Driving in Australia offers a tremendous degree of convenience, and it can make going about your day less stressful and easier. While most drivers in Australia are safe, you should still follow some basic driving safety tips. For those who have driven in the United States, the process of driving in Australia is actually remarkably similar. Just make sure to avoid these misunderstood road rules to prevent getting yourself in a jam and prompting the need for a car accident lawyer in Australia.
See What’s Left
While it’s a given, staying on the left-hand of the road is crucial. It happens more often than you might expect, but people end up driving on the wrong side of the road in parking lots and even on the main city streets. It’s especially crucial to keep to the left on lone mountain roads and when you enter more remote areas. While you may not expect a vehicle to come roaring around the corner, you likely won’t have the time to respond and avoid an accident if it does happen. When you drive on the left, you’ll also be sitting closest to the middle of the road and you’ll have oncoming traffic pass on your side.
Fasten Your Belt
Australia has some of the world’s most strict seatbelt laws. Make sure you and your passengers are buckled in to avoid getting a ticket. The laws apply to children up to seven years of age, and it’s a requirement to use properly certified safety harnesses. In Australia, the driver is responsible for all the passengers in the vehicle. If someone isn’t wearing their seatbelt, you’ll be held responsible. Additionally, a seatbelt can actually help prevent an accident since passengers won’t be able to move freely about the vehicle.
Talk Can Wait
If you’ve got a cell phone, don’t answer it while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it’s against the law. You can’t talk, text, play games, take photos, shoot videos or use your phone in any way while driving. Unless your vehicle is parked at a designated area, it’s illegal to use your phone at all. This means no using your cell phone at traffic lights or stop signs. Not only is it against the law, using a cell phone while driving as been shown to increase the chances of an accident.
Rules of Passing
When you’re on a road with more than one lane, the Australian road rules dictate that you should keep left unless you plan to pass another vehicle. Many of the states assign fines for drivers who are found to violate this rule. Make sure you don’t accidentally drive in the taxi or bus lane if you’re in one of the major cities. These lanes are for taxis and buses only, and you can face serious fines if you’re caught driving in one of them. Pass only when you have plenty of time to pass, and avoid trying to pass vehicles on two-lane roads.
The Right to Turn
Some countries, such as the United States, allow a legal turn on a red traffic signal as long as the turn is into an immediate lane and you don’t cross traffic. When driving in Australia, this is not allowed. You must wait for the light to turn green before making a left turn when the light is red. Following this rule will help you avoid an accident. Additionally, you’re expected to give the right of way to any vehicles that are coming from the right in a roundabout.
Following these basic driving safety tips can help you avoid an accident. If you are in an accident, get the other party’s information and contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to take a picture of the accident since it may come in handy when it comes time to deal with your insurance company. For a serious accident, it’s crucial to enlist the help of a compensation lawyer to ensure you get paid for your personal injury damages.