Road Rules

“Road rules in Australia require driving on the LEFT hand side of the road.”

Keep Left & Give Way to the Right

Motorists must keep left at all times in Australia, unless overtaking (passing) another vehicle. We give way to the right at all uncontrolled intersections and roundabouts. Sign-posts and traffic lights at intersections may control traffic alternatively as required.

International drivers driving on the left for the first time will no doubt take a while to get used to it. I can’t imagine changing to the right hand side in many of your countries. Please be careful and take it slowly and it’ll be as easy as riding a bike in no time.

The Australia –wide road rules are practically the same, although there may be a few exceptions, which are generally signposted anyway. For example, some eastern states allow turning left at a red traffic light signal, only if sign posted. Also some have tram lines in the centre of the road in cities and the trams have right of way. You’ll get used to it, just remember to keep left and give way to the right most importantly!

Speed Limits

Speed limits vary, as they do in every country so keep an eye out for the signs. They are white with black numbers and a red circle around them. Sometimes yellow and black signs can give you a suggested speed when approaching bends in the road or similar when you should slow down. In general residential driving is 50-60km per hour and highways are 100-110km per hour. In the Northern Territory the speed limit can reach 130km per hour on the open road, which is quite fast, so don’t feel the need to travel the speed limit there! The motto in Australia is “reduce 5 and save lives” (kilometers per hour that is). The slower you go the safer you are, especially in the case of an accident.

You will require a valid driver’s licence from your country of origin and must have it on your person when driving at all times. Another form of identification is an International Driving Permit (IDP) which presents your drivers licence in several different languages, serves as additional identification which is very handy when travelling overseas and permits you to drive without foregoing more driving tests in foreign countries. Take note that many car rental companies require an IDP to rent a vehicle. For further information, contact your local motor vehicle department or find plenty of information at the RACV website.

Drink Driving

Drinking alcohol and driving in Australia is a big NO. Hefty penalties and fines apply. The blood alcohol limit when tested by Police is 0.05%, which means you can barely manage one or two standard drinks and you might be over the limit and will lose your drivers licence and be fined. Anyone drinking excessive amounts of alcohol prior to driving will lose their licence and even face time in police lockup and very costly fines.

Safe & Happy Travels

To all of the tourists out there planning to or currently travelling our roads, please take it easy and follow the road rules. A few extra kilometres gained by speeding or unsafe driving, is not worth your lives, or the lives of others. You are on holidays after all. Slow down, be cautious and enjoy your travels.

Stuart Highway Disappearing on Horizon, Australia
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Kangaroo Road Sign, Western Australia, Australia
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