Are you aware of the driving laws in Australia?
For the most part, we all try our best to stay away from illegal acts while driving. To keep the law, you must know the laws. The problem is – not all of us know the laws. But I don’t need to remind you that ‘ignorance of the law excuses no one.' Anyway, I presume you already know it’s illegal to drive while drinking or texting. So, what other laws are there to keep?
Here’s an interesting one: In the last five years, over 200 people were fined in Queensland for misusing their horns, according to Brisbane Times.
Want to keep from paying unnecessary fines? Let's take a quick peek at 10 fineable driving offences in Australia. You will find some of the laws weird, but above all, you'll realise that they are violations commonly committed by many of us. Let's dive in to find out what are considered illegal acts while driving.
1. Improper Use of the Horn
Honking at a car that seems like your friends’ might seem pleasant. Similarly, honking to say goodbye might feel nice. However, those two acts are illegal in Australia. Officially, you are only allowed to use the horn to alert or inform other road users or animals of your approach. Any other use aside from that is regarded as wrong.
2. Leaving Your Keys in the Ignition
Have you seen someone quickly get out of the car to get something, leaving the car engine running with the key in the ignition? This is an absolute offence in New South Wales and attracts a fine of about $114. An average of 1,000 people a year get fined for this offence in NSW.
3. Leaving Your Fog Lights On
Everyone makes the mistake of leaving their fog lights on occasionally. This mistake can turn out to be a very costly one in Australia. Conversely, failure to use both front and rear fog lights in the rain or fog, or when vision is impaired by dust or smoke, could get you a fine.
4. Trying to Speed Up While You’re being Overtaken
Not nice! Are you one of those who try to accelerate when you notice another driver sneaking up behind to overtake you? Unlike in the Australian GT or Formula 3, this behaviour institutes a traffic offence. This offence can incur a $344 fine with two demerit points in New South Wales and a $330 penalty with two demerit points in Victoria.
5. Using Your Smartphone to Pay at a Drive-through
Thanks to the "don't text and drive" mantra, most drivers know about the dangers posed by using the phone while driving. But do you know what happens when you pay for a quick lunch at the drive-through window with your smartphone? Bad news! Depending on which state you are, you are still at the risk of being fined a whopping $534 and loosing up to five demerit points – a costly meal it is!
To avoid this fine, you must switch off your engine and engage your handbrake before picking up your phone.
6. Light on Your Registration Plates Not Working
Do you know that driving at night without lights on your registration plate for visibility is also an offence? Australian law states that registration plates need to visible 24/7, so always do yourself a favour by checking the lights before setting out at night.
7. Not Giving Way to Horses
Even that! It is illegal not to make way for a horse that refuses to move or a stubborn horse that won't listen to its controller. In a situation where a rider raises a hand and points to the horse, you must steer the car off as far as possible from the horse to avoid startling it.
8. Driving with an Animal or Person on the Driver's Lap
The reason this is illegal is rather obvious. A child or an animal on your lap could cause distractions. Only the driver should occupy the driving seat while driving. Children and animals should be seated or placed in their restraints in an appropriate area of the vehicle.
9. Leaving the Vehicle Windows Wound Down
You don't want to be away from your vehicle without winding up your windows to a gap of 5cm, as you may be fined. In Queensland, if you're more than three meters away from your vehicle in this condition, you have committed a punishable offence.
10. Throwing Fruit Peels and Other Materials Out the Car Window
You say fruit peels are biodegradable, right? They are, but throwing them on the road could be injurious to other road users, too, and there’s a fine for littering. In Queensland, this could cost you about $533 and two demerit points. Do well to avoid it, as you would also be keeping the roads clean.
If you aren’t keeping the laws, you’re on the wrong side of the fence. I hate to be the prophet of doom, but it's only a matter of time before the police officers close in on you. Besides, who wants to keep paying unbudgeted dollars for breaking simple driving laws? We’ve pointed out a few of what are considered illegal acts while driving on Australian roads. You should take time to know the driving laws in your state and save yourself from unnecessarily paying fines.
Enjoy driving and keep your car in tip-top shape. Make sure that you have all the required accessories like car waste bins, child and animal seat restraints, lights, smartphone holders and so on. They make it easier for you to abide by all driving laws in Australia. To search for affordable car parts and accessories, visit Carpart.com.au and try its car part locator tool.
By Damilare Olasinde