Traffic and Road Conditions in Australia

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Australia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning driving in Australia is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic operates on the left side of the road, and all vehicles use right-hand drive. Please use caution when crossing streets and when driving. When crossing roads on foot, make sure you look carefully in all directions. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory, and fines apply for not wearing them. Speed limits and laws regarding driving while intoxicated are rigorously enforced, and random breath testing of a driver's blood alcohol limit is a common occurrence. Roads and streets are frequently narrower and less graded than U.S. highways. Outside major metropolitan areas, most highways are two-lane roads with significant distances between destinations. Speed limits vary throughout Australia and are measured in kilometers, not miles. Be aware that speed cameras are everywhere and you will be ticketed for driving over the speed limit.

When driving in Australia, exercise caution while passing or merging with adjacent traffic. If driving in rural areas, be cautious of free-roaming animals, such as kangaroos, and "road-trains" (several semi-truck trailers connected together). Passing road-trains is dangerous, and you should pull over to allow on-coming road-trains to pass to avoid being sideswiped. A number of fatalities have occurred in the Northern Territory where vehicles driven at high rates of speed have skidded and overturned after hitting loose gravel on the shoulder of the road. If you have no experience with a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you should exercise common-sense when driving in the Australian outback.

Texting or holding your phone while driving is against the law, but you can use a hands-free system to communicate while driving. For specific information concerning Australian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance, and the rental and operation of motor vehicles in Australia, visit the Australian Tourist Commission web site.

Each state/territory has different rules about using a foreign driver’s license and the conditions under which a visitor might have to get an international driver’s license. In some cases, you can apply for a driver’s license from the state in Australia where you intend to remain for the duration of your stay in Australia.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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