By the time one has learned and passed the test for their learners, did several hundred hours of driving lessons and doing on the driving test, there’s still more to learn as a driver. You will never stop learning on the roads even at 40, 50 or 60 years of age. That is why VicRoads has put extra emphasis on increasing your hazard perception skills to avoid all sorts of accidents from developing.
As Australia’s population increases, the cities are getting more crowded every year. More young people join the drivers list and thereby more vehicles are added to the ever crowded roads and streets of every city in Australia. This is also true of other cities in other nations which face similar growing crowd of drivers on their roads.
In this article we present some of the more not well know rules that one should be aware of. Breaking any of these rules is an offense that could be very expensive.
Not long ago now, Australia as a nation introduced laws against using mobile phones while driving a vehicle. This particular rule states that even whilst stationary and the car is in ignition and on the road you are still seen as driving the car.
It is an offense to use your mobile as a driver. So, don’t even bother having it on your lap, that too is considered using the phone. It is dangerous to use a mobile phone as a driver. We’ve seen people using mobile devices who failed to give way.
We all hate traffic but is it worth risking a big fine to save a few minutes of your life? By law, if you can stop safely on an orange light then you ought to stop. If you sped up and tried to pass on orange light and it was safe to stop, and you were stopped by a police officer whilst running the orange light then you have been caught breaking one of the road rules that is not well known to a lot of us. The fine for such an offense is high and it is the same as running a red light.
Be a good Samaritan and keep your garbage in your car and take it home or stop near a bin and bin it. It is adding rubbish into the environment and thereby an office that can be expensive. If you caught throwing any rubbish out of your car then you’re looking at more than $200 fine in most states in Australia.
Car Horn and Waving Your Friend Goodbye
Do you like to use the car horn to say good bye to your friends or even wave you arm out the window? If you do both of these together then you’ll be hit a with double fine. Be warned, it will cost you at-least 2 demerit points and fines.
Obscuring Your Number Plates
Don’t block out your number plates if you don’t want to lose at-least half of your weekly pay. In Victoria, if you have a bike rack and there is not bikes attached then it is an offense and you will get a fine for that. The rules are there to help the general public from hurting themselves. Mind you, when I first learned about this rule I asked myself that this does not make any sense. But, if you do a little bit of thinking it all comes clear and bright. The bicycle rack is no danger to a lot of people whilst the car is moving but it is a danger when you’ve parked your car.
Do Not Do Drugs and Drive!
Having any drugs in your blood stream is not only illegal but also very dangerous when driving. This is a law under all states in Australia. In Victoria, the fines for such an offense is 10 demerit points and $455. Not to mention that in order to drive again, you would need to be free of drugs for the next 3 years. It’s sad but the reality is that is needs to be implemented for the safety of other road users. There has been many accidents involving drug use and driving in the past.
Cyclist and Pedestrian
This is perhaps a very import rule to note. It is a common problem when cars meet cyclist and pedestrians on the roads. Did you know that if you open the car door and accidentally hit a cyclist or a pedestrian who is going past you is an offense and the is $379 in most states.
When next time you drive past a cyclist on the road make sure to give enough space between you and them. You must at-least give 1 metre space at speeds below 60kms/hr and 1.5 metres at speeds more than 60Kms/hr. The fine for such an offense if you caught breaking it is 3 demerit points and more than $300 in most states.
Overtaking a Vehicle
The final common road rule I am sure most people are not even aware of but are always breaking it. When a driver overtakes another vehicle and cuts in too early is an office, as is speeding up to avoid been overtaken.
I am sure there are more of these “not very well know road rules” most of us are not aware of. Drive safe and increase your hazard perception skills.
Driving and mobile phones: an unsafe mix
Every new and existing drivers should be aware of the changes to rules and regulations for the use of mobile phones in vehicles.
Changes to smart phone rules for probationary drivers and charges toughened for all mobile phone offenses.
Mobile Phone Usage: P1 and P2 vehicle drivers
You are not allowed to use any mobile phone or similar devices while you are driving a car. Even while stationary and the car is on you are still considered driving a car.
Young vehicle drivers are over-represented in severe road crashes.
Smart phone and other mobile gadgets (eg. DVD gamers or tablet computer systems) are major sources of distraction for young motorists, particularly as these motorists are still building driving experience and developing abilities.
From 25 November 2013:
P2 vehicle drivers, in addition to P1 and learner vehicle drivers, have to not make use of a smart phone (hand-held or hands-free) for any function while driving (including while fixed but not parked).
Please note that all probationary drivers who reach 5 demerit points could incur a licence suspension.
All vehicle drivers.
Tougher penalties for unlawful use of smart phones and other technologies that require the use of hands etc.
From 25 November 2013:
All motorists face tougher charges for prohibited use of a smart phone or interacting with other units that have visual displays while driving (e.g. DVD gamers or tablet computer systems) that are not vehicle driver’s aids.
The charges are:
– 4 demerit points.
– $433 fine.
These laws are brought in because it increases the risks of having a vehicle accident(s).
Making use of a mobile phone while driving can be distracting. Research shows that using a hands-free or hand-held mobile phone while driving that may involve manual or visual diversion boosts your chance of being involved in a crash or near crash.
The Law in Austrlia with regards to Smart Phone Usage
It is unlawful in all Australian states and territories to make use of a hand-held smart phone while driving.
This consists of:
- Playing games.
- Taking photos/video.
- Making use of any other function on your phone.
Making use of a hand-held smart phone is likewise illegal when your vehicle is stationary but not parked e.g. when you’re stopped or at a stop light.
Motorists who break this law in Victoria deal with an on-the-spot fine and incur 4 demerit points.
Learners, P1 and P2 drivers are not permitted to make use of any hand-held or hands-free smart phone while driving.
Why it’s hazardous to make use of a mobile phone while driving.
Study reveals that dialing and speaking on a smart phone while driving can cause these:
You usually respond slower when making use of a smart phone, especially when you’re deep in discussion. You might take longer to respond to traffic signals or entirely miss them.
Riskier choice making.
Choosing when it is safe to turn into traffic is a complex job. Making use of a smart phone while driving affects judgement and concentration and you may fail to choose a safe space. When making a decision to turn across oncoming traffic, you also tend not to consider the environmental conditions such as, when it is raining or the roads are slippery. If you do not make safe turns you could crash.
Slower and less controlled braking.
Throughout a smart phone call your brake reaction time is slower, and you brake with even more force and less control which lead to shorter stopping ranges readily available between yourself and the automobile in front.
Wandering from your lane.
You’re most likely to roam from your lane when you’re utilizing a smart phone, even on a straight road with little traffic.
Not being alert to your environments.
When utilizing a smart phone, you have the tendency to spend less time inspecting your mirrors and what’s going on around you. This influences your ability to negotiate and check traffic securely.
Safe driving tips and the mobile phone.
- Do not make calls in rush hour, bad road conditions or bad weather.
- Never look up contact number.
- When you know you’ll be driving, inform your household and close friends not to call.
- Tell callers you are driving and may need to end the call.
- Take strategy breaks in your trip for making and receiving calls.
- Drive over securely and park to get a call or make one.
- Never send out or review text.
- An android app that’s smart and will help you from using your phone.
- Use voicemail.
A mobile phone can be crucial in an emergency. Stop and park safely where you will not jeopardize other road users if you need to utilize your mobile phone to call for aid.