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Misunderstood road rules

RULES OF THE ROAD: Know your road rules to stay safe and avoid fines.
RULES OF THE ROAD: Know your road rules to stay safe and avoid fines.

KNOW the road rules? Or do you need a refresher?

Big Rigs has enlisted the help of the Australian Driver Training Association Queensland president to update you on some of the commonly misunderstood road rules.

Paul Kennedy works at Toowoomba-based TK's Driving School and often does road rules talkback on the radio.

Mr Kennedy said every state had slightly different rules. In this edition he has gone over some of the ones you need to look out for when driving in Queensland.

"No one has right of way in Queensland anymore," he said. "It's been give way since the 1970s. If you fail to give way or someone else does you can be both at fault." You must give way to the right, or if you are both on each other's right the car crossing your path must give way.

Later Big Rigs will go through the other states.

  • A single continuous white line prevents you from overtaking and performing a U-turn, but doesn't stop you from entering a driveway or street. This applies to traffic islands surrounded by a single continuous white line. But you cannot cross double white lines.
  • You must drive a sufficient distance behind vehicles in front to avoid collisions. A car should stay two seconds behind, a vehicle towing a trailer or caravan should add on one second for each 3m of trailers and the distance should be doubled if driving a heavy vehicle, or in poor conditions. Mr Kennedy said heavy vehicles should be at least three to four seconds behind vehicles in front according to Queensland Transport, while long vehicles must be 60m behind another long vehicle.
  • Failing to indicate off a roundabout could cost you $100.
  • Weird rules include fines for approaching a pedestrian crossing at a speed that is deemed too fast.
  • Changes to the laws mean you can't smoke in a vehicle with a child under 16 years old.
  • Drivers are now responsible for all the passengers not wearing seatbelts in a vehicle and it will cost you $300 and three points for each person not wearing one if you are caught.
  • Animals are no longer allowed to sit on your lap or on the petrol tank of a motorbike.
  • You can be fined $40 if you fail to secure your vehicle. Windows can be down up to 5cm.
  • Pedestrians walking or jogging on the road where there is no footpath or nature strip must face traffic or risk a $40 fine.
  • You can have your headlights on high beam in built-up areas 200m away from vehicles.
  • If you have time to stop safely when traffic lights turn yellow you must stop or you can be fined $300 and lose three points.
  • It can cost you $100 and three points if you drive past a no trucks sign with limits on length or weight, or disobeying a truck must use low gear sign.
  • Failing to turn left at an intersection on a multi-lane road from a slip lane on the multi-lane road will cost $60 and two points.
  • Unsafely overtaking on the right or left of a turning vehicle that is displaying a do not overtake turning vehicle sign can cost you two points and $140.
  • Drivers who increase their speed when being overtaken can be fined $60 and lose two points.
  • A stop sign is not more powerful than a give way sign.
  • On roads where lanes are marked, if your lane ends you have to give way to traffic already in the lane you are moving into, but if not marked when lines of traffic merge you must give way to the vehicle that is ahead.

See Queensland's top 10 misunderstood road rules at transport.qld.gov.au/road rules.

Topics:  road rules

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