Road Safety in Australia
For your own safety, it is most important that all drivers become familiar with the Australian road rules. Please find below some of the main rules and safety points to consider when driving.
- Keep to the left hand side of the road.
- All occupants in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
- Carry a valid driver’s licence in English or an International Drivers Permit alongside your national driver’s licence.
- Drive no faster than the speed limit indicated on the speed limit signs.
- At a roundabout all traffic must proceed in a clockwise direction. A vehicle already on a roundabout has right of way over any vehicles entering.
- Drivers must have an alcohol reading of less than 0.05 for experienced drivers. Provisional drivers and young drivers may not have any alcohol before driving.
- Always overtake to the right. Be sure you can see enough of the road to complete overtaking and move back to the left hand side of the road (even on over taking lanes). Never overtake on corners, blind rises or on double white lines. When overtaking heavy vehicles in wet weather, beware of wind turbulence and wheel spray causing a reduction in visibility. Allow plenty of space behind you when pulling back in after passing a truck. Trucks are unable to stop as quickly as cars, especially when carrying heavy loads.
- Fatigue causes many crashes in Australia. When driving long distances, stop and rest every 2 hours.
- Take note and follow the recommended speed signs on winding roads.
- Take care and be alert when driving to avoid a collison with either a native, farm or domestic animal. It is best to drive during the day and avoid dusk until dawn. Many animals are nocturnal or are more active when the sun is low and the temperature is cooler.
- Campervans & motorhomes can be double the height and length of sedan vehicles. Keep an eye out for height indicator signs at low level crossings or car parks. Remember that overhanging tree branches may also affect where you can drive.
The driving distance between Australia’s capital cities or major towns could be greater than what you think. All measurements in Australia are metric, distances are kilometres and speed in kilometres per hour.The major roads and highways that join each state and territory are sealed and well maintained.
- The distances are in kilometres and are based on the most direct route or main highway.
- Some roads may include tolls if driving in the metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney.
- We suggest limit driving to a maximum of 200-400 kilometres per day for personal comfort and safety.
Excited to plan for your trip?
Whilst travelling in the metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney, you may encounter a toll road. Tolls are the responsibility of the hirer and any that are unpaid will result in a fine and an administration fee.
These days, cash payments at a toll booth have been phased out, so if you have travelled through a toll the registration plate will be photographed and payment will need to be made within a few days. The easiest and most convenient way to pay for your toll is either over the phone or by pre-purchasing an electronic pass.
Be sure not to let an unpaid toll spoil the memory of your motorhome holiday. Here’s how:
Pay Tolls Over the Phone
Previous to and after the toll point look for the dedicated phone number listed on road signs. It’s as simple as calling the number and quoting your credit card number over the phone. A receipt number will be given. Payment is required within 48 hours of passing through the toll. Credit Card Fees may apply.
Pay Tolls Online
Prior to and after travelling through the toll, you can pay for tolls online using a credit card. The vehicle registration number is required. Payment is required within 48 hours of passing through the toll.
Electronic Pass For Tolls
Purchase an electronic pass with a credit card. The registration number of the vehicle is required. The pass is generally valid for 30 days, however, can only be used for the specified city. If you are travelling to several cities, the E-Tag may be a better option.
This pass is not suitable for visitors to Australia as an Australian address is required. For Australian residents, you can purchase an E-Tag device which mounts to the windscreen of your vehicle. An account must be set up (fee may apply) and credit put onto the account using a credit card. When travelling through the toll, your account will be automatically deducted and signalled by a “beep” from the E-Tag device.
For more information on payment types or where the toll roads are, visit these websites:
- Tolls in Brisbane – Go Via
- Tolls in Sydney – RTA
- Tolls in Melbourne – Eastlink
The outback is the vast, remote, arid land of Australia and can be accessed by major roads and highways. Although travelling in the outback is relatively easy, it is most important to be prepared.
Here are some tips to ensure that your outback experience is safe, exciting and enjoyable.
It is most important to have supplies with you at all times. This will include plenty of drinking water, food and fuel. Always re-stock your supplies whenever possible to cover the large distances between towns or for any unexpected surprises.
DRIVER FATIGUE & DISTRACTION
Avoid driver fatigue to prevent any unnecessary accidents. Distances between towns can be up to 6 hours apart, so be prepared and well rested to ensure of your safety. Make a rest stop or plan regular breaks at places of interest every two hours. Furthermore, share the driving with your travel companions.
Keep distractions at a minimum while driving. If you need to change a CD or the radio station, have someone else do it for you, or safely pull off the road.
MAPS & GUIDES
Ensure you have detailed maps and a plan prior to setting off. Let someone know where you will be travelling, the time you are leaving and the day you expect to reach your destination.
Stay on recognised routes as these roads will be better maintained and more frequently used than others. The condition of the road is ever changing. Expect the unexpected. Look out and slow down for road trains, animals & other vehicles. Check road conditions at an information centre, motor association (eg RACQ, NRMA, RACV), local police or the park ranger.
Even in daylight hours drive with your headlights on. This will make it easier for oncoming traffic to see you. Travel between dawn and dusk to avoid collisions with wildlife. Outback animals are either nocturnal or are more active in the cooler times when the sun is low.
Some land is privately owned or leased and Aboriginal sites may require permission prior to entering. Alcohol can be restricted or forbidden in some remote communities. Travelling on unsealed roads is prohibited in a motorhome.