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Did you know? 10 things that are illegal when driving in Australia

Front car dashboard | Shine Lawyers

Most of us do our best to follow the rules of the road. We know we need to strap on our seatbelts, stop at red lights, avoid speeding, and stay off our mobile phones. But there’s more to the road rules than the obvious. In fact, there’s a long list of surprising laws many of us probably haven’t considered – and often, they differ from state to state.

If you think the police won’t bother enforcing them, think again. In 2014, a Brisbane motorcyclist was fined $146 for stretching his leg out while riding along the Logan motorway. Police charged him with “failing to keep both feet on the footrest”. In the same year, another Brisbane resident was charged $44 for leaving his car parked with his window down a few centimetres on a hot summer’s day.

So what should you do to avoid a financial hit? Here are 10 unexpected illegal activities to keep in mind:

1 – Throwing apple cores and banana peels out of the car window

Sure, they’re biodegradable, but you can still be fined for littering. In Queensland, the crime of “dropping injurious matter on a road” can cost you $353 and two demerit points.

2 – Improper use of a horn

Some motorists only seem to use their horns improperly. But honking goodbye to your family as you drive off after dinner or beeping at the car who just cut you off is actually illegal. Officially, you’re only supposed to use your horn if you’re warning other road users (or animals) of your approach.

3 – Driving at night when the light on your registration plate isn’t working

Australian law states that rego plates need to be visible 24/7, so check your light before setting off at night.

4 – Having people or animals on your lap

Children must be seated in proper child restraints. Pets need to be next to the driver or on the car floor.


5 – Leaving your fog lights on

Fog lights, both front and rear, should only be used in rain or fog, or when your vision is impaired by smoke and dust. Once you can see clearly, they need to be off or you could cop a fine.

6 – Interrupting a funeral procession

Aside from being insensitive and rude, it’s also illegal to cut into a funeral procession.

7 – Driving with an unregistered trailer

This one can cost you up to $637, so don’t forget to register your trailer!

8 – Driving with a bike rack covering your licence plate

Your licence plate needs to be clearly visible from both the front and the rear of your motor vehicle. In Victoria, you can be fined for having a bike rack fitted when it’s not carrying bicycles.

9 – Not winding up your windows

In Queensland, if you’re more than five metres away from your car, your windows need to be up with a gap no greater than 5cm.

10 – Not giving way to horses

It’s actually illegal not to give way to a hard-to-control horse, or a horse that refuses to move.

If a rider raises a hand and points to his or her horse, you must steer the car as far to the left as possible, turn off the engine and wait until the horse is far enough away that you’re in no danger of startling it.

So don’t horse around.

Shine Lawyers – Get in touch

Sometimes, no matter how well you follow the road rules, accidents happen. When they do, we’re here to help. Get in touch with one of our motor vehicle accident lawyers for more information.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: January 15, 2018.

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  • Roger wrote:

    I believe your reference to bike carrier usage in Victoria is out of date and incorrect as it now stands

  • John O. wrote:

    I’m curious why Queensland cares if your windows are rolled down or not? I would think if you don’t care if your interior gets wet if it rains, that your business… not the police’s. This seems ridiculous to me, but I’m from the United States & don’t get it. Somebody please explain why this is a rational law?

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi John, it’s more to do with the car’s security than stopping the interior getting wet if it rains. There are also laws about locking your car if you are more than a certain distance away from your vehicle. ~Steph.

  • Laura wrote:

    Hey I just got a question 🙂
    Today we were driving with our colorful van through a small town and stopped for some kids who wanted to cross the road. Well it was more a kindergarten or school groups with teacher and one of the teachers started filming us while we were waiting for them to cross. She still filmed till every single kid was on the other side and after that she just shouted to us that she will give that to the police. I’ve git no glue what we did wrong can somone help me ?:)

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Laura, from your comment it doesn’t sound like you have done anything wrong. Perhaps wait to see if you hear from the Police regarding the matter? ~Steph

  • Alyssa wrote:

    Is it illegal to drive with windows not working? Can the police order you not to drive till the windows get fixed. ?

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Alyssa, the laws regarding car windows are intended to preserve safety and security, so if police have instructed you to get them fixed it would be best to follow their instructions. ~Steph

  • Anh wrote:

    Is playing video cd while driving legal in Victoria? Thanks.

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