Can chuck a uey

Yesterday, Mr Mum’s gone 2 Aus got his first two demerit points on his Australian driver’s license, and was fined $200. The driving offence was typically Australian: he ‘chucked a u-ey’ at some traffic lights without checking whether this particular set of lights were u-turn enabled.

In NSW, you can’t do a u-turn at traffic lights unless there’s a sign telling you it’s allowed. Mum’s British highway code is rusty but we’re pretty sure you can do a u-turn at most junctions in the UK unless there is a sign telling you not to. The reverse situation.

His predicament reminded me that since arriving in Australia I’ve wanted to learn more about driving rules and regulations, and check that there’s nothing major we should be aware of, that’s different to the UK. Like say, when you’re looking for a parking space you don’t have to indicate, or if you drive a Toyota you can stop dead…anywhere (yes, an unfair comment, but often true).

Road user handbooks in each state

Like most rules and regulations in Australia, road safety is looked after by state governments. Below are the road user and driving handbooks and guides for each state. Mum has checked turning rules in the different states and had Mr Mum’s gone 2 Aus been in Victoria he may have been demerit free for a little longer.

What other driving rules and conditions should new arrivals watch out for?

Mum was feeling quite smug about her lack of demerit points when Mr Mum’s gone 2 Aus remembered that Mum got the first fine when we arrived in Australia, for parking front on in a rear to curb parking zone. We don’t have parking rules like this in the UK, so it’s something else to watch out for if you’re new to Aus. Mum got an $80 fine.

Another difference drivers from Europe will notice is that you can often turn left at traffic lights, on a red light; if this is permitted there will be a sign stating “Left turn on red permitted after stopping”. Residents from the United States will be familiar with this concept.

When Mum wrote about things you didn’t think you needed to know about Australia, to celebrate our 100th article, we mentioned the dangers when overtaking long vehicles, particularly in Western Australia where road trains can reach up to 50 metres long.

Wherever you’ve moved from, even if you’ve moved interstate within Australia, Mum would be interested to know how you’ve found the change in driving conditions – are there rules you’ve encountered that have surprised you?

If you haven’t got your driving licence yet and plan to get it in Australia, or have children who are about to demand the keys for your car, Mum will be talking about learner drivers and getting a driving licence in Aus, very soon.

Happy, and safe, travels!

Related articles: Australian driving rules: talking on your mobile phone

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