Five Obscure Road Rules Australians Habitually Break

1. Driving in the right-hand lane


This happens way too much on Australians highways and arterial roads.

Some drivers will happily coast along in the right-hand lane for as long as they can, regardless of whether or not they are overtaking.

But legally drivers are supposed to drive in the left-hand lane unless overtaking, turning right, making a U-turn, avoiding obstacles, driving in congested traffic or are otherwise instructed by road signs.

2. Not giving way to pedestrians


When turning left or right, drivers must give way to all pedestrians crossing the road in front of them and only continue driving when it is safe to do so. Drivers also have to give way to pedestrians at crossings, in shared zones and when leaving or entering a road from a driveway.

This rule also applies at roundabouts in Victoria, but not in NSW, with the Centre for Road Safety’s guide saying that rules on giving way to pedestrians apply to “intersections with and without traffic lights. However, this rule does not apply at roundabouts.”

3. Leaving a window gap


While it’s common to leave a window partially wound down to let air into the car on hot days, leaving too big of a gap could lead to trouble.

Specifically, in Queensland and Victoria, you can’t have a window gap of more than 5cm.

Indeed, the fine for having a gap greater than 5cm can lead to a $40 fine in Queensland and a $117 fine in Victoria.

4. Tooting to say goodbye or hello to someone


A friendly toot of the horn might be a cheerful way to say hello or goodbye to someone, but it’s actually illegal.

According to Road Rule 224, it is an offence to use a horn unless you are warning “other road users or animals of the approach or position of the vehicle”. The only other exception is if the horn is also part of an “anti-theft or alcohol interlock device fitted to your vehicle”.

The same law applies to an enraged honk of the horn when another road user does something annoying – using your horn in this situation technically counts as breaking the law.

5. Using high beam despite on-coming drivers


Using high beam lights is not permitted if you are travelling less than 200 metres behind a car going in the same direction or less than 200 metres from an oncoming vehicle.

So if you have your high beams on and see a car approaching, switch to standard headlights instead.

Rather than ignorance of the rules, this law is mostly broken due to people being slow to react to an on-coming car.

But one of the most frequently broken rules about lights is the friendly flash some drivers give to warn others about police up ahead which could also get you fined under the same rule as above.