By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: April 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm
Don’t get caught out. Reintroduce yourself to these 7 road rules that have a nasty habit of slipping motorists' mind.
1. Indicate for at least 5 seconds before changing direction from a stationary position at the side of the road
For most drivers, the rules of indication are second nature, but how many of us remember to wait a full 5 seconds before pulling away from the kerb? You were probably taught this when you first studied for your licence, but without a driving instructor watching your every move, this is a rule that can easily evaporate from the memory bank.
Don’t forget, as well as indicating for at least 5 seconds, you still need to give way to all traffic before pulling away.
Penalty: Failing to give a 5 second signal before moving from a stationary position will set you back $317 and a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You will also attract 2 demerit points.
2. Ensure every letter and figure on your number plate is clean and legible
Bypassed the car wash one too many times? Watch out. No matter how dirty your car may be, you need to make sure that your licence plate is clean and legible at all times. This means it can’t be obscured by a substance (dirt or mud) and must comply with with the requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Penalty: Caught out? In addition to the price of a car wash, you’ll have to pay a fine of $692 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.
3. Don’t overtake a long vehicle exiting a roundabout to the right
Large trucks, especially those displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign, are often too big to navigate a multi-lane roundabout in one lane. Therefore it’s legal for these vehicles to stay in the left lane of a roundabout, even when they’re making a right turn.
A big mistake some motorists make is attempting to overtake a long vehicle exiting a roundabout to the right. If a truck needs to cross over the dotted line while a car is in the left lane, a serious crash could occur.
Penalty: Passing or overtaking a vehicle displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign will set you back $208 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You will attract 2 demerit points.
4. Don’t queue across intersections
Queuing across an intersection can be extremely dangerous, not to mention, illegal. Not only does it have the potential to obstruct the movement of other vehicles and the overall flow of traffic, it can also impact pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross the road.
Penalty: If caught queuing across an intersection, you risk a $247 fine and a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You will attract 3 demerit points.
5. Slow down when going past emergency vehicles
Our emergency workers put themselves on the line every day to look out for us, so it’s important not to add any extra risks to their working conditions by speeding past them. If you’re in the immediate vicinity of an emergency vehicle displaying flashing red or blue lights, or driving past flashing red or blue lights put on the road by an emergency worker, you must slow to 25km/h as you pass them.
Penalty: Penalties for exceeding 25km/h when passing an emergency vehicle are hefty. If you’re travelling 80km/h (legally, in an 80 km/h zone) but fail to slow to 25km/h when passing an emergency vehicle, you’re exceeding the speed limit by 55km/h. This could see you paying a whopping $1036 fine plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You will attract 9 demerit points and lose your license for 6 months.
6. Stop indicating as soon as you complete your turn
Most of us are guilty of this one. You’re on the road, singing along to your favourite song, when you signal then make a turn. Easy. You continue driving, volume-up, oblivious to the subtle ticking of your indicator which remains flashing and is causing considerable confusion for drivers behind you.
Penalty: Should police catch you in the act, failing to cancel a signal after a turn will set you back $212 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You will attract 2 demerit points.
7. Don’t drive with a passenger if any part of their body is outside of the vehicle
Now more than ever, Instagram is awash with dreamy road trip images, many depicting carefree passengers with an arm slung out the window or poking out of the sunroof. While there’s no denying the visual appeal of these snaps, a lot of the time what they’re showing is entirely illegal. Most of us know it’s against the law to drive with any part of your body outside the vehicle, but were you aware that the exact same rule applies to your passengers?
Penalty: If you drive with a passenger that has any part of their body outside of your vehicle, you could be up for a $184 fine plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. You’ll attract 3 demerit points.