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6 strange Australian road rules

The laws you can obey with a smirk.

Let’s be honest, there are some funny road rules out there. Rules that either make no sense or seem to have been created by someone with a good old Australian sense of humour! So let’s take a tour of the states and see what strange rules we can find…

NSW - No splashing mud on bus queues.

Yes, a very odd one to start, but this is a serious road rule in New South Wales even if its specifics are a little, well, muddied. What seems to be clear is that drivers can’t deliberately drive through puddles or roadside mud and spray this on people waiting for a bus. However, it appears you can get away with splashing anyone not waiting for a bus.

Even stranger, this road rule does specify mud as the ‘no splashing’ substance in question. Rainwater? No problem! Our advice is to simply avoid splashing any pedestrian, whether they’re at a bus stop or not.

NSW – No waving (out the window).

Staying in New South Wales, it is an offence for a driver to wave at someone if their hand/arm/face happens to go outside the car window. Your passengers can be equally penalised if any part of their body goes outside their window. Perhaps it seems a little extreme, but keep in mind other vehicles, cyclists and, worse, buses, can pass when you least expect them. So if you see someone you know, find a safer way to say hello. Oh, and beeping them goodbye isn’t an option either – if you do, you’ve inappropriately used your car’s warning device! 

QLD – Give way to ‘Restive’ horses.

No, obeying this law does not mean trying to avoid horses taking a nap in the middle of the road. The word ‘restive’ might give the false impression we’re talking about a horse siesta, but this law could actually be redefined as: ‘Give way to horses that may be agitated and unable to stay still if your car noise makes them panic.’ Just a minor rule clarification.

Tasmania – No smartphone GPS.

It’s illegal to use your smartphone’s GPS navigation while driving in Tasmania, even if it’s mounted. And that seems to be a smart move all other states and territories might do well to embrace. If you want to reach your destination happy and healthy as well as on time, use a designated Sat Nav.

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ACT – Swings and Roundabouts.

If you’ve ever been to Canberra, you’ll know all roads lead to a roundabout or 10. And these roundabouts have rules out-of-towners sometimes find a little confusing. They do, however, make sense in most cases – for example, give way to any car already on the roundabout, don’t just push in.

One less obvious rule of Canberra roundabouts is this: even if you plan to go straight ahead down the same road after the roundabout, you must indicate left as you exit. It feels strange, it is strange, but it makes absolute sense if it helps you avoid a fine!

WA – Mind your potatoes.

Let’s end with one of the strangest of all. In Western Australia, you can’t transport over 50kg of potatoes in your car unless you’re a member of a “Potato Corporation”. This law arose out of the Great Depression and World War II to help regulate food. Break it and you could receive a $2,000 fine. Break it again? $5,000!

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