Safe Driving in Australia | Avis Car Rental


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Australia, a visitor’s paradise 365 days a year – from pristine beaches and powder soft sand to remote desert, to the stunning beauty of untouched rainforests, there is so much to be seen and explored. Without doubt the most convenient way to cover this beautiful country is through using a rental car to make the most of your days here.

While enjoying what Australia has to offer, it’s imperative that all our customers safely and sensibly adhere to the local road rules. Some States have some interesting techniques which will be useful for you to familiarise yourself with prior to getting behind the wheel; like the infamous ‘hook turn’ in Victoria; so, for general and specific information on safe driving in each of our states, please visit the state by state road rules section found below.

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Buckle up! Seat belts save lives.

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 same as in Britain. 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 far 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 drive in the left lane unless you want to overtake or turn right. Overtake only when it is safe to do so, and if you have any doubts it is best to stay in your lane and wait until it is safe.



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

  Kilometres   Miles
Country Roads and Highways   80-110 km/h    49-68 m/h
Cities and Towns 40-60 km/h    24-37 m/h




Our advice is to keep within the speed limit at all times. Mobile speed cameras can be found throughout the country and are normally placed in unmarked vehicles.

Australian Police enforce a low tolerance approach to speeding drivers and if you are caught speeding in a rental car you are responsible for any fines incurred and any administration charges related to the fine.

There are several school zones located around the country during school times, and between the ‘school zone’ signs you must obey the speed limit of 40km/h. The school zone limit only applies on school days and during times when the sign is flashing.




Do not drive a motor vehicle if you have been drinking alcohol. Random breath testing is carried out in Australia and heavy penalties and fines apply if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

For full licence holders, you must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The amount of alcohol you can consume before reaching the legal limit depends on many factors, including: your size and weight, gender, liver function, recent food consumption and general health condition. Alcohol affects every person differently so even small amounts of alcohol can affect your driving, so our advice is: if you plan to drive, don’t drink any alcohol




Being distracted increases your changes of having an accident on the road. A driver must not, while driving a vehicle:

  • use a mobile phone to make, receive, or terminate a telephone call.
  • use a mobile phone to create, send, or read a text message.
  • use a mobile phone to create, send, or read an email.
  • use a mobile phone to create, send, or view a video message.

A driver may, while driving a vehicle:

  • use a mobile phone to make, receive, or terminate a telephone call if the phone does not require the driver to hold or manipulate it to make, receive, or terminate the call (i.e. if you have a hands-free kit).



Being such a huge country - about the size of continental USA, this sometimes means travelling hundreds of kilometres between major cities. In outback areas, it may be hundreds of kilometres between towns so it’s important the driver of the vehicle is well rested before starting a long trip.

Be realistic about travel time and what is to be seen. Allow at least 12-14 hours to drive a distance of 1,000 kilometres. This does not include breaks, however, we recommend taking a break every two hours. Avoid driving late at night or early in the morning. The main highways in Australia are all sealed tarmac. All signposts are in kilometres (1km = 6/10 of one mile).



Renters must hold a Non-Provisional Australian or overseas driver’s licence for at least 12 months.

Note: If the Overseas driver’s licence is not in English it must be accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit in English. Ask Avis for full details.



Stop – Revive – Survive

Long distance driving fatigue is a problem when travelling the huge expanse of Australia. Make sure you have regular breaks and stop at least every two hours. 


Victoria - Hook Turns

In and around Melbourne a 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 up on 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:

New South Wales (NSW)

Victoria (VIC)

Queensland (QLD)

South Australia (SA)

Western Australia (WA)

Northern Territory (NT)

Tasmania (TAS)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)


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 2018.

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