Going Straight Ahead
If you are going straight ahead, you do not need to indicate on approach, but as you come to your exit, you must indicate left to leave the roundabout.
It is a legal requirement for everyone, including visitors, to use seatbelts at all times. Children must use appropriate child restraints. Taxi companies can provide customers with a taxi fitted with an approved baby restraint system. Simply call the taxi company and make a booking if you require this service. Fines are imposed if seatbelts are not used. (Refer to the penalties section).
Loading zones are clearly signed areas set aside for short-term use by certain vehicles when loading or unloading goods in the course of business or when dropping off or picking up passengers. Extended parking while loading zones are in operation is not permitted.
Loading zones are available for vehicles that are principally designed and constructed for carrying goods. The majority of 4WD vehicles, hatchbacks and other coupé and sports type vehicles are not principally designed and constructed for carrying goods and are therefore not permitted to use loading zones.
Driving in New South Wales
Visitors driving in New South Wales must observe the licence requirements for visitors. You must carry your licence with you when you are driving. There is an on-the-spot fine for not having your licence with you. Additionally, if your licence is not in English, you must carry an English translation when driving in Australia.
If you are uncertain of any requirement or have other road safety inquiries, telephone the Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW on 132 213.
Drive at or below the posted speed limit. Slow down more in wet weather. The Police regularly conduct speed checks using speed cameras, radar and lasers along all types of roads.
The general speed limit in cities and towns is 60 km/h but many local and suburban roads have a 50 km/h speed limit.
The maximum speed on highways in New South Wales is 100 km/h. The maximum speed limit on motorways and freeways is 110 km/h. Heavy penalties apply to drivers exceeding the limits.
Rest every two hours! Australia is a vast country and car trips outside major cities may take several hours or even days.
Driver fatigue is a serious road safety concern, involved in nearly a fifth of fatal crashes in Australia. If you are driving long distances (such as from a Regional area to Sydney, or to a park and ride interchange location), try to have a passenger with a current driver's licence share the driving with you. You should both have a full night's sleep the previous night, particularly if you are likely to be driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
Take at least a 15 minute break from driving every two hours. This is important even if you are near your destination, as fatigue crashes can occur near a journey's end.
It is also possible for fatigue crashes to happen on short journeys, or near the start of a trip. The way to avoid these is simply not to drive if you feel tired and know your concentration is not at its best.
To find out about the distances between major interstate centres in Australia, use our Time & Distance Calculator.
Australia has strict laws about drinking alcohol and driving. Australian Police are authorised to stop any vehicle and breath test the driver at any time. There is no absolute safe level of alcohol consumption for competent driving. For fully licensed car drivers the legal limit is 0.05 g/100ml. For special licence categories the legal limit is 0.02 (which in practice means no alcohol at all). Learner and provisional drivers or riders (which includes equivalent L and P drivers and riders visiting NSW) must not exceed zero blood alcohol. If tested by the Police, drivers must be below their allowable legal limit.
If you are going to drink any alcohol the best advice is to plan not to drive at all. Guides are available for drinking very moderate quantities of alcohol over time and remaining below the 0.05 legal BAC level (for fully licensed car drivers) but because everybody's metabolism differs the effects of alcohol will not be the same in every case.
The police perform regular roadside "random breath testing" (RBT) of drivers in metropolitan and rural areas. There are heavy penalties for drink driving, including imprisonment (see Laws and Penalties for Alcohol).
It is a requirement for everyone, including visitors, to use seatbelts at all times. Baby capsules or child restraints must be used for all children.
Motorways and freeways
Because traffic travels at high speed on motorways and freeways, you must be especially alert.
Do not stop on a motorway or freeway, except in an emergency. If you must stop, move off the roadway completely
Do not make a 'U' turn or reverse on a motorway or freeway
Keep to the left, unless overtaking
Warning signs usually tell you that there may be dangers ahead. Pictures, diagrams and symbols are used to alert you to danger.
Some of the most commonly seen warning signs are shown below:
A red traffic light means stop, green means go and yellow means you must stop if you can safely do so.
Arrows indicate whether traffic turning right or left is allowed to go (depending on which direction the arrow is pointed). For example, if the traffic lights are green, but an arrow pointing right is red, then traffic turning right is not allowed to go, but traffic going straight ahead is.
In cases where there are no left, or right arrows, a red light will mean 'stop' for everyone, and a green light will mean 'go' for everyone.
A flashing yellow arrow means you can turn, but watch carefully for pedestrians and give way to them.