By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Tuesday, October 5, 2021
When learning to drive, you’re taught about indicating when turning and how to navigate a roundabout, but there are some weird and wacky road rules you won’t find in your driving logbook.
Check out a few of the stranger road rules we uncovered from around our country in this quirky list below.
1. Don’t overload your car with potatoes
Where: Western Australia
Let’s start with one of the odder road rules on this list. In WA, you can’t transport more than 50kg of potatoes unless you’re a member of a potato corporation – weird hey.
This law was introduced during the Great Depression and World War II to help regulate food.
Break this rule and you face a hefty $2000 fine. Break it again, and the fine increases to $5000.
2. No shortcuts
Where: South Australia, New South Wales
Picture this: there’s a line of traffic in front of you at an intersection and you want to turn left at the next road. You notice there’s a service station with driveways on both corners.
Like a scene out of Mario Kart, you take a shortcut and drive through the petrol station to skip the traffic lights and beat the traffic. In South Australia, police can charge you with driving on or over a footpath if you’re caught cutting a corner.
The same rule applies in New South Wales, with offenders receiving a $349 fine and three demerit points.
Long story short
The fine for cutting corners in SA is below, plus a $92 Victims of Crime Levy and three demerit points.
3. No horsing around
In the Sunshine State you need to give way to a ‘restive horse’. To save you Googling what that means, the definition of a restive horse is one that’s refusing to advance, stubbornly standing still or moving backward and sideways.
If you see one when you’re driving or if the rider signals to you that they’re having trouble, pull over to the left side of the road, turn your engine off and wait. Once the horse settles, you’re free to go.
If you fail to give way to a restive horse, you could be slapped with a $130 fine.
4. Don’t splash pedestrians… waiting at bus stops
Where: New South Wales
In NSW, it’s illegal to drive through a puddle and splash people waiting at a bus stop. That said, here’s where it gets a bit muddy.
As accidents do happen, it’s not illegal to give a pedestrian a spray when they’re walking along the footpath.
Here at RAA we recommend you don’t deliberately drive through puddles and splash innocent pedestrians.
5. Keep at least one hand on the handlebars
Where: South Australia
You may have noticed when the winner of a professional cycling race crosses the line, they take both hands off the handlebars and raise their fists in joy. While that’s fine for the pros on the circuit, it’s not recommended off the track.
If you’re riding a bicycle, you must always keep at least one hand on the handlebars. If you don’t, here in SA you could receive a $62 fine and a $92 Victims of Crime Levy.
6. Don’t forget your hay bale
We couldn’t cover Australia’s weirdest road rules without an entry from Victoria. Prior to 1980, when the law changed, it was illegal for a taxi to drive around without a hay bale in the boot.
This law comes from a bygone era when taxis were horse-drawn carts and not LPG-powered vehicles. Instead of stopping for petrol at the service station, drivers would use the hay bales to feed the hungry horses.