If you have read one of his articles before, this is a follow up to Rishi Khandelwal’s guide for travelling in Australia. When overseas people from non-native English-speaking countries arrive in Australia as tourists or students, many of them have to drive. If you have driven in a western or developed country before it will not be that uncomfortable. However, if this is your first time driving in such a country, there are some things you should know.
Some general rules to note is that in Australia people drive on the left side of the load. Cars must be road worthy and international license drivers are subject to the same rules and regulations of domestic drivers.
(1) What is considered as acceptable distance between two moving cars and two cars waiting at the red light in many developing countries is considered tail gaiting in Australia. Most states and territories in Australia require the 2 or 3 second rule, which in practice equates atleast about 2 or 3 meter gap. The following images will demonstrate the difference:
(2) Follow lanes while driving – Most Australian Roads have clearly marked lanes for cars to drive. Drivers must follow lanes and indicate before changing lanes
(3) ALL passengers MUST ALWAYS wear seatbelts. Rishi Khandelwal states that this is what many visitors to Australia take for granted and ignore. In developing countries, it is a common practice for the back seat passengers and sometimes the front passenger not to wear the seat belt. In fact law has not caught up in certain states and regions and it is optional for second or third row passengers (in case of SUVs) to wear seatbelts. However, it is a well-researched and documented that seatbelts save lives for all passengers in all rows when it comes to a collision.
(4) Children under 7 and under 5 have seating restrictions, they cannot be in the front passenger seat and require a special seat in the second or third rows. This is because they have developing bodies and their bodies need extra cushioning or protection in the event of an accident.
(5) Follow the speed limits – while this is a no brainer and should be followed anyways in any country, Australia like other western countries have designated school zones, where drivers must drive at slow speeds (i.e. no more than 40 km/hr). In addition there are some places with average speed safety cameras that track your entry and exit and calculate the average speed you are doing.
(6) Finally the universal driving rules also apply here, perhaps with harsher penalties and strict enforcement. Rishi Khandelwal warns international drivers not to drink and drive or using handheld mobile devices while driving.