35 Things that You didn’t know were Illegal to do while Driving Your Car

Once we get our driver’s licence most of us are never tested on the road rules for the rest of our lives. It is little wonder, then, many of us are unwittingly committing driving offences every day. Some drivers may even willingly commit what they judge to be minor driving offences, perhaps not realising the consequences.

For example, it is common knowledge that talking or texting on a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal. But did you know that includes holding it away from your face on loudspeaker – even while stationary in traffic? Technically, even pressing a button to answer the phone or check a text is illegal if the phone is not in a fixed bracket. Handling your phone while using it as a navigation device is also an offence, because it’s not properly docked and, technically, it is still a phone.

We’ve compiled a list of unusual, interesting and very little known traffic laws so that you can avoid being fined and losing points on your licence. We recommend that you share this list with your family and friends to ensure that they too do not unknowingly commit any traffic offences. Even the safest, most experienced drivers would probably not know about most of the offences on this list.

  1. Driving through an orange traffic light, if it was deemed that you had enough time to stop.
  2. Failing to leave one metre in front and behind when parallel parking.
  3. Leaving your window down to allow your dog to stick its head out to enjoy the breeze while the car is in motion. (This is because you are deemed to be carrying an ‘unsafe’ and ‘unsecured’ good).
  4. For motorcyclists, failing to keep both feet on the footrest while the bike is in motion, even if it’s to stretch your legs.
  5. Using fog lights in clear weather.
  6. Failing to ensure that your number plates are sufficiently lit at night.
  7. Carrying paint, a lighter, batteries or a BBQ gas bottle while crossing over the train tracks. (This is because these items are categorised as ‘flammable’ or ‘explosive’ goods).
  8. Parking on a footpath.
  9. Be careful how you say farewell to a friend or relative next time you’re visiting. A toot of the horn and a wave goodbye out the window as you drive down the street will attract a penalty as it is classified as an “illegal use of a warning device”. There will be a further penalty for waving goodbye as you have a “limb protrude” from the car.
  10. The same “limb protrude” provision applies to resting your elbow on the window ledge.
  11. Tucking the seat belt shoulder strap under your arm or chest.
  12. Reclining the passenger seat on a long interstate drive – the seat belt might be clicked in, but the straps are loose. (This is considered to be not wearing a seatbelt).
  13. Using an incorrectly fitted or non-approved child seat.
  14. Driving at night with your headlights off.
  15. Failing to dip your high beams if there is an oncoming vehicle.
  16. Consuming alcohol while driving, even if your blood alcohol content is under the legal limit.
  17. Reversing a vehicle “further than is reasonable”. There is no definition of what is ‘reasonable’, but it will depend on why you are reversing.
  18. If a driver is more than three metres from their car, the vehicle must be “secured” with the engine off, hand brake applied, ignition key removed (if no one over 16 years remains in the vehicle) and windows up with a gap no more than 5cm.
  19. Driving with a TV or DVD (or similar) displaying moving pictures in view of the driver. 
  20. Also, the driver of a car with a TV or DVD screen “likely to distract other drivers” can also be issued a fine.
  21. Failing to keep left on a freeway (or a road with a speed limit of 80km/h or more) unless overtaking. That means driving in the right-hand lane of any road that has a speed limit of 80km/h or more unless you are overtaking other vehicles. Once you have overtaken, you must then move to the left lanes. 
  22. Speeding up when being overtaken. This is because it creates a dangerous situation for the person overtaking you as they are probably trying to merge in front of you and need the certainty of your speed in order to safely do so.
  23. Failing to give way to an emergency vehicle — however, it is a difficult ticket for the police to issue because they are usually on their way to an emergency and can’t stop to issue you a ticket.
  24. Not indicating when merging lanes.
  25. Not indicating left when leaving a roundabout.
  26. Opening a door on a passing cyclist.
  27. Carrying more occupants than a car was designed to carry.
  28. Carrying passengers in a part of a vehicle not designed for carrying passengers.  This means the back of a wagon, van and ute and the boot of a hatchback or sedan.
  29. Driving with a person or animal on your lap.
  30. Following another vehicle too closely.
  31. Driving without a clear view in all directions. For example, having too many goods in your backseat such that you can’t see behind you.
  32. Entering an intersection when the road beyond is blocked.
  33. Parking/stopping within 10m of an intersection without a traffic light.
  34. Having your satellite navigation device in an impeding position. It is supposed to be in the bottom, right-hand corner in front of the driver.
  35. Failing to have a hand on the wheel while stopped at lights.

For more information you may like to review our article “Traffic law in Queensland“.

Do you need help understanding your legal rights, including what constitutes traffic offences? We at Cridland & Hua are indisputably one of Brisbane’s top law firms. Contact us for professional guidance today.


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