Speed limits

Tell you the maximum speed allowed in good conditions

Default speed limits

Where there is no posted speed limit sign, two default speed limits apply:

  • Default urban speed limit is 50km/h (built-up areas with buildings next to the road or street lighting)
  • Default speed limit for all other roads is 100km/h

There are two types of speed limit signs:

 RUH_regulatory_speed_sign Regulatory speed limit signs mean it is illegal to drive faster than the posted speed limit.
 RUH_advisory_speed_sign Advisory speed signs indicate the recommended maximum speed in good driving conditions for the average car.
RUH_end_speed_sign RUH_speed_de-restricted_sign RUH_state_limit_speed_sign Some roads do not have speed signs. On these roads an end speed limit or speed de-restriction sign indicates you are entering an area without speed signs, the default speed limits apply and you must drive to the conditions.

 

It is against the law to have a radar detector or jammer in your car.

 RUH_local_traffic_areas A local traffic area is local streets that have a speed limit of 40 km/h. The lower speed limit means greater safety and more quiet for road users and people living in the area.
 RUH_shared_traffic_zone A shared traffic zone is usually a street where pedestrians, bicycle riders and other vehicles can share the road. These zones have a speed limit of
10 km/h. A driver in a shared traffic zone must give way to all pedestrians.
 RUH_work_site_speed_sign Where a roadwork speed limit sign is displayed, the speed limit is enforceable. When approaching roadworks pay attention to all signs and obey reduced speed signs.
 RUH_school_zone_speed_sign A school zone is the area around a school with a speed limit of 40 km/h. The school zone limit only applies on gazetted school days and during the times shown on the sign.
 RUH_school_bus_stop_zone School bus stop zone signs tell you to drive at
40 km/h because you are near a busy school bus stop. This special speed limit only applies when a bus, with flashing rear orange lights (wigwag), is driving between the signs.

Be careful near bus stops where drivers are waiting to pick up passengers, particularly in rural areas.

School buses - Take care when passing stationary buses from 7am - 9.30am and 2.30 - 5pm (when children are travelling to and from school).

RUH_school_bus_flash Buses use signs and orange flashing wigwag lights to warn you that they are picking up or dropping off school children. The lights begin to flash when the bus stops and the doors are opened. They keep flashing for about 30 seconds after the doors close and continue after the bus moves off. You must not drive past the bus at more than 40 km/h while the lights are flashing as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.

School bus headlights will flash when buses are dropping off or picking up school children as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.

Variable speed limit signs are placed in tunnels, on motorways and bridges. The changes in speed limits are enforceable and must be obeyed.

Speed cameras

Speed cameras support NSW Police as they are proven to change behaviour and reduce road trauma. All cameras are regularly tested to ensure they are measuring speeds accurately and fine revenue raised goes directly towards improving road safety. There are 4 types of speed cameras used in NSW:

  1. Mobile speed cameras are unpredictably moved around the road network and are used statewide, on all types of roads, all times of day.
  2. Red-light speed (safety) cameras are used at high-risk intersections to detect both red light and speeding offences.
  3. Fixed speed cameras are used at high-risk locations or locations with a crash history - including blackspots, school zones, and motorways.
  4. Point-to-point speed cameras work by calculating a driver’s average speed between two points and issuing an infringement if it is higher than the limit.

Alcohol limits

Penalties apply for exceeding the BAC limits. Some foods and medications may contain alcohol that can register in a breath test (e.g. chocolates, cough lollies and mouthwashes). Always read the labels.

BAC limit Licence class
0.00 Learners, P1 and P2
Under 0.02 Public passenger vehicles
Coach or heavy vehicles (over 13.9t GVM or GCM)
Dangerous goods vehicle
Under 0.05 Fully licensed driver (car or rider)
Fully licensed drivers from interstate and overseas

 

Drugs, legal and illegal

It is illegal to drive or supervise while drug-affected.

Drug testing

Police will arrest you if they suspect you are driving drug-affected. You will have to give blood and urine samples for testing. In a crash where someone is sent to hospital, blood samples are taken which may be tested.

Medicines and over-the-counter drugs

Many prescription and some over-the-counter medicines affect driving. They can affect concentration, mood, coordination and reactions. Do not drive while taking medicines with a warning label that tells you not to drive including:

  • Some pain killers, diet pills and cold and flu medicines
  • Medicines for blood pressure, nausea, allergies, inflammations and fungal infections
  • Tranquillisers, sedatives and sleeping pills

To reduce risk you should:

  • Read the labels
  • Not drive if a medicine will affect your driving
  • Never take someone else’s prescription medication
  • Ask the doctor or chemist about driving when using the medication

Seatbelts

Everyone in a vehicle must wear a correctly fitted seatbelt when available. If seatbelts are unavailable, passengers must sit in the back if a seat is available. Passengers under 7 cannot travel in the front seat without a child restraint or seatbelt, even if the back seat is full. Learner or provisional licence holders cannot carry passengers if there are not enough seatbelts. It is illegal to drive with people in the boot or on the vehicle.

Child restraints

Children up to 6 months must be secured in an approved rear facing restraint device. From 6 months up to 12 months a child may be in either an approved rearward or forward facing restraint device. Children from 12 months up to 4 years must be in an approved forward facing child restraint. From 4 years to under 7 years, an approved child restraint or booster seat must be used. Approved restraints must be properly fastened, adjusted and anchored. All restraints should be fitted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

What type of child restraint to use

When purchasing a child restraint look for the sticker certifying the restraint meets Australian Standard AS1754. A booster seat must be used with either an approved lap and sash seatbelt or an approved child safety harness.

Seatbelts and child restraints in taxis

Taxi drivers can be fined and given demerit points for every unrestrained passenger they carry. When travelling in taxis, a child under 12 months of age must use a suitable child restraint. Taxis have anchorage points for your child restraint and some taxi companies will supply a child restraint if you request one when booking. Approved restraints have the Standards Australia label.

Exemptions

Taxis: Currently, taxi drivers do not have to wear a seatbelt.

Medical conditions: In rare circumstances an adult or child may obtain a doctor’s certificate to say they cannot wear a seatbelt. This certificate must:

  • Be dated and issued on the practitioner’s letterhead
  • State the reason for the exemption
  • State the date on which the exemption expires (should not exceed one year from the date of issue)

This certificate must be carried while travelling unrestrained, otherwise both driver and passenger will be fined and the driver will get demerit points.

Reversing: A driver reversing a vehicle does not have to wear a seatbelt.

Tow trucks: When an appropriate child restraint is unavailable in a tow truck, a child less than 1 year old is allowed to sit on the lap of another passenger.

Intersections, give way and turning

Around half of crashes in NSW happen at intersections. You should approach intersections at a speed that allows you to give way. It is an offence to be in the middle of an intersection when the traffic lights change. Stay on the approach side until there is a big enough gap on the other side.

Give way rules where there are no signs

Generally if you’re turning across another vehicle’s path, you must give way. When turning at an intersection, you must give way to:

  • Oncoming vehicles going straight ahead
  • Oncoming vehicles turning left
  • Any vehicle on your right

If you and an oncoming vehicle are turning right at an intersection both cars should pass in front of each other. If other drivers do not give way to you, do not get into danger. You must also give way to any pedestrians at or near the intersection on the road you are entering.

RUH_stop_sign ‘STOP’ signs and ‘STOP’ lines (continuous line) - When you come to a STOP sign you must stop before reaching the STOP line or intersection, and as close as possible to the line or intersection. A STOP sign or a STOP line means you must give way to all vehicles travelling in, entering or approaching the intersection, regardless of direction. You must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning. You must remain stationary until it is safe for the driver to proceed.

 

RUH_give_way_sign ‘GIVE WAY’ signs and ‘GIVE WAY’ lines (broken line) - When you come to a GIVE WAY sign you must slow down and prepare to stop. They indicate you must give way to all vehicles travelling in, entering or approaching the intersection, regardless of direction. You must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning.

 

Where there are no STOP or GIVE WAY signs, the line marked across the road has the same meaning as the sign. You must stop or give way.

 

RUH_t_intersection_sign T intersections - At T intersections the vehicle travelling on the road that ends must give way to any pedestrians crossing or vehicles travelling on the road that continues unless otherwise signposted. Where the continuing road (which is marked with broken white lines) goes around a corner. You must signal to leave the continuing road and enter the terminating road.

Signalling

You must give plenty of warning by signalling before you turn or change lanes and make sure your indicator is turned off after. If your indicators are not working, not clearly visible or your vehicle does not have indicator lights then you must give a hand signal out the window when turning right (straight arm) or stopping (arm bent upwards).

Turning

When turning make sure you are in the correct part of the road and have enough time to signal. When turning left or right you must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning.

Left turns - must be made from the left side of the road. When turning:

  • Signal left and move close to the left side of the road
  • Keep to the left side of the road you are entering
  • Use a slip lane where provided

When driving on a multi-lane road, you must turn left from the left lane, or from a lane with an arrow pointing left.

Right turns - you must:

  • Signal right and move as close to the centre line as possible
  • When turning on a multi-lane road, turn right from the right lane or a lane with an arrow pointing right. Turn right when it is safe
  • In marked lanes, you must stay in the same lane as you go from one road to another

Follow the instruction of road markings. If there are none, make a right turn by passing as near as possible to the right of the centre of the intersection.

Median strips - making a right turn through a divided road with a median strip:

  • Wait for a suitable gap in the oncoming traffic
  • Drive as far as you can into the central dividing part of the road
  • Make sure you obey all GIVEWAY or STOP signs or traffic lights

Before moving from a stationary position at the side of the road or a median strip park, signal for at least five seconds, checking mirrors and blind spots.

Traffic lights - When turning right at traffic lights:

  • Unless a sign indicates otherwise or there is a red right turn arrow:
  • Enter the intersection as though you are beginning your turn, keeping the vehicle and front wheels straight so you don’t block oncoming traffic
  • Wait in the intersection until traffic clears or breaks and then turn safely
  • If the lights change to yellow or red while you are in the middle of the intersection, you are allowed to turn as soon as it is safe to do so

One-way streets - When turning right into a one-way street, turn as close as possible to the right side of the road you are entering. When turning right from a one-way street, turn from as close as possible to the right side of the road.

U-turns - cannot be made:

  • Where there is a NO U-TURN sign
  • On motorways
  • At traffic lights unless a U-TURN PERMITTED sign is visible
  • Across unbroken lines, unless the line closest to you is broken

You must start your U-turn from as close as possible to the centre of the road. Before starting the U-turn you must make sure it is safe: check mirrors and blind spots. Do not begin unless you can make the turn without unreasonably obstructing traffic. Give way to all vehicles and pedestrians and signal.

Three-point turns are used when a road is not wide enough for a U-turn. However, because it takes longer to do a three-point turn, it is often safer to turn around by driving around the block. Before commencing and after completing: signal, and check mirrors and blind spots.

Roundabouts

Many intersections have a roundabout to manage the traffic flow in roads with either a single lane or multiple lanes. Don’t drive on the central island of a roundabout unless the size of your vehicle means you can’t avoid it.

RUH_roundabout_sign There is a roundabout ahead RUH_roundabout_ahead_sign Give way to vehicles on the roundabout

Making turns and giving way at roundabouts

Approaching a roundabout: Vehicles entering a roundabout must give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout.

Giving way at a roundabout: means the driver must slow down and if necessary, stop to avoid a collision.

Turning left: On approach select the left lane, signal, and exit in the left lane.

Going straight ahead: Do not signal when approaching the roundabout but always signal left before exiting a roundabout. You may approach the roundabout from either left or right lanes (unless road markings indicate otherwise), and must drive through and exit in the same lane.

Turning right: On your approach you must select the right lane, signal right, stay in the right lane and signal left before exiting into the right lane.

Making a U-turn: On your approach signal right from the right lane, stay in the right lane, but signal left before exiting into the right lane.

Exiting a roundabout: If practical, you must always signal left when exiting.

Roundabouts and bicycle riders - Bicycle riders are allowed to turn right from the left hand lane. When passing each exit, the rider must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout from that exit.

Risks to watch out for:

  • Take extra care whenever you drive in a roundabout
  • Keep an eye out for cars that are leaving the roundabout
  • Be careful if changing lanes in a roundabout, particularly when leaving
  • Look out for vehicles that are making a full turn
  • Watch for bicycles, long vehicles and motorcycles

Police directions

Prepare to be stopped if you see:

  • The police
  • A police vehicle
  • Red/blue flashing lights
  • The police using signs

Police often give hand signal directions at intersections and road incidents. You must always obey any direction you are given from the police.

Police and emergency vehicles

When you hear a siren or see flashing lights of an emergency vehicle you must give way. Generally, you need to pull over to the left until the vehicle passes. You can get an on-the-spot fine if you do not give way to emergency vehicles. If the police pursue you, immediately pull over.

Funeral procession or authorised processions

You must not negligently or wilfully interfere with, or interrupt, the free passage of any vehicle or person forming part of a funeral cortege or authorised procession. It is an offence and you will be fined.

Traffic lights

Red means stop and wait behind the line. Yellow (amber) means stop unless you are so close to an intersection that sudden braking might cause a crash. Green means proceed through the intersection carefully.

Turning arrows at traffic lights - are used to control traffic turning right or left. A green arrow means you can only turn in that direction. A red arrow means traffic waiting to turn must wait behind the line until the arrow turns green or disappears, even if there is no traffic on the road. When the yellow (amber) arrow is flashing, you may proceed but you must give way to any pedestrian who is crossing the road you are turning into.

Some intersections that have traffic lights contain painted bicycle areas that allow cyclists to stop safely. When traffic lights or arrows are red, drivers must not allow any part of the vehicle to enter the bicycle storage area.

RUH_stop_traffic_light_sign This STOP sign is only seen at traffic lights and means you must stop and give way to traffic (obeying a normal STOP sign) if the lights are not working or are flashing yellow.
RUH_left_turn_permitted_sign This sign allows you to turn left on a red light after stopping. When turning left you must give way to the right.

 

B signals - separate buses from other vehicles for a safer, smoother traffic flow. Never drive in the lanes marked BUSES ONLY. B signals are attached to the usual traffic lights. They show a white, red or yellow B. Shortly before the usual traffic signals change to green, the B signal lights up white. All other vehicles stay while the buses may proceed in any direction unless signs or markings indicate otherwise. The red and yellow B signals tell bus drivers when to stop at the intersection.

Bicycle riders - may have signals that show them when to cross. Cyclists must follow these red, yellow or green bicycle symbols.

T signals - are special signals for light rail vehicles. These traffic lights display a red (stop), yellow (prepare to stop) or white (go) letter T.

Red light speed (safety) cameras - are used to photograph vehicles that run a red light. A notice is then sent to the vehicle owner, who has the option to:

  • Pay the fine
  • Advise the State Debt Recovery Office:
  • On a statutory declaration the name and address of the person driving at the time of the offence
  • You want to have the case heard by a court

If you are crossing as the light turns yellow (amber) and it is not safe to stop, continue driving through the intersection. The camera takes a photograph if you cross over the line 0.3 seconds after the light has turned red. Traffic already in the intersection or entering on a yellow (amber) light will not activate the camera (capable of detecting red light and speeding offences).

Pedestrian signals - When making a turn you must give way to pedestrians on the road into which you are turning. At traffic light intersections there may be pedestrian signals (which must be followed) that show them when to cross.

Road markings

Painted arrows

Painted arrows tell you which direction must be taken in each lane. When more than one direction is shown, you may go in the either direction. Even if the lane you are in turns in only one direction you must signal. When you turn, stay in the same lane as you move from one road to the other.

Dividing lines

Unless a sign tells you otherwise, you can cross any type of dividing line during a right turn at an intersection. You can also turn to the right across a dividing line to enter or leave a property by the shortest route or to park in angle parking across the road.

Broken white dividing lines - may be crossed to overtake.

Double white unbroken lines - you cannot overtake across these lines.

Double white lines with an unbroken line closer to you - you cannot overtake across these lines.

Double white lines with a broken line closer to you - you may cross the lines to overtake.

Do not make a U-turn across an unbroken line/s, unless the line closest to you is broken. Do not overtake across a single unbroken line. Drivers are permitted to cross a single dividing line to enter or leave a road.

Painted islands

You must not drive on a section of painted road that is surrounded by double lines unless required (e.g. emergency vehicles or when avoiding an obstruction). You may drive on a painted island surrounded by single continuous or broken lines to enter or leave the road, or to enter a turning lane that begins immediately after the painted island for up to 50m. You must not stop on a painted island.

Keep Clear pavement marking

Keep Clear pavement markings are to ensure vehicles are not obstructed. Do not stop between the marked lines. These markings may also be used at some T intersections to prevent queuing across the intersection.

Edge lines

These lines can be broken or unbroken and are marked to keep traffic off soft road edges and breakdown lanes and help you see where you are going.

You may drive on, across or outside edge lines for up to 100 metres only if:

  • Stopping
  • Overtaking on the inside of vehicles turning right or, in a one-way street, overtaking vehicles turning left
  • Turning off or onto the road by the shortest route
  • Turning left or right at intersections
  • Driving a slow moving vehicle

Audible lines

Audible edge lines are a series of raised materials that create a noise or vibration when driven on to warn drivers who veer over the line.

Kerb lines

Broken yellow kerb line - is a CLEARWAY line. You must not stop at the edge of the road between the hours shown on the sign except in an emergency. Buses, taxis and hire cars may only stop to pick up or set down passengers.

Unbroken yellow kerb line - is a NO STOPPING line. You must not stop for any reason except an emergency.

Dragon’s Teeth

Dragon’s Teeth are a series of triangular markings placed in pairs to further increase the visibility of school zones and provide a constant reinforcement to slow down to 40km/h around schools.

Pedestrian crossings and refuges

Special markings show where pedestrians have special rights. You must give way to pedestrians if there is any danger of colliding with them – even if there is no marked pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossings are usually marked by white stripes on the road (zebra crossings). Some pedestrian crossings have zig zag lines marked on the road before the crossing to warn drivers they are approaching a crossing which they may not be able to see because of a curve, crest or dip. Do not overtake any vehicle that is stopping or has stopped at a crossing.

Pedestrian refuges

A pedestrian refuge is an island in the middle of the road allowing the road to be crossed in two stages. When you are approaching a pedestrian refuge (which is signposted), look out for pedestrians.

Pelican crossings

A pelican crossing is a special pedestrian crossing controlled by traffic lights. The traffic lights have a different colour sequence. After the red light, the traffic lights start to flash yellow at the same time pedestrians see a flashing red DON’T WALK sign. This means you may drive carefully through the crossing if there is no risk of hitting a pedestrian.

Children’s crossings

These are crossings that operate before and after school hours (and other times such as school excursions and lunch times). They are highlighted by red flags with the words CHILDREN CROSSING on them. You must not stop on or within 20 metres before or 10 metres after, a children’s crossing.

Level crossings

At a level (train/tram) crossing a pedestrian must not cross when a red light is displayed. If warning lights commence flashing or warning bells begin ringing and a pedestrian has already started they must finish crossing without delay.

Combined children’s and pedestrian crossing - Pedestrian crossings can be used as children’s crossings. When the red CHILDREN CROSSING flags are displayed the crossing operates as a children’s crossing. When the flags are not displayed the crossing operates as a pedestrian crossing.

School crossing supervisors – display ‘STOP Children Crossing’ signs so you slow down and stop. When the School Crossing Supervisor no longer displays the sign you may proceed.

Traffic signs

Traffic signs warn you of possible dangers and provide information on road rules and conditions.

Regulatory signs

Regulatory signs tell you about laws to be obeyed. Except for STOP, GIVE WAY and ROUNDABOUT signs, most regulatory signs are rectangles with black on a white background though may have red or green (parking signs).

Warning signs

Warning signs warn about potential dangers ahead. They are usually black on a yellow background and diamond shaped. Pictures, diagrams and symbols are used to alert you to danger. Red warning triangles can be placed on the road to warn of crashes or breakdowns (minimum 3 for >12t GVM vehicles).

RUH_crossroads RUH_road_ends
Crossroads ahead The road you are on ends, you must give way to all traffic
 RUH_curves_right
RUH_sharp_turn
The road ahead curves to the right There is a sharp right turn ahead

RUH_road_divides

RUH_divided_road_ends
Road divides ahead Divided road ends
 RUH_stop_sign_ahead  RUH_crossing_ahead
Stop sign ahead Pedestrian crossing ahead.
 RUH_hospital_ahead  RUH_watch_for_bikes
Hospital ahead Look out for cyclists
 RUH_slow_moving_vehicles  

RUH_traffic_hazard

Beware of slow moving vehicles entering traffic There is a temporary emergency situation such as an oil spill, fallen tree etc ahead
 RUH_dip  RUH_bump
The road ahead dips There is a hump in the road ahead.
 RUH_ford  RUH_grid
The road ahead is under water (a stream for example) Grid ahead. A grid is a row of metal lengths across the road
 RUH_two_lanes_oncoming_ahead  RUH_side_road
Road conditions will change to two lanes of oncoming traffic A side road meets the road you are
travelling on
 RUH_sharp_bend  RUH_winding_road
Sharp bend to
the left ahead
Winding road ahead
 RUH_road_narrows  RUH_giveway_ahead
Road narrows ahead Give way sign ahead
 RUH_pedestrians_may_cross  RUH_hildren_may_cross
Pedestrians may be crossing ahead Children may be crossing ahead
 RUH_slippery_when_wet  RUH_steep_descent
Slippery when wet Steep descent ahead
 RUH_narrow_bridge_ahead  RUH_narrow_bridge
Narrow bridge ahead, slow down and be prepared to give way or stop. Narrow bridge

RUH_kangaroo_sign
 RUH_sign
Look out for kangaroos. As you approach the hill ahead, you will not be able to see a safe distance
 RUH_causeway  

RUH_road_subject_to_flooding

Water may cover the causeway ahead The road ahead may be covered by floodwaters

 

RUH_depth Shows the depth of floodwaters across the road

 

Advisory signs

Sometimes other signs are used together with warning signs to advise on how long you should look out for a particular hazard (e.g. next 10km).

Stock signs

RUH_stock When you see any of the following signs you may be approaching animals on or near the road. You must slow down or stop to avoid collisions. Fines apply if you do not obey these signs.

 

If you hit a domestic animal, contact the owner, Police or RSPCA. Injured domestic animals should be taken to the nearest vet or animal shelter. Should you injure or kill a native or wild animal, try to remove it from the road but take care as some animals carry young in their pouches. The Wildlife and Information Rescue Service (WIRES) can care for hurt animals.

Variable message signs

Variable message signs are large electronic signs placed on the side of some roads. They display messages to warn motorists of changes in normal traffic conditions on the road ahead, such as fog, crashes, road works, congestion and road closures. These early warnings help provide a safe and efficient traffic flow.

Motorway signs

Motorway signs give information about the start, end and exits of a motorway.

RUH_motorway_start RUH_motorway_end RUH_motorway_exit
Start End Exit

 

Alpha-numeric markings have been introduced to identify motorways to make it easier to plan trips and navigate road networks. The alpha-numeric numbering links the road guidance system to national and interstate routes. ‘M’ designates motorways of national significance, ‘A’ designates routes of national significance and ‘B’ is for routes with state significance.

For example The Sydney to Newcastle Freeway previously known as the ‘F3’ is now joined with the Pacific Highway between Brunswick Heads and the Queensland border and known as the M1 Pacific Motorway.

Priority for buses

RUH_bus_priority In a built-up area a bus that has a GIVE WAY sign and signals its intention to pull out has priority over other traffic.

Temporary roadwork signs

These signs are used at roadworks. You must obey any signal from a traffic controller and give way to any worker.

RUH_traffic_controller_night RUH_traffic_controller_ahead
Traffic Controller ahead, be prepared to stop. (Night) Traffic Controller ahead, be prepared to stop.
 RUH_road_work_no_lines RUH_closed_lane
No lines marked. Take care if overtaking. Closed lane ahead.
 RUH_workers_ahead_day RUH_loose_gravel
Workers ahead. (Day) Watch for loose stones.

 

You must stop at temporary traffic lights set up for road works. Large flashing arrows indicate hazards ahead and to merge lanes.

Lanes

You should keep in the middle of your marked lane or drive to the left of the road when there are no markings. Signal, check your mirrors and blind spots and give way to vehicles in the lane you are moving into.

Merging lanes

When the lane you’re in ends, you must merge before you run out of road. There are two possible situations: The broken lane line ends before the lanes merge and the broken line continues until the lanes merge. In the first situation, the trailing vehicle must give way to the vehicle ahead (irrespective of lane). In the second situation, the vehicle in the lane about to end must give way to traffic in the other lane.

Slip lanes

Slip lanes are mandatory where provided and improve safety and traffic flow when turning left. Do not stop in a slip lane unless there are parking signs.

Breakdown safety and breakdown lanes

To reduce the risk of a breakdown, service and maintain your vehicle and check your fuel before departing. Only stop if absolutely necessary, activating your hazard lights (leaving them on even if you’ve left the road) and trying to find a safe spot to pull over as far to the left as possible (e.g. emergency breakdown area). Assess the road and surrounds for hazards and risks. If it is not safe to exit the vehicle, remain in your seat with your seatbelt on and call roadside assistance. If it is safe, you can exit your car (preferably from the passenger side) and stand clear of the road, behind a safety barrier if possible. To further increase visibility in poor light conditions, activate your parking lights. It is recommended you carry a high-visibility vest and safety markers, so you can easily and safely access them if you break down.

Transit lanes

Transit lanes can be used by vehicles with a certain number of people. Buses, taxis, hire cars, motorcycles, bicycles and emergency vehicles can use them regardless of the number of people. The two types of transit lanes are:

RUH_T2 T2 - You can drive in this lane when there are two or more people in your vehicle including the driver.
RUH_T3 T3 - You can drive in this lane when there are three or more people in your vehicle including the driver.

Without the required passengers you can only enter a transit lane for a maximum of 100m when entering or leaving the road. Penalties apply for driving in transit lanes illegally.

Special purpose lanes

Some roads have lanes set aside for special vehicles (trucks, buses and bicycles) with signs at the start and end indicating their purpose. When part-time special purpose lanes are not operating, other vehicles are permitted.

RUH_median_turning Median turning lanes - Vehicles travelling in either direction may use this lane to enter or leave the road. These lanes are a shared part of the road. Vehicles using median turning lanes must give way to all other vehicles.
RUH_truck_lane Truck lanes - These lanes must not be used by vehicles other than trucks over 4.5t GVM.

Trucks use left lane

Where a Trucks/Buses Use Left Lane sign appears, trucks/buses must use the left lane until a sign tells otherwise. Other vehicles may also use this lane.

Bicycle lanes

Cyclists must use a marked bicycle lane when available. These lanes are for bicycles only, but may be used for less than 50m to enter or leave the road.

S lanes

S lanes create a right turn lane at intersections by merging the kerb-side lane and making the other lanes follow an S shape around a marked island. A single unbroken line separates the S shaped lanes.

RUH_light_rail_lane Light rail lanes - only for light rail vehicles. Do not to obstruct the path of a light rail vehicle and give way to them when they are in or about to enter an intersection.
RUH_bus_lane Bus lanes - are for buses, but can also be used by taxis, hire cars, RMS operated/directed vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles. Other vehicles may only drive in bus lanes for a maximum of 100m to enter or leave the road. The only vehicles allowed to stop in a bus lane are buses at a bus stop or taxis and hire cars when picking up or setting down passengers.
 RUH_bus_only_lane Buses only lanes - mean a lane is for buses only, the above exceptions do not apply.
RUH_t_way_lane T-way lanes - are special lanes which can only be used by authorised buses and service vehicles.

Toll roads

Motorways that require you pay a toll to use them (failure to pay may incur a penalty). Signage will alert you to the requirement for a toll in advance.

RUH_toll Toll can be paid by electronic tag, electronic pass or by cash.
RUH_etoll Toll can be paid by electronic tag or electronic pass only.

Electronic tags are small transponders that attach to the inside of your windscreen. An electronic pass is an arrangement where your number plate is temporarily recorded allowing you to purchase a pass up to 48 hours after you travel on a toll road. Cash booths are generally located on the left hand side of toll plazas. Lanes that accept payment by tag or pass are marked with the E and e symbols.

Overtaking

Judging the space required to complete overtaking safely is difficult. If you have any doubts do not overtake. Generally, you must overtake on the right. If a vehicle is waiting to turn right, is stationary, or if you and the other vehicle are travelling in marked lanes you may overtake on the left side when safe.

When overtaking you must:

  • Not speed
  • Make sure the road ahead is clear and there is sufficient space
  • Signal changes in position to give sufficient warning to others
  • Check mirrors and blind spots for other vehicles before changing lanes
  • Pass the vehicle with sufficient space (be able to see the vehicle you have overtaken in your rear vision mirror before you move in front of it)
  • Give way to traffic already in the lane you want to enter

You must not overtake:

  • Unless you have a clear view of any approaching traffic and you can complete the manoeuvre safely
  • When approaching a crest, curve or any limited vision situation
  • Another vehicle that is stopping or has stopped at a pedestrian crossing, intersection or railway crossing
  • Across an unbroken line, unless the line closest to you is broken
  • Where a road narrows
  • Other vehicles on pedestrian or school crossings

On roads with a KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING sign or where the speed limit is more than 80 km/h, drive in the left lane unless you want to overtake or turn right.

When being overtaken you must:

  • Not increase your speed
  • Keep left and allow reasonable space for the overtaking vehicle to pass and move back into the lane
  • Keep within your lane

Oversize vehicles

Oversize vehicles are becoming more common, are often slower moving, occupy more of the road and take longer to stop. LONG VEHICLE signs mean the vehicle is longer than normal. OVERSIZE signs mean the vehicle is wider/longer/higher than normal.

Some oversize vehicles may be accompanied by pilot vehicles with yellow flashing lights displaying an ‘Oversize Load Ahead’ warning sign. Police may accompany pilot vehicles or will escort unusually large vehicles and direct traffic if required. When approaching an on-coming oversize vehicle you should reduce your speed, keep to the left of the centre line and be prepared to move to the left side of the road if necessary. You should use extreme care when overtaking an oversize vehicle.

Oversize vehicles may travel down the centre of a bridge and can occupy more than one lane not allowing room for another vehicle - so be prepared to stop and wait. Do not attempt to cross simultaneously as these vehicles are unable to reverse. If you see portable warning triangles on the road this can indicate a heavy vehicle has broken down and you should slow down and drive carefully.

Large, heavy turning vehicles

Large vehicles displaying a DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE sign may use more than one lane when turning. When such a vehicle is turning you must not pass on the right if it is turning right. A driver may overtake to the left only if it is safe.

Light rail vehicles

Keep to the left of an oncoming light rail vehicle unless there is a barrier. To pass a light rail vehicle travelling in the centre or on the right side of the road - overtake on the left. You should overtake on the right when the light rail vehicle is on the left side of the road. You must not overtake on the left or right if it is turning in that direction.

Bridges

If you think two vehicles can’t fit on a bridge, give way to the approaching driver. A GIVE WAY sign on a bridge means give way to any vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. A NO OVERTAKING OR PASSING sign means you must not overtake any vehicle travelling in the same direction.

Motorways

Be especially alert on motorways/freeways because of the high-speed traffic. Bicycle riders are allowed on motorways unless prohibited by signs.

Joining the motorway

A motorway is usually joined from a road merging on the left. Select a safe gap and increase your speed to safely merge.

Driving on the motorway

Stay left unless overtaking. If there are three lanes and the left lane traffic is travelling slower than you, stay in the middle lane until you have passed and return to the left lane. The right lane is generally reserved only for overtaking.

When driving on a motorway you must:

  • Not stop except in an emergency (if you do stop, move to the emergency/breakdown lane or shoulder)
  • Not make a U-turn or reverse

If you miss your exit, continue until you reach the next one.

Leaving the motorway

  • Move to the lane closest to the exit with plenty of time
  • Signal and reduce speed to exit safely

Parking

Parking rules stop vehicles parking in dangerous or inconvenient parks. Fines and demerit points apply for parking illegally. You must not leave children or pets alone in a vehicle. A baby/pet left in a hot car will suffer from dehydration and may die. A child can release the handbrake or start a fire with the lighter.

Checks for parking

Before leaving your vehicle check your mirrors and blind spots for bicycles, pedestrians, and other vehicles. You should also ensure that the hand brake is on and (for manual vehicles) the gears are engaged either in first gear for downhill or reverse for uphill. Automatic vehicles should be left in PARK. If you are more than 3m away from your vehicle you must remove the key from the ignition and lock all doors and windows if there is no one in the vehicle.

General parking rules

You must not park in the following circumstances:

  • Double parked
  • Across a drive way or footpath
  • On a motorway, median strip, traffic island, footpath or nature strip
  • In a clearway, slip lane or intersection
  • Between BUS STOP, BUS ZONE, TAXI STAND or TAXI ZONE signs
  • In a safety zone or within 10m before or after a safety zone
  • Within 20m of an intersecting road at traffic light intersection (unless sign allows)
  • Within 1m of another vehicle parked in front or behind (unless angle parking)
  • Within 10m of an intersecting road at an intersection without traffic lights (unless a sign allows)
  • Within 3m of any double centre lines
  • Within 3m of an Australia Post letter box unless dropping off or picking up passengers or mail
  • Within 20m before and 10m after a bus stop
  • Within 20m before and 10m after a children’s or pedestrian crossing
  • Within 10m before and 3m after a marked foot crossing with traffic signals
  • Within 1m of a fire hydrant, fire hydrant indicator or fire plug indicator
  • Within 20 metres before and after a railway level crossing

When parking on a hill or a built up area curve, make sure someone coming over the hill or around the bend can see your car from at least 100m away.

Parallel parking

Parallel parking along the side of the road is the way to park unless signs indicate otherwise. Park in the same direction as traffic and as close as possible to the kerb. You should be within any lines and at least 1m from any other vehicle. On a one-way street, you may park on the right hand side.

Angle parking

Angle park at the kerb if indicated by signs or lines (assume 45° and front to kerb unless signs or lines indicate otherwise).

Motorcycle parking

RUH_motorcycle_parking Only motorcycles can park between these signs. Other vehicles may stop to drop off or pick up passengers. Motorcycles may angle park anywhere it is legal to park (even in parallel parking areas). However, ensure your motorcycle doesn’t stick out further than other vehicles.

Parking restrictions

If you park in places such as clearways or no parking zones, you could restrict traffic flow and create danger. Obey all parking signs.

RUH_accessible_parking Accessible parking - Only vehicles transporting a current Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) permit holder and displaying the permit can park in areas with this sign. MPS permit holders must comply with the permit conditions. Where these signs appear within a Taxi or loading zone, MPS permit holders may be exempt.
RUH_hourly_parking Hourly parking - You can park for the time shown between certain hours and on particular days.

 

RUH_no_parking No parking - You must not stop for more than two minutes. You must remain within 3m of the vehicle.

Hours of operations may apply meaning restrictions apply for those times only. MPS permit holders are allowed to park for up to 5 minutes.

 

RUH_no_stopping_no_standing No stopping / No standing - In the direction of the arrow you must not stop at any point, unless there is an emergency. Hours of operation may apply. A solid yellow edge line can also indicate no stopping areas.

 

RUH_safety_ramp Arrester bed and safety ramp - Used by heavy vehicles in emergencies (brake failure). They are usually located on steep gradients. Only use if
necessary for safety.

Pay parking

Parking signs may indicate METER, TICKET or COUPON parking. You may park for the length of time shown provided you pay the required charge.

Resident parking

If you have a valid Parking Permit for an area displayed and the sign indicates you are exempt, you may park without time restrictions or paying a charge.

RUH_restricted_parking Restricted parking areas - Used in public areas with a limited number of entries/exits (Darling Harbour and Homebush Bay). Do not stop your vehicle between the signs, except in a parking station or a parking bay.

 

RUH_clearway Clearways and special event clearways - improve traffic flow and safety during peak periods. Do not stop at the kerb unless there is an emergency. Buses, taxis and hire cars may stop to pick up or set down passengers.

 

RUH_clearway_special Clearways can also be imposed during special events and operate as normal. A broken yellow line is also used to indicate a clearway.

 

RUH_special_event_parking Special event parking - Used near major venues during special events. Do must not stop unless you have a parking permit exemption.

 

RUH_taxi_zone_parking Taxi zone - Only taxis can stop in the area indicated. Hours of operation can apply, with normal rules enforceable outside of these times. You cannot hail a taxi in a NO STOPPING or a BUS ZONE.

 

 RUH_bus_zone_parking Bus zone - Only buses can stop in the area indicated. Hours of operation can apply, with normal rules enforceable outside of these times.

 

RUH_loading_zone Loading zone - Only vehicles principally constructed for carrying goods may stop for up to 30 minutes when being loaded or unloaded. A station wagon or a 3-wheeled goods vehicle may stop for up to 15 minutes. All other vehicles can only stop to pick up or set down passengers. Hours of operation may apply.

 

RUH_works_zone Works zone - Only vehicles engaged in work in or near the zone can stop. Any vehicle may stop to pick up or set down passengers. Hours of operation may apply.

 

RUH_truck_zone Truck zone - Only trucks over 4.5t GVM dropping off or picking up goods can stop. Any type of vehicle may stop to set down or pick up passengers. Hours of operation may apply.

 

Lights and horns

Approximately 1/3 of crashes occur at night.

Lights and warning devices

When driving with reduced visibility (night or hazardous weather conditions), your vehicle must have clearly visible:

  • Headlights
  • Tail lights
  • Number plate lights
  • Clearance lights and side marker lights (if fitted)

Headlights

Driving with your headlights during the day improves the likelihood of being seen by other road users. Your headlights must be on when:

  • Driving between sunset and sunrise
  • There is not enough daylight to see a person in dark clothing at 100m

High beam

Use high beams on any road to see further. You must change to low beam when:

  • An oncoming vehicle is within 200m
  • Driving 200m or less behind another vehicle

You may briefly flash your high beams immediately before overtaking

Avoid lights that may dazzle

Do not use or allow your lights to dazzle another road user and avoid looking at headlights. If you get dazzled look to the left of the road, slow down, drive to the left of your lane, and, if necessary, pull over until your eyes recover.

Parking lights

Leave parking or hazard lights on if necessary to ensure others can see your vehicle.

Fog lights

Fog lights can only be used in conditions that limit your vision (fog, rain, dust, smoke) and should be turned off when conditions improve. If you don’t have fog lights, use your headlights during the day in these adverse conditions.

Hazard warning lights

Your vehicle’s hazard lights must not be used unless the vehicle is:

  • Stopped or slow-moving and obstructing the path of road users
  • Stopped in an emergency stopping lane
  • Stopped to sell a product (e.g. food)
  • Driving in hazardous weather conditions
  • Fitted with an anti-theft or alcohol interlock device that uses the lights

Horns and other warning devices

You must not use the horn or any other warning device unless:

  • You need to warn other road users that you are approaching
  • You need to warn animals to get off the road
  • The horn is used as part of an anti-theft or alcohol interlock device

Emergency vehicles

Give way (generally by pulling over to the left) when you hear a siren or see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle so it has a clear passage.

Railway level crossings

When approaching a crossing, look and listen for trains (even if lights are not flashing and gates are fully open). Slow down to a speed so you can stop quickly.

RUH_railway_traffic_lightsCrossing with traffic lights RUH_railway_giveway RUH_railway_crossing

Gates, booms or lights

At gates, booms, or flashing lights, start to cross only when signals have stopped flashing, and when the gates or booms are fully open.

Stop signals

Stop signals should be obeyed because trains cannot stop quickly. Remain behind the STOP line unless there is room to get across safely.

RUH_railway_stop RUH_railway_stop_when_flashing RUH_railway_crossing_giveway
Stop before crossing Stop if red lights are flashing Give way at crossing, be prepared to stop

Crossing without signals

Take extra care where there are no gates, booms or flashing lights, particularly in the country. Slow down, look and listen for trains.

Check for other trains

If you have stopped for a train, always check that another one is not approaching before you move. You must stop at a crossing if:

  • There is a stop sign
  • There is a gate or boom across the road
  • Red lights are flashing
  • A railway employee signals for you to do so
  • You are carrying flammable, explosive or dangerous goods. You must stop between 3 and 15m before the crossing

Driving distractions and crash risk

Distractions increase risk of crashing. Research suggests that at least 14% of crashes and as many as 1 in 10 fatalities are caused by driver distraction. However, while 98% of people believe mobile phone use while driving is dangerous, 28% admit to doing it.

Sources of distractions that lead to crashes

Distraction Allocation
Inside vehicle 36%
Outside vehicle 30%
Unknown 34%

 

Two biggest risks are adjusting the sound system and other passengers. Drivers using mobile phones and GPS (particularly text entry) have increased crash risk. Text messaging while driving is dangerous and illegal.

Passengers and crash risk

Young drivers have a higher crash risk when travelling with similarly aged passengers than when travelling alone. For parents, distractions can come from tending to children. You should avoid or minimise distractions when engaged in complex driving actions.

Reducing distractions means reducing crash risk

You can’t reduce distractions outside your vehicle but you can reduce distraction inside by doing things like:

  • Fitting your car with a hands-free device. These devices are still dangerous distractions and it is safer to stop and take a call. On your Ls and red Ps you are banned from using any phone function (even with hands-free devices)
  • Ensuring phones acting as a GPS are properly mounted in a cradle
  • Only entering text into devices when you are stopped in a safe location
  • Turning off the radio or stereo in new or challenging traffic situations
  • Collecting loose items and putting them in a bag or box or in the boot
  • Telling passengers to avoid distracting you
  • Only adjusting radio/music or loading CDs when stopped if you cannot get help from a front seat passenger

In addition to demerit points, a heavy fine applies for drivers caught using or answering a hand-held phone while driving.

Towing

Towing can be dangerous/difficult, requiring more knowledge/skill than normal driving.

Learner and provisional licences

Learner drivers are not allowed to tow any vehicle or trailer. On your red Ps, you can tow trailers up to 250kg unloaded weight.

Important towing rules

  • You must not tow more than one trailer or vehicle
  • No one is allowed to ride in a trailer or caravan while it is being towed
  • When towing a caravan on a road without street lights, you must drive at least 60m behind heavy vehicles or other vehicles towing caravans, unless overtaking

Ensure the coupling and safety chains are secure and the trailer lights are working before starting your trip and throughout the trip.

What to do after a crash

If you are involved in a crash you must stop and help anyone involved. If anyone is injured or killed, call the police and ambulance – dial 000. Protect the area to prevent another crash and, always ensuring your safety, remove anything that falls from the vehicles likely to endanger others (debris or glass). It is recommended you place a warning triangle 50 to 150m behind your vehicle to warn others and wear a reflective vest if you have one. Following a crash:

  • Switch off the ignition to reduce the risk of fire
  • Switch on hazard warning lights
  • Relocate anyone involved to safety away from the road

The police may attend and investigate crashes where:

  • A person is trapped, killed or injured
  • A bus or truck needs to be towed
  • They are needed to direct traffic or deal with hazards
  • A person fails to stop or exchange information
  • Any driver is believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs

If police do not attend, you must report the crash as soon as possible after leaving the crash site to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 where:

  • Any vehicle involved needs to be towed away
  • There is property damage or injured animals
  • You are unable to provide particulars to the owner

You must show police attending the crash your drivers licence and provide details of vehicles involved, your name and address, and information about any witnesses or the drivers involved.

Do not notify police if there are no injuries and no towing. If someone is later treated for a related injury, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

If asked, any involved party must provide any other involved owner or driver the following information:

  • Name, address and licence details
  • Vehicle registration number
  • If not the owner, the name and address of the owner

If you are involved in a crash with a truck carrying a dangerous load:

  • Call the police or fire brigade on 000
  • Avoid touching spilled chemicals or breathing the fumes or dust
  • Warn people away from the crash

An Emergency Procedures Guide will be in a holder attached to the truck driver’s door. Follow these procedures if it is safe to do so.

Needing a tow truck

If you need a tow truck after an accident, you have the right to:

  • Decide where your vehicle will be towed
  • Decide who will tow your vehicle
  • Contact anyone for assistance on the right place to tow your vehicle prior to signing the authorisation form
  • Receive a copy of the towing authorisation form

As the owner/driver your main responsibility is to report the accident to police immediately and sign a Towing Authorisation Form. If you are unable to sign, a police officer or authorised officer will organise the towing. It is also your responsibility to check the tow truck driver has in their possession an accredited driver certificate. A NSW-based tow truck should have a number plate with four numbers and ending in ‘TT’. If the tow truck driver cannot produce an accredited driver certificate or does not have an authorised tow vehicle, do not allow them to tow your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance policies may cover the towing fee.

Animals and vehicles

Do not swerve violently to avoid an animal on the road (alive or dead) as you can lose control or hit oncoming traffic. If you can do so safely, stop or slow down and steer around the animal. If you can’t avoid the animal safely you may have to hit it to avoid injury or death to yourself and others. If the animal has been killed and it is safe, remove it from the road. Native animals may have babies in their pouches. If a native animal has been hurt, contact the Wildlife and Information Rescue Service (WIRES). If the animal is a domestic pet, contact the owner, police or the RSPCA. If the animal is injured, immediately take it to the nearest animal shelter or vet.

Rules around animals

Road users must not lead an animal while their vehicle is moving. Animals should be seated or housed in appropriate areas (not in the driver’s lap). A motorcycle rider must have an animal between the handlebars and the rider.

 

Continue reading the Road Users’ Handbook Summary:

1. Introduction

2. Licences

3. Road Safety

4. Safe Driving

5. General Road Rules

6. Vehicle Registration

7. Penalties


Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Driver Knowledge Test and get your learner licence (L plates):

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