Safe Driving in Australia | Avis Car Rental

Safe Driving in Australia

We want to ensure that you have the best possible experience on Australia’s roads. With such an incredible landscape and so much to offer, road trips are the perfect way to explore. The best way to ensure you can enjoy the drive and the destination is to travel safely.

It is imperative that you are aware of and adhere to local road rules. This includes being aware of the differences in each state. We have put together some key pointers below, but for general and specific information on safe driving in each Australian state and territory, use the links at the bottom of the page.  





Increasing your speed – even by just a few kilometres – can significantly increase the risks of death or serious injury in an accident. Stay under the indicated speed limits and drive according to weather conditions at all times. If you are caught speeding in a rental car you are responsible for any fines incurred and any related administration charges.

Speed limits in Australia vary, however, they are clearly signposted. All speed limits are in kilometres. Below is a general guide only, with a conversion from kilometres to miles.

  • Country Roads: 80-110 km/h = 49-68 m/h
  • Cities and Towns: 40-60 km/h = 24-37 m/h






Being distracted increases your chances of having an accident on the road. A common distraction is using your mobile phone while driving. Each state has a range of restrictions in place to address this. As a general guide, a driver must not:

  • Make, receive or terminate a telephone call (unless the phone does not require the driver to hold or manipulate the phone, such as by using Bluetooth or a hands-free device)
  • Create, send or read text messages
  • Create, send or read emails
  • Create, send or view video messages
  • Use social media or browse the web
  • Take photos

Mobile phone detection cameras have been introduced in some states – including fixed and transportable cameras. This is coupled with ongoing enforcement by police. 





Fatigue is one of the leading factors in death and injury in crashes. The best way to avoid driving tired is to make sure you have enough sleep before driving, regardless of the length of your trip.

Due to Australia’s size, the distance between destinations can be significant. It is important that the driver is well rested and takes regular breaks – every two hours is recommended.

Allow at least 12-14 hours to drive a distance of 1,000 kilometres, excluding breaks. We also recommend avoiding driving late at night or early in the morning for your safety.






Drink driving is a major contributor to crashes. The amount of alcohol you can consume before reaching the legal limit depends on many factors and alcohol affects every person differently.

Our advice is: if you plan to drive, don’t drink any alcohol.

Random breath testing is carried out in Australia and heavy penalties and fines apply if convicted. For full licence holders, you must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal limit, which is 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood (0.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration).





By law, seatbelts must be worn at all times when travelling (including rear seat belts).

Child safety seats are available from Avis Australia locations – subject to availability





In Australia we drive on the left side of the road. The steering wheel and the pedals are on the right side of the car. On multi-lane highways and freeways, slower traffic should always use the left lane.

When travelling on multi-lane roads, if the posted speed limit is over 80km/h or if the road has a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign, you must not drive in the right lane unless you want to overtake or turn right. Overtake only when it is safe to do so. If you have any doubts it is best to stay in your lane and wait until it is safe.







Renters must hold a Non-Provisional Australian or overseas driver’s licence for at least 12 months to be eligible to rent with Avis. Note: If the Overseas driver’s licence is not in English it must be accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit in English.





In and around Melbourne an intricate tram system runs along the road network. A hook turn is a right-hand turn from the left lane, to allow trams to continue operating. Read more about hook turns at the VicRoads website.



Safe Driving & Road Rules by State

As the driving rules and regulations vary per state here is a helpful list of Government websites that explain the rules in further details:

The information here should be used as a guide only and is subject to change without notice. For the most up to date information please contact the local roads authority and police. Updated December 2020.