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Driving In Australia

- Basic road rules

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Driving around Australia in a campervan is an awesome experience. From the bustling cities and beautiful coastlines to the vast outback and bushlands, there’s something new to experience around every corner. It’s a bucket list item for visitors and locals alike to rent a travel van and take an Australia road trip.

Oysters Family at the beach Salad

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If you’re new to driving in Australia, it’s a good idea to have a thorough understanding of the driving rules in Australia before you hit the road. To help plan your trip, we’ve put together some of the basic road rules to follow.

If you will be arriving on a long-haul flight, we recommend you plan to spend your first night in your arrival city to ensure you’re well rested before driving.​ Pick up your pre-booked Britz campervan from your nearest Britz branch the next day and get ready to explore Australia!

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the basic driving rules and other essential information to help you feel confident about driving in Australia.

  • Basic driving tips
  • Other essential driving information
  • How to prepare for driving in Australia
  • Frequently asked questions

Basic driving tips

1. Left-hand side of the road

In Australia we drive on the left-hand side of the road. Drivers used to being on the right will need to be especially careful when heading back onto the road after pulling over in a remote area. When there is no other traffic to remind you, it can be easy to fall back into the old habit of being on the right. Just remember that the driver should always be close to the centre of the road.

2. Wear a seatbelt

Everyone in your campervan must wear a seat belt when the vehicle is moving. It’s also part of the driving laws in Australia that children under seven years old must be restrained in a car seat or booster seat. Children aged six months up to four years must use rear-facing or forward-facing car seats with an inbuilt harness. If needed, you can hire booster seats when you book for Britz campervan hire for $AU36 per hire.

3. Carry your driver's licence

When driving in Australia, always carry a copy of your driver's licence in English. If you’re using an international permit, you must also carry your original driver's licence.

If you have a foreign licence, please ensure:

  • It is current.
  • It is appropriate for a full-size motor vehicle (with no restrictions).
  • It is accompanied by an international driving permit.
  • ​If your licence is in a language other than English you must also present an accredited English translation.

4. Follow the speed limit

When you’re driving in Australia, it is important not to stay within speed sign limits. If the conditions are challenging – such as fog, rain, high winds, or heavy traffic – you will need to slow your speed to suit the conditions.

5. Don’t drink and drive

Alcohol and driving don’t mix! In Australia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.05. Your BAC should remain below 0.05 if you:

  • Drink no more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one per hour thereafter (for men of average size); or
  • Drink no more than one standard drink per hour (for women of average size).
  • Note that this can vary from person to person.

Novice drivers and young drivers must have a zero BAC before driving.

6. Rest regularly

Fatigue is a common cause of campervan crashes in Australia. When driving long distances, plan your trip to stop and rest every two hours. If you’re feeling tired, pull your campervan over and rest. Don’t be tempted to use techniques like opening a window or turning up music. It’s not worth the risk – stop, rest, and drive again when you’re feeling refreshed.

7. Go clockwise around roundabouts

When driving in Australia, all traffic must proceed in a clockwise direction in a roundabout. A vehicle already on a roundabout has right of way over any vehicles entering.

8. Overtake on the right

Always overtake to the right. First, be sure you can see enough of the road to complete overtaking and move back to your side of the road. Here are a few more pointers:

  • Never overtake on corners, blind rises, or on double white lines.
  • When overtaking heavy vehicles in wet weather, beware of wind turbulence and wheel spray causing a reduction in visibility.
  • Allow plenty of space behind your campervan when pulling back in after passing a truck.
  • Trucks can’t stop as quickly as cars, especially when carrying heavy loads

9. Read up in advance

For more expert information about the driving rules in Australia, take a look at the National Transport Commission’s Australian Road Rules. This helpful guide outlines road rules in each state or territory.

Other essential driving information

Here are some essential driving tips to help you stay safe while enjoying your Australia road trip.

Figure out travelling time before you leave

Australia is an enormous country with driving conditions that can differ greatly from other countries.

When calculating travelling time on your road trip itinerary planner, it is important to consider the need to reduce speed as you pass through towns and cities. You will also need to consider possible adverse road and weather conditions. Don’t forget to add extra time for sightseeing!

Watch out for wildlife

Australia is lucky to have many native animals living in their natural habitats. It’s not unusual to see a kangaroo hopping across the road in country areas. Enjoy them but remember they can be a hazard on country roads. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you explore Australia:

  • Keep an eye out for signs that indicate that wildlife is in the vicinity.
  • Although it is a natural instinct to swerve to avoid an animal, keep your campervan on the same line, slow down, and stop if possible. Don’t swerve to avoid hitting an animal if there’s any danger you could collide with another car.
  • If you do hit a native animal, contact the wildlife authorities in the state you’re in if possible.

Watch your height

Remember that campervans can be double the height and length of a standard car. Keep an eye out for height indicator signs, cantilever awnings, and overhanging tree branches and be careful when reversing near static objects.

Be prepared

Australia has vast swathes of remote outback and bush areas. If you’re travelling through a remote area, it pays to be well prepared. Here are a few tips: Always keep your mobile phone charged.

  • Carry water and food with you.
  • Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.
  • In the unlikely event that you are involved in an accident in a remote area do not leave your vehicle, stay in the shade, and conserve water.

Keep an eye out for toll roads

​​Road toll fees apply on some roads in Australia. You will likely encounter toll roads if you are driving through Metropolitan New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria.

You are responsible for paying road toll fees when driving a Britz rental campervan in Australia. It is important to be aware of these roads before you travel. Toll roads in Australia are electronically tolled and you will not be able to stop and pay cash. Any unpaid tolls will incur an administration fee from Britz in addition to the fee owed to the tolling company.

You will need to set up a visitor’s e-PASS once you have picked up your Britz campervan. A visitor e-PASS can be set up before or within 48 hours of your first trip to cover travel on all Australian toll roads.​ For more information please refer to the Toll Road Guide.

Fuel prices

To make it even easier (and cheaper) for you to fuel up your campervan, Britz offers a ‘pre-purchase’ fuel option which allows you to purchase your first tank of fuel at a discounted rate on pick up. The rate is based on the local fuel price at the branch location at the time of pick up. This option also means you do not need to replenish the fuel tank upon return at the end of your holiday

How to prepare for driving in Australia

There are many ways you can prepare for driving in Australia. It’s a good idea to read up, learn, and study the Australian road rules before heading out onto the roads.

This video also offers some great safety tips for driving in Australia:

Take the tourist driving theory quiz

Planning to rent a van to travel for your Australia road trip? Familiarise yourself with Australia’s road rules by taking the Tourist Driving Theory Quiz.

The questions are designed to help tourists stay safe while travelling in Australia. The quiz covers:

  • Reading traffic signals, stop signs, and give way signs at various intersections.
  • Learn who has the right of way. Where should your car be on the road when driving around intersections, unmarked roads, and more
  • Basic road code driving knowledge – following and passing rules, give way rules, and more.

Frequently asked questions

Here are your frequently asked questions about safety and driving in Australia.

What do I need to know before driving in Australia?

If it’s your first time driving in Australia, we encourage you to take the time to learn the road rules. Remember these key points:

  • Get plenty of rest before you begin driving.
  • Drive on the left.
  • Give way to the right.
  • Ensure you and your passengers always wear a seatbelt.
  • Follow the speed limit.

What is the most basic rule of the road?

The main thing to remember when driving in Australia is that you must drive on the left-hand side. If you’re used to driving on the right, just remember that the driver should always be close to the centre of the road. Also remember that in Australia, we give way to the right.