Don't risk a fine for breaking these bizarre Aussie road rules

RACQ is urging Queensland drivers to brush up on their road rule knowledge. Source: Getty (model posed for picture)

It turns out that driving around with your pooch on your lap can cost you a hefty fine. 

Every driver is suppose to know the rules of the road, but do you know them all? What about the really odd and slightly obscure ones you’ve probably never even heard of? 

RACQ has urged Queensland drivers to brush up on their road-rule knowledge, even the most obscure ones. That’s because over a 12-month period to October, hundreds of people were fined for breaking rules that few drivers were likely aware of, the drivers’ organisation said.

RACQ spokesperson Laura Ritchie said it was a timely reminder to motorists who “mistakenly believed police didn’t monitor minor breaches of the law”. “Obviously, there are many motorists copping fines for breaking rules they may not be aware of,” Ritchie said.

“These road rules may seem insignificant to some but they’re in place to keep all road users safe.”

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So, what are the road rules people are being fined for?

For one, it’s illegal to drive with an animal on your lap in Queensland, and if you do, expect a fine of up to $294. In the 12-month period, 170 drivers were fined for letting their pet get a little too close to the wheel. And don’t drive with an arm or leg outside of a vehicle – the RACQ data revealed more than 400 Queensland drivers were fined $128. 

Ritchie said warning devices have also caused confusion, with 66 cyclists issued with an infringement notice of $126 for riding a bike without a bell and 52 drivers received a $75 fine for improperly honking their horn.

“While it might seem friendly to beep your horn to say hello or goodbye, you legally can only use your horn to ‘warn’ others,” she said.  Meanwhile, 113 pedestrians had obstructed a vehicle during the 12-month period, costing them a $126 fine. 

“Ignorance of road rules isn’t a valid excuse so we urge everyone to refresh their knowledge, whether they’re a cyclist, a pedestrian, a driver or a passenger,” Ritchie concluded. 

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It’s not just Queensland, either. In New South Wales, the NRMA says many drivers may be unaware that it’s illegal to park an unregistered vehicle on the street. The no-pets-on-the-lap rule also goes for NSW, and you can’t lead a tethered animal behind a vehicle either. It’s also an offence to fail to give way to flighty and upset horses. NSW shares the rule about animals on laps too.

“In NSW it’s an offence to ‘negligently or wilfully interfere with, or interrupt’ a funeral cortege or authorised procession, or ‘any vehicle or any person’ forming part of the funeral or procession,” the NRMA’s Hubspot site said.

In Victoria,  it’s illegal to leave your car unlocked if you are more than three meters away, and windows must have a gap of no more than five centimetres either if they’re left down while you’re away from the car, according to Smiths Lawyers. And in Western Australia, you can only use a hand signal while driving if your car is old enough to have been manufactured without stop or indicator lights.

Did you know this? Have you broken one of these rules before? What’s the strangest road rule you know?

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