thinking about some road rules that might catch you unawares. If you haven't heard, motorists must be at least one metre away from a cyclist when passing, and 1.5 metres when exceeding 60km/h. While this may not always seem possible (there’s not a lot of room on our roads as it is) the legislation does permit drivers to cross the centre dividing line or drive on a flat dividing strip, if it is safe to do so.
You’re stuck at the front of the traffic lights during peak hour and suddenly you hear a siren creeping up behind you. An ambulance is trying to get past, so you creep forward through the red light to give them space to get through. You’re doing the right thing, right? WRONG! This is actually illegal, though you probably won’t get booked because emergency services are in a hurry. But if you cause an accident or activate a red-light camera, you’re at fault.
On the flipside of that, if you don’t get out that way of the emergency service vehicle, you’re also in trouble. Ouch.
By now, we’re all very aware that using a phone while driving is illegal and carries hefty consequences. But did you know that even just touching your phone or holding it in your lap while driving is illegal? The laws vary between states: in NSW, you can use your phone while the car is parked securely with the engine running; in Victoria, your car must be off and the keys out of the ignition.
Read next: Is it illegal to drive too slowly?
You’ve grabbed a banana for breakfast as you’re running out the door. You finish it in your car and have nowhere to put it, so, naturally, the best place for it is surely out the window and into a garden bed so it can break down. Well, we suggest you get a bin for your car, because throwing anything out the window is illegal.
If you get caught reversing down a one way street, you’re in for a bit of trouble. Just because the nose of your car is facing forward, doesn’t mean you’re not travelling in the wrong direction.
Fog lights are not to be used at any other time outside of fog or low-visibility weather.
And, contrary to popular belief, running a yellow light is not okay by the law. If it is deemed you had enough time to stop before the light turned red, then you can be booked and the consequence is equal to that of running a red.
Here in Australia, we like to drive with the windows down and our elbows resting on the seal. We also like to wave to our friends and neighbours as we’re driving away. But this needs to stop, you guys. It’s illegal to have any part of the body outside of the car at any time while driving. So either keep it inside, or start using that air-con.
On that note, if you’re beeping your horn for any other reason than a warning, you could be facing a fine for “improper use of a horn”.
Roundabouts: you’re doing them wrong
Ever been on a long road trip and needed a nap and reclined the seat while a passenger? Well, if you’re seatbelt doesn’t sit firmly across your body you may as well not be wearing one, according to the police.
You wouldn’t drive with kids on your lap, and the same applies for pets. Keep them on the floor or properly and safely restrained to prevent getting pulled over.
Did you know that driving barefoot is illegal, even though it can be quite beneficial in being able to feel the pedal!
Indicating is the law. Cars have the flashing lights for a reason. If you fail to indicate when merging or turning a corner and get caught, then you had better hope the police pulling you over aren’t having a bad day.
Did you know about all of these? If there's any other road rules we've missed, leave them in the comments below and we'll add them!