5 misunderstood road rules in Australia

5 misunderstood road rules in Australia

To ensure the safety of motorists, passengers, and pedestrians while on the road, Australia has a complex system of road laws. On the other hand, some aspects of the rule of the road are frequently misunderstood, resulting in confusion and accidents. Here, we will analyze five driving rules in Australia that are misinterpreted and the consequences of these misunderstandings.

  1. The Roundabout:

The Roundabout is the first traffic regulation that is commonly misinterpreted. Roundabouts are a common sight on the roadways of Australia. Their purpose is to facilitate smoother traffic movement and reduce congestion. On the other hand, many motorists lack knowledge of the correct procedures to follow when entering and to exit roundabouts. It is essential for drivers to remember that the traffic already in the roundabout has the right of way, and they must yield to that traffic before entering the roundabout. Accidents and crashes are possible outcomes of failing to comply with these requirements.

Approaching a roundabout:

When approaching a roundabout, drivers must use their turn signals if they want to go left, right, or make a U-turn. They must give other people on the road enough time to get out of the way before they turn.

Driving into a roundabout:

Drivers must slow down or stop to let cars already in the roundabout go first. Drivers must also use their turn signals to turn left, right, or U-turn.

Making a left:

Drivers must signal left and be in the left lane (unless road markings say otherwise), stay in the left lane, and leave in the left lane.

Going straight ahead:

When approaching a roundabout, drivers don’t have to signal if they’re going straight ahead. Drivers can get to the roundabout from either the left or right lane (unless signs on the road tell them otherwise).

Making a right:

Drivers must signal right when they get close and stay in the right lane unless road markings say otherwise.

Making a U-turn:

To make a U-turn in a roundabout, drivers must get in the right lane and signal right.

Changing lanes in a roundabout:

In a roundabout, drivers can change lanes if they want to. For changing lanes, the usual rules of the road apply. Drivers must use their turn signals and move over for any car in the lane they are trying to get into.

Exiting a roundabout:

When leaving a roundabout, drivers must signal left if it is safe, just like when leaving any other road. They must stop indicating once they have left the roundabout. If you are going straight on a small, one-lane roundabout, it may not make sense to turn left when leaving.

All drivers must be careful and reduce their speed or stop when there is a chance of hitting another car.

  1. Right-turn on red

Another traffic regulation that is commonly misunderstood is the “Right turn on red” rule. In contrast to the laws of some other nations, it is against the law in Australia to turn right-side when the light is red unless there is a sign that explicitly permits the maneuver. There are a lot of drivers who aren’t aware of this restriction, so they might turn right on red without realizing it’s against the law. This may result in monetary fines and points added to your driving record.

  1. Using headlights and fog lights

High beam:

When driving, a driver can’t use their high-beam headlights:

  • Less than 200 metres behind an auto going the same way.
  • Less than 200 metres from an auto coming the other way.

Must not dazzle:

A driver can’t use a light on their car that could blind someone else on the road.

Fog lights:

A driver can only use fog lights when fog, mist, or another weather condition makes it hard to see.


A driver can only use a spot or searchlight when: 

  • The vehicle is stopped, and the light is used to make adjustments or repairs. The light can’t be shone more than six metres away.
  •  The light is used to read a house number or sign board.


When driving at night or in conditions where there isn’t enough light to see a person wearing dark clothes from 100m away, a car must have visible lights:

  •  Headlights
  •  Tail lights
  •  Number plate lights
  •  Clearance lights and side marker lights, if they are on the vehicle.

Some say that driving with your headlights on during the day can make it more likely that other people on the road will see you.

  1. U-turns:

U-turns are also often misunderstood in Australia. Many drivers are unsure about when it is legal to make a U-turn. It is important to remember that it is only legal to make a U-turn at a traffic light when there is a “U-turn permitted” sign. It is never legal to make a U-turn on a highway or freeway. This can result in fines and points on your driver’s licence.

Making a U-turn :

When making a U-turn, a driver must: 

  • Have a clear view of any oncoming traffic
  • Be able to make the turn without unduly blocking traffic flow
  • Give way to all vehicles and pedestrians.

Drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn: 

  • At an intersection without traffic lights where there is a “no U-turn” sign.
  • At a break in a driving strip where there is a “no U-turn” sign. 

At traffic lights:

Drivers cannot make a U-turn at traffic signals unless there is a U-Turn Permitted sign or a green U-turn traffic light.

5. Mobile Phones:

Full licence and bicycle riders:

Phone calls and audio function:

You can only use a mobile phone while driving or riding to make or answer a phone call or use the audio function if:

  •  It is secured in a well-designed mounting fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t block the driver/view riders on the road.
  •  It can be used by the driver/rider without touching any part of the phone, such as through Bluetooth technology or voice activation.

Helps for drivers (e.g. navigational GPS function, Speed Advisor app)

Drivers or riders can only use a phone’s navigation or GPS feature while driving or riding if the phone is fixed in place and doesn’t block the driver’s view of the road.

All the other functions:

A cell phone can’t be used for anything else while driving or riding, such as:

  • Texting or sending a voice text
  • Emailing
  • Using Social Media
  • Taking photos
  • Video messaging

Any way you hold your phone (in hand, on your lap, between shoulder and ear). A driver can only hold a phone to hand it to a passenger.

Drivers and riders can only do these things on their phones while their car is parked and out of traffic. You can’t use these features when your car is stopped, like when you’re at a red light or stuck in traffic.

Learner, P1, and P2 drivers, as well as motorcycle riders, can’t use any part of their phones while driving or riding. This is true even when stopped at a traffic light or in a traffic jam.


Lane splitting is another misunderstood road rule in Australia. This is when a motorcycle or scooter rides between lanes of traffic. It is illegal in Australia and considered dangerous. Many drivers are unaware of this rule and may not be prepared for motorcycles or scooters to pass them in this manner.

Speed limits are often misunderstood in Australia. Many drivers are unsure of the speed limits in different areas, particularly residential and school zones. It is important to always check for signs indicating the speed limit and to slow down in these areas as children, and pedestrians may be present. Failure to obey speed limits can result in fines and points on your driver’s licence.

In conclusion, several misunderstood road rules in Australia can lead to confusion and accidents. It is important for drivers to be aware of these rules and to obey them to ensure the safety of all road users. Regularly studying the road rules and taking driving classes can help to familiarize you with the rules and regulations.