Road Safety Guide
Driving safe in Australia means understanding the laws and regulations which have been put into place.
From driving with children to normal speed laws to cycling, there are many things to consider when you hit the road. Most qualified mechanics can take great care in making sure their mechanics and their clients are educated about everything having to do with their car or truck. In this light, we have put together a Road Safety Guide to ensure that everyone is on the same page for what to do and what not to do when on the road.
Basic Driving Laws
The basic driving laws are that you drive on the left, must have a license, must have a registered vehicle and must follow the speed limits. The common speed limit in cities and urban areas is 50kph unless otherwise posted. The common speed on the highway is110kph. That being stated, always look for the posted signs so that you know the rules of the road for where you are driving. Additionally, no matter where you are driving it is a good idea to give at least a two second distance between you and the car in front of you to ensure a good stopping distance.
At night you must use your headlights. Many times when driving it is helpful to use your high beams for a higher visibility. There are times when you must lower your headlights including:
- Within 200 metres of an oncoming vehicle
- When following closer than 200 metres behind another vehicle
- During times of fog to see more clearly
Seat belts save lives when people become involved in a car accident where there is a human collision. This can include your body slamming into the dashboard or being hit from the side by another vehicle. You must wear a seatbelt in the following instances:
- As the driver
- In the passenger seat
- In the back seat
- When pregnant
- Anyone under the age of 16
Children and Seatbelts
Children must be kept safe when in a car or truck. The seatbelt laws which pertain to children include:
- Children under the age of 7 must be in a child restraint.
- Children must be in the rear seats of a vehicle when under the age of 4.
- Children younger than 6 months must be in a rear facing child seat.
- Children six months to four years old can seat in a forward facing seat if there is a harness.
- Children from 4-7 years old must be in a front facing or booster seat with a seat belt or harness.
A cell phone may only be used when driving if it is mounted in a hands free device. It is illegal to text, email, video chat while in the car. This goes for whether you are creating or reading a text or email.
Pedestrians and Cyclists
Pedestrians always have the right of way when on the road. While pedestrians should be crossing in the crosswalk on the approved signs, this is not always the case. Be sure to keep an eye out for errant pedestrians and small children who may run out into the road.
Cyclists on bikes and motorcycles share the road with drivers. Be extra careful when making turns to watch for cyclists and let them make the turn or pass before you do in your vehicle. As a cyclist be sure to use protective clothing, use your bell or horn, use lights and do not linger in the blind spots for vehicles. Rules for cyclists include:
- You must wear a helmet.
- Do not ride on footpaths unless you are under 12 years old.
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- Do not ride on the freeway.
- You must have front and rear lights for riding at night.
- Use hand signals.
Driving Under the Influence
It is never a good idea to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are cases where you must have a blood alcohol level of 0.00 g/mL which include novice drivers, drivers with more than 12 passengers, taxi drivers and drivers carrying certain things. For all other drivers the limit for the BAC is 0.02 - 0.05 depending on certain conditions. Depending on your body type and weight just one drink can be enough to set you over the legal limit.
If you will be operating a motor vehicle, wait at least an hour before getting behind the wheel for every drink which you have. If you will be on any medication be sure to speak with your doctor about the effects it will have on your ability to drive. Not only do officers often put up checkpoints, but you can cause serious accidents and fatalities when driving under the influence.
Before You Go
Every time you get in your car you should follow a driving checklist which will help ensure a safe ride. Some of the things to check before you go include:
- Turn Signals
- Tyres (check for even tread wear)
- Windshield Wipers
Benefits of Safe Driving
We want all of our clients and their family members to be safe on the road. Not only will this prevent accidents and prevent interactions with the police, but it ensures that you can make it to or from where you need to be. Keeping your vehicle in top shape and being aware of the rules of the road can save lives. Be sure to follow all the rules of the road including posted signs, seat belt laws and posted speeds.
When teaching your teen to take over on the road, ensure that they understand all these rules. Novice drivers should not go above 100kph so that they have the time to make any quick transitions. Driving in heavy traffic, driving with others in the car and learning to leave their phone for when they are not driving are skills they need to master.
No matter when you get into the car, safe driving ensures that you can enjoy your time on the road.