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10 Things That Are Illegal When Driving in Australia

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 drink driving, and stay off our mobile phones. But there’s more to the road rules than that. In fact, there’s a long list of perhaps surprising laws that many of us may not have even considered – and often they differ from state to state.

Think 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 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 potentially 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 in an improper fashion. But honking goodbye to your family as you drive off after dinner or beeping at the jerk who just cut you off are 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 with the light on your registration plate not working

Australian law states that rego plates need to be visible 24/7, so check your light.

children and dog leaning out of a car window

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.

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. Register your trailer!

Cycling loading his bike onto a car

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 $152 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.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: March 2, 2017.

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