5 common misunderstood road rules
Do you need to indicate at roundabouts? Is one car length considered a safe following distance? Are you allowed to pick up your phone to answer a call while driving?
While road rules differ in each state and territory, we look at five commonly misunderstood road rules that range from approaching roundabouts to driving past school zones. And, with advice from Keep Your Eyes on the Road, we’ll outline five commonsense tips designed to keep you – and everyone else – safe on the road.
1. Mobile phones
4. Safe driving distance
5. School zones
And finally, who knew texting and driving could inspire a catchy rap battle?
An initiative of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Keep Your Eyes on the Road is a great resource for safe driving advice. While road rules for mobile phone use are not the same in every Australian state and territory, here are five commonsense tips to keep in mind:
- Never text: Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a 6-second interval. This means that at 60kph a driver is not watching the road for 75 metres or half the length of the MCG!
- Always keep your eyes on the road: Research shows that keeping your eyes on the road is critical in reducing driving risks from mobile phone use. Talking and listening are not too dangerous on mobiles in light traffic and good driving conditions, but taking your eyes off the road to dial or answer is risky.
- Buy, install and use a cradle for your phone: The Australian Road Rules require drivers to place their mobiles in approved cradles affixed to the dashboard so they are looking at the road ahead and not glancing down. Drivers can also use a Bluetooth provided they do not touch their handset. Study the road rules for hands-free mobile use in your State or Territory.
- Use your smartphone’s features: Smartphones provide voice-activated dialling and automatic answering features to reduce the effort of making and receiving a call, and allow drivers’ eyes to remain on the road at all times. You can install apps that limit a phone to calling and voice activation. Smart drivers use their handsets’ technology to reduce driving distractions.
- Don’t always answer your mobile: Hands-free mobile phone use in cars is legal in all Australian States and Territories. However, this does not mean it’s appropriate for drivers to use them at all times. Drivers should not make calls in heavy traffic, at intersections or in bad weather or poor road conditions. If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe to answer at the time, don’t answer it. Instead, let it divert to voicemail or an answering service.