In Australia, as well as in England and throughout the Commonwealth, you have to drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle. Cars often have automatic transmission, which makes driving easier for those who are not used to driving this way like for tourists for instance.
In remote areas there are basic services in strategic points distant from each other, sometimes even hundreds of kilometres from one another, therefore while driving in these areas it is important not to miss petrol pumps and points for the supply of water and food.
Typically, there are roadhouses where to eat but they are often closed at night.
In some cases, you will need a permit to drive through an Aboriginal community so it’s better to avoid these areas if you can. They are found especially in Western and South Australia and the Northern Territory.
In the city, on the other hand, traffic can be intense so it is not recommended to drive early in the morning and in the late afternoon to avoid rush hours.
There are fines for parking in spaces opposite to the direction of travel and some car rental companies will ask you to do a little test on the rules of the road before you can rent their car.
All companies have restrictions for night driving, driving on small islands outside mainland Australia and for traveling on unpaved roads (which leads to no insurance coverage in the event of an accident).
In Australia the most fatal accidents happen during the night hours, caused by fatigue or by animals crossing the road.
It is not recommended to drive after dusk, due to the exit from their burrows of many animals, such as kangaroos, or koala bears changing trees.
If you really need to drive at night, you need to pay more attention and reduce your speed to a minimum.
The maximum alcohol limit allowed is 0.05% across the country, with a zero limit and zero tolerance for new drivers.
In Australia it is a crime to drive while under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of drugs, which is why many random checks are carried out on the roads and long queues are formed because of them. The penalty is a fine and the temporary suspension of the driving license, defined by a Court based on the degree of intoxication. Even refusing the alcohol test can be considered a crime, punishable by the same penalties indicated above.
On some roads in the proximity of major cities, a toll needs to be paid only electronically with a device that the cars have. If you are traveling on a toll road without this device, you will be asked to enter the city website within three days from the day you used such roads and proceed with the payment before a fine is issued. If you rent a car in Sydney, for instance, the rental company will ask you to pay a small surcharge that will allow you to use all the toll roads.
When you find yourself having to go around in a roundabout, remember that you have to go clockwise.
It was extremely hard for me at first as in Italy we drive on the opposite side of the road and this felt very unnatural for me.
It is illegal to make U-turns at traffic lights and the Australian government has zero tolerance for speeding, which is why you will find speed cameras in all states, sometimes they will be hidden while others will be indicated and police cars are also equipped with a speed detector.
By Alberto Ferrando ----------- PHOTO GALLERY
ANIMAL CROSSING AND ROAD SIGNS