Having your own car will give you more freedom to explore the Brisbane region and beyond. At the same time, if you're from overseas you will find that knowing the road rules and traffic information will come in handy not only to avoid being fined for illegal driving behaviour, but it will help you avoid road rage!
Keep LeftIn Australia, we drive on the left side of
two-way roads. When walking across the road, remember to look right,
left and right again for traffic, crossing only when it is safe to
cross the road.
Road MarkingsWhere the centre line marking is a single broken
line, overtaking is permitted if it is safe to do so. If the centre
line marking has two lines, no overtaking is allowed if the line
closest to your car is unbroken. If arrows are painted on the road, you
must only drive in the direction of those arrows.
SpeedThe speed limit is the maximum speed allowed
on any road. Driving above the speed limit will incur a heavy fine
which varies depending on how much above the speed limit you are caught
travelling. As a general rule, where there
are no signs and there are street lights and houses/closely spaced
buildings, the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour. On roads with no
street lights or buildings next to the road the speed limit is
generally 100 kilometres per hour. Remember to slow down in wet
weather or if driving through fog to ensure a safe journey. Also, if
travelling along country roads, many drivers switch on their headlights to low beam
as an added safety measure.
SeatbeltsSeatbelts and child restraints must be worn
in all vehicles where available. This is because seatbelts
significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in a car crash. Not
only is it dangerous not to wear a seatbelt but heavy fines apply.
Driving TiredIt's no joke, many people die in car crashes because the driver was tired. Some tips to help you avoid driving tired include:
- share the driving with your travelling partners (if licensed to drive)
- Take regular rest breaks (rest areas are located every 80-120 km on main roads)
- If tired, pull the car over and have a short nap
- After a long flight don't drive until you have adapted to sleeping normally at night
Alcohol and DrugsDriving after drinking large
amounts of alcohol is not only illegal, it's very dangerous! Strict
laws and penalties apply to drivers caught driving with a blood alcohol
level of 0.05 percent or higher. As a guide, at 0.05 percent blood
alcohol concentration your risk of being involved in a car crash
doubles. Similarly, driving after taking drugs that affect your ability
to drive is illegal and penalties severe.
Driving in rural and remote AustraliaDistances in
outback Australia are far with few towns and facilities and the roads
can be long and lonely. When travelling through remote areas in
Australia make sure that your car is in good working order before you
begin your trip and make sure you always carry a spare tyre, tools and
water with you. If travelling in remote areas or plan to leave major roads, make sure that you tell local police of your intended route.
Mobile PhonesRemember, some areas within Australia do not have
mobile phone coverage. It is also illegal to use your mobile phone
while driving, you will be fined. If you do need to use your mobile
phone, carefully pull over to the side of the road.
HitchhikingIt is strongly discouraged to hitchhike or pick up
hitchhikers...you never know who you're getting into a car with or
letting into your car.
Road and Traffic ConditionsUse a 4-wheel drive when driving on
unsealed roads in remote areas. Turn your car's headlights on low beam
during the day so other cars can see you. Drive slowly on unsealed
roads, taking extra care as loose surfaces can be unpredictable. Obey
road closure signs.
Road TrainsThese are huge trucks which can be length
of ten cars. Due to their size, it can take up to 2.5 kilometres to
overtake one at 100km/h. So it's important to allow plenty of room
before overtaking and be prepared for the 'wind rush' when passing as
this can pull you towards the truck. Make sure you leave plenty of room
between you and the vehicle in front of you.
AnimalsThe most active time for most animals is at
sunrise and sunset so take extra care when driving at these times. If
an animal does cross in front of you, reduce speed safely and do not
swerve severely or you could roll the car over. It's not only wildlife
such as kangaroos and emus you need to look out for, livestock such as
cattle and sheep also graze on the side of unfenced roads.
Vehical breakdownsIf your car breaks down, do not leave your vehicle! Your car will provide you with shade and protection from the heat. It's very important to wait for help to come to you.
In the city, shops are open until 9pm on a Friday night and in the suburbs, until 9pm on a Thursday evening. On Sunday, stores are normally open from 10am-4pm in the city. If you need something outside of these shopping hours, there's always
a service station or 7-Eleven open to meet your pressing, urgent needs.
When looking to dine out in Brisbane, it is helpful to understand the different
restaurants in Brisbane.