Every year Australia becomes home to many new immigrants and residents, in addition to welcoming several tourists from different parts of the world. It also means that the Australian roads see plenty of drivers who are ‘beginners’ who are relatively unfamiliar to the special driving rules in these parts of the world. We try to outline a few tips for all those who intend to drive in Australia.
International Driving License – the first step to driving in Australia is to get a valid license. Licenses from foreign countries are valid only for three months. If you plan to stay beyond that, be prepared to take driving lessons and get your Australian driving license from the state of your residence. If your international license is not in English, you need to get an equivalent English translation.
Right Wheel Drive/ Left Hand Traffic – While the car makes are very similar in most countries, one major difference for residents in America and many European countries, is the right wheel drive. The driver’s seat is to the right of the car and vehicles must ‘keep left’. This is familiar for former British colonies and commonwealth nations like the Indian subcontinent, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Malaysia, Jamaica etc. but drivers from most other nations would find it awkward at first. If you are used to stick gears, it would require some driving lessons and practice to handle it with left hand. You may prefer an automatic transmission vehicle to avoid complications. Keeping left is also vital. Several international travelers get into accidents by forgetting their turns and directions.
No turning left on red – unlike USA or some other countries where turning right on red is allowed, Australia does not allow turning left on red. Turning right or U-turns on red are allowed only in Victoria and some other territories, but must be done only when clearly mentioned. Too often, beginners visiting my driving school seem confused or intimidated by rules for hook turns and roundabouts.
Seatbelts are a necessity for driving anywhere in the country. No exceptions.
Drunk driving is a criminal offense everywhere in Australia. Again, no exceptions
Speed limits and road signs are present across most of the roads. There are special cases like Melbourne where tram tracks run across the roads. Please take special note of the signs.
It is possible that you may be driving in vast stretches outside the city limits if you are visiting Australia...Read More