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Differences in driving laws across Australian states

Motorists are being encouraged to turn their attention to the different driving laws across Australia’s different states and territories,


As more people plan on driving to their staycation due to local lock down restrictions, the car rental experts at StressFreeCarRental.com have compiled a list of motoring laws and how they differ between the states.


Aussies have to stay clued up as some of these laws have only the slightest difference between them. 


For example, in one state U-turns at traffic lights are permitted whilst in the others it’s completely banned unless told otherwise.


A spokesperson from StressFreeCarRental.com said: “The land down under has loads of different driving laws and regulations but a lot of people don’t know that these differ from state to state.


“You have six states and not all of them follow the same rules, so it’s important to make Aussie drivers aware of this to keep them out of trouble when they’re on the road.


“There are a lot of small differences in these laws and it can be very easy to make an honest mistake, the more familiar we become with these rules the better.”


Different driving laws across the states:

  1. Double demerit points in peak times

Drivers in New South Wales and Western Australia can receive double the amount of points for committing driving offences during peak times like holiday periods. This is to encourage drivers to take extra care when there are considerably more cars on the road.


Double demerit points also exist in Queensland all year round. If a driver commits more than one speeding offence from a particular category within a 12 month time period they will receive double the amount of points. This rule also applies to seatbelt offences.

  1. Taking u-turns

Across the states it’s illegal to make a u-turn at traffic lights and drivers are only able to do so when there is a sign allowing it. The only state that has a different rule is Victoria.


In Victoria, the opposite applies and Aussie drivers are actually allowed to take a u-turn unless there is a sign that says otherwise.

  1. Drinking

In Queensland the driving rules state that any alcohol in vehicles must be unopened and away from not only the driver, but all occupants in the car. However in states New South Wales and Victoria, alcohol can be opened and consumed by the passengers in the car.

  1. Leaving windows open

Generally, leaving a car window open is against the law, however this differs ever so slightly across Australia's states.


In Queensland and Victoria if an occupant is more than 3 metres away from the car it is deemed as unattended and therefore windows should not be open more than 5cm.

  1. Tailgating distances

This is another one of Australia’s laws that changes slightly depending on what state you’re in.


Aussie drivers in Queensland and Victoria are expected to keep a two second gap between the car in front of them. 


In New South Wales the gap is slightly bigger at three seconds.

  1. Snoozing in the car

In Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia it’s not illegal to sleep in your car and in Queensland you are only permitted to sleep in a car if you are on a camping site.


However, in Victoria it is illegal to sleep in the front of the car whilst intoxicated even if there is no intention of driving the vehicle whilst under the influence.


Whichever state you are driving in it is always important to stay educated on the rules of the road to ensure you stay out of trouble and keep yourself and others safe.



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