As the great Aussie road trip becomes the holiday of choice this summer, it’s important to be across all the things you can and can’t do while driving. Because one thing is for sure: a fine is a total holiday buzz-kill. There’s a long list of obscure laws many Australians haven’t heard of – and often, they differ from state to state …
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 $533 and two demerit points.
2. Improper use of a horn
Some motorists seem to only 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. In the past five years, more than 800 people have been fined for improper use of a horn in NSW.
3. Not winding up your windows
In Queensland, if you’re more than three metres away from your car, your windows need to be up with a gap no greater than 5cm. It may sound trivial, but people have been fined for this.
4. Leaving your key in your ignition
You’ve most likely seen someone quickly ducking out of their car to get a coffee or pick up their takeaway dinner and leaving the car running with the key in the ignition. While it’s convenient, it’s not the smartest thing to do while your car is unattended – in NSW it’s a traffic offence that will cost an individual $114. Around 1,000 people a year receive this fine in NSW.
5. Using your phone to pay at a drive-thru