Knowing the basic road rules is essential.

In all diagrams shown the red vehicle B must give way to the green vehicle A.

Alcohol

Learner and probationary drivers must not drive with any alcohol in their blood. Zero BAC also applies to all restricted motorcycle licence holders, drivers of taxis, buses and other large vehicles, professional driving instructors and some full licence holders who have a previous drink driving conviction. Other full licence holders (including supervising drivers) require a BAC of less than .05. It is also illegal to drink alcohol while driving a motor vehicle or supervising a learner driver.

In nearly 30% of Victorian driver fatalities, the driver had a BAC of .05 or more.

BAC is grams of alcohol per 100mL of blood (0.05 BAC = 0.05g/mL or 50mg/mL).

The effects of alcohol on driving

Alcohol-affected drivers:

  • feel overconfident and take risks
  • are often unaware of the level of their driving impairment
  • have slower reflexes and poorer co-ordination
  • are less able to process information and make appropriate decisions

An alcohol-affected driver can’t judge speed and distance accurately as their vision, hearing and brain are impaired. They often fail to respond appropriately to potential dangers and their ability to cope with more than one thing at a time is greatly reduced (e.g. stay within a lane, respond to traffic signals and avoid an unexpected pedestrian).

What are the risks?

Crash risk increases dramatically with driver BAC. The average relationship between crash risk and alcohol in the blood is shown in the graph. For inexperienced drivers, the risk at any BAC level above zero will be even higher.

9_BAC_chart

Factors affecting BAC

Alcohol affects people in different ways (even the same person on different occasions). The same amount of alcohol may result in a different BAC on different days. Alcohol can exaggerate your mood and make you more tired.

Some of the factors that affect BAC include:

  • gender - a woman drinking the same as a similarly sized man = higher BAC
  • body size - small build drinking the same as a larger person = higher BAC
  • food consumption - food slows alcohol absorption so a higher BAC will result more quickly without a substantial meal before drinking
  • rate of drinking and the types of alcohol consumed - higher BAC will occur quicker the faster you drink and the greater the alcoholic content of the drink
  • general health - in poor health, the liver is less able to process alcohol
  • use of other drugs - any combination of alcohol and drugs increases crash risk

Only time reduces your BAC level

Coffee, exercise, cold showers, fresh air or vomiting don’t change the amount of alcohol in your blood or speed up your liver’s alcohol processing. Although you may feel more alert, the only thing that works is time. Remember, if you drink heavily at night, you are likely to still have alcohol in your blood the next morning.

How to avoid drink driving

  • Plan ahead. Once your judgment is impaired by alcohol, it is difficult to plan travel arrangements - so organize them before you go out. This is especially true for P1 drivers who must comply with peer passenger restrictions.
  • Share a taxi with friends, take public transport or organise a lift with a friend or relative who will not be drinking.
  • Stay the night.

Public breath testers (located in some hotels, clubs and restaurants) can be used to determine your BAC. Repeating this could give an idea of what BAC your usual drinking leads to, and how long it takes to return to zero (the safest BAC regardless of licence).

Breath testing procedures

Police can request a breath test at any time. There are many breath testing stations/ buses on Victorian roads and thousands of drivers are randomly tested every week.

You must blow into a small BAC testing device. A positive result will result in a second test on another instrument that will be used as evidence if you are over the legal limit.

Drivers admitted to hospital after a crash must submit to a breath test or blood sample.

Refusing a breath test is an offence. If convicted, your licence will be cancelled, you will be disqualified for at least 2 years and have to fit an alcohol interlock for at least 6 months when re-licensed.

Penalties

From 1 October 2014, anyone whose licence is cancelled for drink driving must install an alcohol interlock device in any vehicle they drive after their disqualification period. Interlock conditions apply for at least 6 months (at least 12 months for repeat offences).

Cancellation periods:

  • Learner permit or probationary licence holder with BAC from 0 - 0.05 =
    3 months (for first offence)
  • Learner permit or probationary licence holder with BAC from 0.05 - 0.10 =
    6 months (for first offence)
  • Full licence holder under 26 with BAC from 0.05 - 0.10 =
    6 months (for first offence)
  • Learner permit, probationary or full licence holder with BAC of 0.10 or more for first offence = cancellation period and interlock condition depends on the BAC
  • Any repeat drink driving offence = cancellation of learner permit or licence for at least 12 months followed by mandatory interlock condition of 12 months or more when re-licensed.

Cancelled learner permits or probationary licences have to be started again. Other penalties include heavy fines and vehicle impounding.

Drugs, medicine and driving

It is an offence to drive while impaired by a drug. Medicines and illegal drugs that affect driving are detected in over 30% of Victorian driver fatalities.

Illegal drugs

Drugs like speed or ecstasy can:

  • make you overconfident and negatively affect your driving
  • lead to a strong sleepiness when they wear off (increasing crash risk)

Cannabis can:

  • stop you responding quickly to the road environment
  • reduce your ability to concentrate (you may miss important signs), make decisions and react (harder to avoid potential hazards)
  • when combined with alcohol, impair you more than either one alone

Police can undertake roadside saliva testing to detect speed, cannabis, and ecstasy use. Penalties apply to drug driving including licence loss and vehicle impounding.

Conditions that affect safe driving

Medical conditions can affect safe driving. Long-term or permanent conditions that could affect driving must be reported. If you have a condition you must talk to a doctor about its affect on driving and if necessary, contact VicRoads to report your condition

Reporting a medically unfit driver

VicRoads investigates all reports of genuine concern about someone’s ability to drive safely. Simply write a letter with their details and the reason for concern.

Medicines

Medicines (prescription and over the counter) can impair driving and increase crash risk by affecting mood, concentration, co-ordination and reaction time:

  • sleeping tablets
  • muscle relaxants
  • sedatives
  • some strong painkillers
  • some antihistamines (hay fever or cold and flu medicines)

Drugs affect people differently, so ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how any new medicines may affect your driving. Reduce your crash risk while on medication by:

  • not drinking alcohol
  • keeping to prescribed doses
  • not treating yourself with additional medicines or other remedies
  • not using other people’s medicines
  • reading and following the advice on the labels on all your medicines. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if the label states the medicine may cause drowsiness

Stop driving (keep taking the medicine) and contact a doctor/pharmacist if medicine:

  • affects your reflexes
  • affects your concentration
  • makes you sleepy/drowsy
  • gives you blurred or double vision

Seatbelts

Wearing a seatbelt is the most effective measure to reduce crash injury. All occupants must wear a seatbelt or appropriate restraint (including children and pregnant women).

Drivers are responsible for passenger restraints. Penalties include fines and demerit points for the driver and fines for unrestrained passengers aged 16 years and over.

A seatbelt for each person must be securely fastened and properly adjusted. Only one person is allowed in each seating position. Seatbelts are not designed to protect small bodies. Children need restraints that specifically fit their size.

Children

Drivers must ensure children are restrained in a properly fastened/adjusted, approved:

  • rearward facing restraint with inbuilt harness if they are less than 6 months old
  • rearward facing or forward facing restraint with inbuilt harness if they are more than 6 months and less than 4 years old
  • forward facing restraint with inbuilt harness or booster seat and seatbelt if they are more than 4 but less than 7. Restraint type will depend on child size.
  • booster seat or adult seatbelt if they are between 7 and 16. It is recommended that children continue to use a booster seat until they are at least 145cm tall.

Children under 4 must not be in the front (if more than 1 row). Children 4-7 can only be in the front if passengers less than 7 occupy all other seats in the rows behind.

Child restraints, booster seats and airbags

Children are safest in the back seat. A rearward facing restraint can’t be used in a front seat with a passenger airbag. Forward facing restraints or booster seats in the front seat should be used with the seat as far back from the dash as possible. If there are airbags in other positions, consult the manual for advice on positioning restraints.

Taxis and children

Taxis are exempt from restraint requirements for children under 7. Taxis must have anchorage points and parents are encouraged to provide their own restraint or booster seat for children under 7. If a restraint is unavailable, children under 1 must not travel in the front seat and children 1 and over must be restrained by a seatbelt.

Pregnant women

Seatbelts protect pregnant women and unborn babies when properly fastened and adjusted. The lap part of the belt should be across the hips and below the baby.

Travelling with animals

Do not drive with an animal on your lap. Animals carried in a trailer or on a tray (except when moving stock) must be tethered to prevent falling or injury while moving.

Speed limits

Speed limit signs tell the maximum speed allowed in good conditions. Speed limits are set based on the characteristics of the road including its use by vulnerable road users.

Built-up areas

A built-up area has buildings next to the road or streetlights not over 100m apart for a distance of 500m or more. The default limit here is 50km/h, unless signed otherwise.

Speed limited areas

These signs designate speed limits for whole areas. Each road into the area has a sign. This reduced speed improves safety.

10_speed_limited_area

Freeways and country roads

The limit on freeways and outside built-up areas is 100 km/h unless otherwise signed. In rural areas some main streets are 50 km/h and railway level crossings are 80km/h.

School speed limits

Children are easily distracted, can forget to look for dangers and have trouble judging vehicle speed. As such, lower speed limits apply outside schools as signed:

 11_permanent_speed_sign 12_time_based_speed_sign  13_electronic_speed_sign
Permanent speed sign - Permanent 40km/h speed limits outside schools on most 50km/h roads. Time-based speed sign - 40km/h speed limits outside schools on 60 and 70km/h roads. Electronic speed sign - 40 and 60km/h time-based limits apply on roads where the limit is 80 km/h or over.

Shared zones

Pedestrians hit by a car at 40km/h or more are unlikely to survive. Shared zones protect them by limiting the speed as indicated and making drivers give way to pedestrians.

13_shared_zone 

Safe speeds for different needs

Speed limits are the maximum you can travel. You should decide on a safe speed under the specified limit based on a number of factors:

Light or heavy traffic - Slow down to the traffic’s average speed and watch for hazards if traffic is heavy. Pedestrians often weave through peak hour traffic.

Shops, parked cars and people - Electronic variable signs indicate reduced limits at high-risk times at selected strip shopping centres where there are people and cars. Slow down and be alert as pedestrians and parked cars can move suddenly.

Green lights can change to amber or red - so choose a speed so you can stop safely.

The time of the day - Slow down, wear sunglasses, and use the sun visor when driving into sunlight at dawn or dusk. If dangerous, pull over and wait for improved conditions.

Weather conditions - When driving in heavy rain, mist, fog, frost or snow, vision may be difficult and roads slippery, so slow right down or pull over and wait for improved conditions. You can use hazard lights or rear fog lights while parked.

Curving roads - Slow down before entering a curve/bend and accelerate gently out of the curve. Braking on a curve/bend can be dangerous as you may lose control.

Road works - At road works, road layout is often changed to protect workers (reduced lane numbers). Temporarily reduced limits guide traffic through the site at safe speeds.

Unpredictable surfaces - The risk of losing control increases on roads with wheel ruts or grooves, potholes, slippery/loose surfaces. Be aware and adjust to the conditions.

Country roads and animals - Beware of animals as they are unpredictable and can wander or dart onto the road. Slow down when passing sheep or cattle being moved.

Slippery roads - Not all slippery when wet areas are signed. Rain makes roads slippery as oil and dirt are washed to the surface, which can cause skidding (until washed away by more rain). Slow down and keep your distance from the vehicle in front.

Unsealed roads - Dust from oncoming vehicles may conceal hazards. Unsealed roads can become slippery when wet/corrugated. Mud thrown onto windows limits visibility. Adjust to the conditions (reduced road holding and greater stopping distances).

Road edge - Don’t panic if you need to move off the bitumen (e.g. passing on a narrow road). Slow down, brake gently if needed, take your time and steer back normally when safe (quick wheel movements may cause over-correction and loss of control).

How quickly do you think you can stop?

Speed makes a big difference to your ability to stop and therefore, your crash risk.

Doubling your speed increases stopping distance by almost 4 times.

  • At 60 km/h you may cover up to 67m before stopping
  • At 100 km/h you may cover up to 142m before stopping

Two scenarios are detailed below. In both you have a modern vehicle with good brakes and tyres. A child runs onto the road 45m ahead of you while you are travelling in a 60km/h zone. You brake hard. Will you stop in time?

Dry conditions

15_dry_conditions_braking

Wet Conditions

14_wet_conditions_braking

Road signs

Regulatory signs

Tell you what you must or must not do - disobeying is an offence. Usually black and white, sometimes with red (indicates danger/restriction), can also be black and yellow.

 16_keep_left 17_safety_zone  18_pedestrain_crossing
Keep left Safety zone Pedestrian crossing

Obey these traffic signs

These signs show which direction you must, or must not take.

 19_no_left_turn 20_no_entry 21_left_turn_only
No left turn No entry Left turn only
22_stop_sign23_give_way 24_stop_hand_held
Stop and Give Way signs
Enable drivers to get through intersections and other places safely.
Hand-held signs
Often used at work sites and school crossings.
25_keep_left_unless_overtaking
Keep left unless overtaking
Where signed, or on multi-lane roads limited over 80km/h, you must not drive in the right lane unless overtaking, turning right, making a U-turn, avoiding an obstruction, or traffic is congested.

Warning signs

These signs alert you to possible danger ahead. They are usually yellow diamond shapes with black words or symbols. Take notice of the advice these signs give. It usually means slowing down.

Curves and bends signs

Curves and bends signs tell you what to expect – from simple curves, to winding sections and sharp bends.

 26_normal_bend 29_winding_section
Normal bend Winding section of road
 27_sharp_bend_128_sharp_bend_2
Sharp bends

Intersection warning signs

An intersection is where two or more roads meet where vehicles travelling on different roads might collide. Intersection warning signs warn of the type of intersection ahead, particularly when dangerous or difficult to see.

 30_cross_road 31_t_intersection
Cross-road intersection T-intersection
 32_staggered_side_roads
Staggered side road junction

Intersection control warning signs

 33_traffic_lights 34_stop_sign_ahead
Traffic lights ahead Stop sign ahead
 35_roundabout_ahead
Roundabout ahead

Changing road layout

 36_end_divided_road  37_two_lanes_oncoming
End of divided road Two lanes for oncoming traffic
Advisory speed signs
Used with other warning signs to show the maximum speed in good conditions you should use for the upcoming road (e.g. curve).
 38_advisory_speed_limit_curve

Changing conditions

 39_hollow_dip 40_gravel_road
Hollow/dip in the road Gravel road
 41_slippery_when_wet
Slippery when wet

Railway level crossings

When approaching railway level crossings – slow down and be prepared to stop.

 42_rail_crossing_ahead 43_uncointrolled_crossing_ahead
Rail crossing ahead Uncontrolled crossing ahead
 44_uncointrolled_crossing_on_side_road
Uncontrolled rail crossing on side road

Pedestrian signs

 45_pedestrian_crossing_ahead 46_children_crossing_ahead
Pedestrians crossing Children crossing

Road work signs

These are usually temporary signs warning drivers to slow down and drive carefully because there are road works ahead. Keep road workers and yourself safe when approaching road works. Remember, road workers may not be visible.

 47_left_lane_ends 48_prepare_to_stop
Left lane ends, prepare to merge into another lane Slow down and be prepared to stop
 49_road_wrokers_ahead 50_proceed_clowly
Workers on road ahead Proceed slowly
Direction signs
Standard green signs with white lettering that give information on road names, destinations along a route and distances to the destinations.
51_direction_sign_1
 51_direction_sign_1 52_direction_sign_2

Road markings

It is important to understand road markings, as they must be obeyed. They create regulatory requirements that provide a safer driving environment.

Broken white lines - Keep left of the lines and drive as close to the left side of the road as you can. You may cross these lines to enter or leave the road, but only overtake or U-turn if safe. 53_broken_lines
Single continuous dividing lines - You can cross it to enter or leave the road, but must not overtake or U-turn. 54_single_continuous_line
Double continuous white lines - Always keep left of these lines. Do not cross them for any reason. 55_double_lines
Two white lines with continuous line closer to you - You can cross it to enter or leave the road, but must not overtake or U-turn. 56_continuous_line_closer
Two white lines with broken line closer to you - Cross to overtake, or enter or leave the road, but only overtake or U-turn if safe. 57_broken_line_closer

You must not park on the same side of the road as a continuous white dividing line unless there is at least 3m between your vehicle and the dividing line or unless otherwise indicated by a parking sign.

Broken white lines separating lanes in the same direction - You may change lanes if you signal and if safe. Give way to vehicles already in that lane and keep completely within a lane. Don’t cross a continuous line separating lanes unless avoiding obstruction, permitted by signs, or allowed in a special purpose lane. 58_broken_lines_separating_lanes
Overhead lane signals - If in use, travel in lanes over which there is a speed limit sign, or a green or white arrow. Stay out of lanes with a red X. 59_overhead_lane_signals
Overhead lane signals can change. If travelling in a lane and you then see a green or white arrow you must drive in that direction by safely changing lanes. 60_overhead_lane_speed
Roads without marked lanes - If there are two or more lines of traffic in the same direction, you may change from one line to another if you signal and it is safe. Only overtake on the left side when a vehicle is turning right or if it is stationary and it is safe. 61_no_marked_lanes

Special purpose lanes

Signs and/or road markings indicate special purpose lanes including bicycle lanes, bus lanes, transit lanes and tram lanes. If specified, other vehicles may use these lanes. Otherwise, keep out during the times marked or, if no marked time, at all times. You may travel in these lanes for up to 100m (only up to 50m in a bicycle or tram lane), when necessary, to enter or leave the road, or avoid an obstruction or turning vehicle.

Tram lanes - For trams and public buses only.

Bus lanes - For buses and other vehicles as signed.

Bicycle lanes - For cyclists only. Parking allowed unless signed otherwise. If necessary to turn left, you may drive in a bicycle lane for up to 50m. Be courteous to and give way to cyclists in a bicycle lane, and only move into a bicycle lane when safe. 62_bicycle_lane
Transit lanes - During times specified on the signs, transit lanes are for buses, taxis, motorcycles, trams and vehicles carrying two or more people (T2 sign), or three or more people (T3 sign). 63_transit_lanes

Traffic lane arrows

Arrows painted at intersections tell you the direction each lane must go. Two directions mean you may go either way. Arrows may also be applied to bicycle lanes.

Bicycle storage areas are provided so drivers stopped at traffic lights can see cyclists. A driver facing a red light with a bicycle storage area must stop at the first line and not proceed into the area until the light changes.

64_traffic_light_bicycle_lanes 65_bicycle_storage_areas
Bicycle lanes Bicycle storage area

Painted traffic islands

Sometimes present before a right turning lane. You can drive over or stop to wait on it, as long as there are no double lines outlining the island on the left. You must give way to any vehicle in or entering a turning lane from a marked lane. You should not enter the painted island to turn right if traffic is not banked up.

Where a painted island with a continuous line separates traffic travelling in the same direction (e.g. freeway on-ramp) do not drive on the painted island.

Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A

66_painted_islands 67_painted_islands
Give Way signs or lines

68_give_way_signs_lines

Vehicle B must give way to Vehicle A

Stop signs or lines

69_stop_lines_signs

Vehicle B must come to a complete stop and give way to Vehicle A.

Traffic controls at intersections

Traffic lights

 70_red_light 71_yellow_light 72_green_light
Red means you must STOP and not enter the intersection
Yellow means STOP unless unable to do so safely
Green means you may enter the intersection only if you do not block it

Traffic lights with arrows

If the arrow pointing in the direction you want to go is red, you must stop. If green, you may proceed in the direction it is pointing if safe.

Half of crashes happen at intersections. Stay alert and obey the rules.

 73_red_right_light 74_green_right_light  75_green_left_light
You must not turn right
You may turn right
You may turn left

Traffic lights for trams, buses and bicycles

White T or B lights on a black background are used for trams and buses only. Some traffic lights may have red, yellow and green bicycle lights that apply only to cyclists.

Pedestrian signals

Turning vehicles must always give way to pedestrians who are crossing the road they are turning into whether or not there is a green ‘walking figure’ facing the pedestrian.

 76_tram_light 77_bicycle_light 78_pedestrian_green_light
Tram may go. You must wait.
Bicycle may go. You must wait.
Pedestrian signal

Traffic control signs

Stop and Give Way signs are used for safety control at many intersections.

Traffic lights not working

If traffic lights aren’t working or flashing yellow, give way like uncontrolled intersections.

Give way rules

When your path crosses that of other road users, one or more party must give way to avoid a collision. Giving way means that if there is a danger of collision you must slow down and stop if necessary. If stationary, you must remain stationary until it is safe.

Giving way to pedestrians

Pedestrians are vulnerable road users protected by road rules in many situations.

At pedestrian crossings

Give way to people on pedestrian crossings. Do not overtake a vehicle stopped at a pedestrian crossing. When approaching, drive at a speed so you can stop safely.

In slip lanes
A slip lane is an area for vehicles turning left separated from other parts of the road by a painted or traffic island.
Give way to any pedestrian in a slip lane.
81_slip_lane

At intersections

When turning left or right (except at a roundabout), you must give way to pedestrians crossing the road you are turning into.

On the footpath

When entering or leaving the road from a driveway or adjacent land, you must give way to pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles on footpaths or nature strips you cross.

In shared zones

In a shared zone you must give way to pedestrians.

At Stop or Give Way signs or lines not at intersections

You must give way to pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles at or near the sign or line. This includes those crossing in front of you on a shared or bicycle path.

82_stop_give_way_no_intersection

At Stop or Give Way signs or lines not at intersections

You must give way to pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles at or near the sign or line. This includes those crossing in front of you on a shared or bicycle path.

When making a U-turn

You must give way to all pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles when making a U-turn.

At tram stops

Before passing a stopped tram, stop at its rear and give way to pedestrians crossing between the tram and the left roadside. Do not proceed while the doors are open. Remember pedestrians can run onto the road to catch a tram, so take extra care.

Giving way to vehicles at intersections

Stop or Give Way signs or lines at an intersection

When facing a Stop sign/line, come to a complete stop. After stopping, or when facing a Give Way sign/line, give way to vehicles in or approaching the intersection except:

  • a vehicle making a U-turn
  • a vehicle turning left using a slip lane
  • an oncoming vehicle turning right that also faces a Stop or Give Way sign/line
83_give_way_stop_sign

Legal reference to ‘vehicles’ includes motor vehicles, bicycles and horses being ridden. As such, the Give Way rules apply equally to all. You can be charged equally for not giving way to a bicycle, horse being ridden or truck.

Giving way at intersections (except T-intersections or roundabouts)

If no traffic lights, signs or lines at an intersection, you must give way your right.

 84_give_way_straight 85_give_way_slip_lane  86_give_way_left
Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A (on the right)

The same requirements apply if traffic lights are not working or flashing yellow.

 87_give_way_straight 88_give_way_right  89_give_way_right
Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A

If turning right at an intersection without traffic lights, signs or lines, you must give way to oncoming traffic going straight or turning left (except in a slip lane) and to your right.

Giving way at T-intersections

A T-intersection is where two roads meet and one of them ends. When turning onto the continuing road, you must give way to vehicles already on the continuing road. T-intersections may not always form a regular T.

90_t_intersection_irregularity

 91_give_way_right 92_give_way_right  93_give_way_right
Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A on the continuing road
 94_give_way_left_pedestrian 95_give_way_right
Red vehicle must give way to the pedestrian When you turn right from the continuing road, give way to oncoming vehicles
Some T-intersections are modified so the continuing road goes round a corner. The road that ends is marked by a continuity line and Give Way or Stop lines/signs.

The red vehicle B, leaving the continuing road must give way to the green vehicle A on the continuing road.

96_give_way_continuing_road

Giving way at roundabouts

A roundabout is an intersection with a roundabout sign at each entrance, a central island and one or more lines of traffic that travel in the same direction. Always keep to the left of the central island. When entering a roundabout, you must give way to:

  • all vehicles (including motorcyclists and cyclists) already on the roundabout
  • all trams entering, or approaching the roundabout

Give way to vehicles already on the roundabout. Enter only when there is a safe gap.

In this diagram, the red B vehicles must give way to the green A vehicles.

98_roundabout

Cyclists and animal riders

On a roundabout, cyclists and animal riders can turn right from the left lane after they give way to drivers exiting the roundabout.

Giving way on divided roads

A median strip is a dividing strip that separates vehicles travelling in opposite directions. When a two-way road is divided by a median strip, a Give Way or Stop sign applies to the whole intersection. The red vehicle B must give way to the green vehicle A 99_give_way_divided_road

Turning from a divided road

When turning from a divided road, obey the signs on the road you are turning from. Normally a vehicle in the same position as red vehicle B could continue if safe. However, red vehicle B is facing a Stop Here On Red Signal sign and must stop until that signal is green. If no sign, you must give way to traffic when entering a road from a break in the median strip after turning.

100_turning_divided_road

Other driving situations when you are required to give way

U-turn

When making a U-turn, give way to all other vehicles and pedestrians.

Entering the road

When entering the road from a driveway or adjacent land, give way to all road users.

Entering the traffic stream

When entering the traffic stream from a parked position, or through a median strip break, give way to all vehicles travelling on the road.

Changing lanes

When you change from one marked lane or line of traffic to another, give way to vehicles already in that lane or line. This includes crossing any broken line that indicates a lane ends, for example when merging into freeway traffic. Make a head check whenever you are changing lanes or pulling out from the kerb, but don’t take your eyes off the road ahead for more than a second. Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A

102_changing_lanes

Zip merging

Zip merging is when two lanes of traffic must merge on a road with no lines marked. You must give way to any vehicle that has any part ahead of you. If you cross any marked lines, then you are not zip merging but changing lanes and must give way accordingly.Red vehicle B must give way to green vehicle A

101_zip_merging

Police direction

You must always follow instructions from Police or other authorised persons.

Turning

Plan turns in advance. Move into the correct lane and indicate to give plenty of warning.

Road users make mistakes about who should give way. Never assume someone has seen you or will give way. Make eye contact and proceed carefully.

Making turns

Signalling your moves

Always use indicators for long enough to warn others that you are about to change lanes or direction. Signal for at least 5 seconds when moving from a stationary position at the side of the road or from a median strip parking area.

 103_double_right_turn 104_multi_lane_right_turn

Making right turns

Approach the intersection as close to the left of the centre of the road as possible. Turn just right of the centre of the intersection.

Right turns on multi-lane roads

On some multi-lane roads, painted arrows show if right turns may be made from other lanes. Make the turn as indicated by markings.

 105_left_turn 106_left_turn_multi

Making left turns

Approach the intersection as close to the left side of the road as possible (giving way to bicycles in the bicycle lane). Where there is a slip lane, you must use the slip lane (once again looking out for cyclists who may be going straight ahead).

Left turns on multi-lane roads

On some multi-lane roads, painted arrows will show if left turns may be made from other lanes. If road markings allow turns from multiple lanes, it is advisable to stay in the same lane when you turn from one road into the other.

 107_turn_exception 108_hook_turns

Exception to the turning rules

Trucks or vehicles over 7.5m long displaying a Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle sign may use more than one lane and must not be overtaken while turning.

Hook turns

A driver turning right at an intersection with traffic lights and a Hook Turn sign must turn right by making a hook turn.

To make a hook turn, you must:

  1. Approach and enter the intersection from as near the left as possible
  2. Move forward (keeping clear of any marked foot crossing) until as near as possible to the far side of the road you are entering
  3. Remain at this position until traffic lights on the road you are entering are green
  4. Turn right into the road and continue straight ahead

Hook Turn signs are found at intersections in central and South Melbourne. The signs may be at the side of the road or hung from overhead wires.

109_hook_turn_explain

A cyclist can hook turn at any intersection (not just signed intersections) unless a No hook turn by bicycles sign is present.

U-turns

When making a U-turn you must:

  • have a clear view of traffic
  • signal your intention for a reasonable time
  • give way to all road users
  • complete your U-turn without disrupting traffic

Where there is no median, it is advisable U-turns be made from the left roadside.

110_u_turn
You must not make a U-turn:

  • over double or a single continuous line
  • where there is a No U-turn sign
  • at a No Right Turn sign unless there is a U-turn Permitted sign

Where there is a median, a U-turn must be made from the right lane.

112_no_right_turn

111_no_u_turn_sign

113_u_turn_median

Turning and one way roads

 114_turning_from_one_way_street 115_turning_into_one_way_street

Turning from one-way roads

When turning from a one-way road into a two-way road, turn from a position close to the side you are turning towards.

Turning into one-way roads

When turning from a two-way road into a one-way road, it is advisable to turn into the nearest lane.

Turning left at roundabouts

Approach in the left lane and stay in that lane. Signal left on approach and keep the signal on until you have exited the roundabout.

Going straight ahead at roundabouts

Approach in the left or right lane. Drive in the same lane through the roundabout. Do not signal on approach and, if practical, signal left as you exit.

Turning right at roundabouts

Approach the roundabout in the right lane. Drive close to the roundabout and follow the right lane as you leave. Signal right on approach, and, if practical, signal left before the exit you are turning into, keeping the signal on until you have exited the roundabout.

Where arrow(s) are marked before or in a roundabout, you must drive in their direction.

116_roundabout_turning_sign

Three point turn

A three point turn is used to turn around on a road not as wide as your car’s turning circle. You must:

  • signal left before stopping at the kerb
  • signal right before leaving the kerb
  • look in both directions before commencing
  • cross the road to the opposite kerb
  • look in both directions before reversing
  • look in direction of travel before and during reversing
  • after reversing, check both directions before moving

117_three_point_turn

Freeways

There is special advice for freeways as speeds are often high and traffic heavy.

Entering a freeway

  • Adjust speed on the entry ramp to match freeway traffic
  • Indicate your intentions.
  • Give way to freeway traffic
  • Merge smoothly in a safe gap

Some freeway entrances have lights to control vehicle flow when traffic is heavy. Electronic advisory signs will indicate light operation. When operating, the lights will change quickly, so only one vehicle will be able to enter the freeway.

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Exiting a freeway

  • Watch for signs indicating you are approaching an exit ramp/lane (usually on the left).
  • Maintain speed and indicate intention well in advance.
  • Adjust speed once on the exit ramp

If you miss your exit, continue travelling until the next exit. Do not reverse or cross the median strip on a freeway.

Some freeway exits will have an exit number sign that can help navigate and map routes. These signs can also provide a location reference for emergency services in emergencies.

119_exit_sign120_wrong_way_go_back121_exit_number_sign

Overtaking lanes

Do not drive in the right lane unless overtaking or all lanes are congested. This rule also applies to the right lane used by all traffic, if the lane to the right of that is a transit lane.

Stopping

Do not stop on a freeway unless there is an emergency – and then use your hazard lights and stop only in the emergency stopping lane. Watch out for buses and taxis in this lane (allowed when signed), especially when entering or exiting freeways.

Variable speed zones

Electronic variable signs on freeways indicate reduced speed limits at high-risk times.

Tollways

Tollways are sections of road you must pay to use. Signs show you when you will soon be entering a tollway.

A tolled section of road begins from the Start tollway sign

If you do not want to enter a tollway, take the next exit.

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Driving safely in tunnels

When driving in tunnels:

  • Remove sunglasses before entering.
  • Turn on your headlights to increase visibility.
  • Variable speed limits apply (lowered in heavy traffic or during incidents (a crash or breakdown). Look for signs and drive to the conditions.
  • Check and obey variable message and lane control signs (safety and traffic info).
  • Stay out of closed lanes - even if you can’t see the problem.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Avoid lane changing and overtaking as this causes many crashes.
  • If overtaking is necessary (breakdown) make sure you are clear and it is safe. Always indicate your intention to merge or change lanes.
  • Turn your radio on. Tunnels have systems that convey information to drivers via radio and the tunnel PA system.
  • Do not stop except in an emergency or if directed by the tunnel controller. Try to drive out if your vehicle is damaged or has a mechanical malfunction.
  • Do not reverse in a tunnel.
  • Do not enter a tunnel if low on fuel or you think you might break down.

If you break down in a tunnel you should:

  • If possible, drive out; otherwise, try to stop in a right/left lane (not the centre).
  • Switch on hazard lights and radio.
  • Stay calm, an incident response unit will come as soon as possible.
  • Remain in your vehicle, unless there’s a fire or you are asked to evacuate.
  • If you do have to get out, watch carefully for traffic and move to the walkway or in front of your vehicle. Never stand behind your vehicle.
  • In evacuations, look for running man symbols and flashing lights for exit points.

Sharing the road safely

Cooperation is for all road users as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and drivers of cars, vans, trucks, buses and trams all share the road.

Cooperative driving

Driving cooperatively is the best way for everyone to arrive safely (e.g. letting someone in from a side street in slow traffic doesn’t waste time).

You must not block intersections or crossings or enter if the road beyond is blocked.

Cooperative driving strategies include:

  • not following too closely
  • changing lanes correctly
  • always using your signals when turning or changing lanes
  • smoothly controlling your speed (not in a start/stop manner)
  • slowing down when approaching road works

There are times and places when cooperation is essential:

  • 2 lanes have to merge
  • the left lane ends
  • extra lanes exist before/after intersections
  • overtaking lanes or divided roads end
  • tram stops where a passenger unexpectedly alights after other patrons
  • cars are parked and there is not enough room for 2 oncoming vehicles to pass

Cooperative driving helps ‘green driving’. Your driving style affects the impact of your driving on the environment. Driving smoothly (not start/stop) saves fuel and money, and pollutes less. Even better, leave the car and walk, ride your bike or use public transport!

Keeping your cool when driving

Road rage or aggressive driving in response to another driver’s actions is dangerous.

  • The fundamental rule is do not retaliate – it is never worth it
  • If you make a mistake while driving, acknowledge it
  • Don’t take others’ mistakes personally – it’s a mistake not a personal attack
  • Keep your cool and your distance
  • Drive cooperatively and consider the other people on the road

Sharing the road with other motorists

Keeping to the left

On multi-lane roads with a speed limit over 80km/h or where a Keep Left Unless Overtaking sign applies, keep out of the right lane unless:

  • overtaking
  • turning right
  • making a U-turn
  • avoiding an obstruction
  • driving in congested traffic
 125_keep_left_unless_overtaking

Signalling your moves

Signal long enough to give sufficient warning to other road users before turning or changing lanes (this is at least 30m in a 60km/h zone). Signal for at least 5 seconds before moving from the side of the road or a parking area in the middle of the road.

Check your indicator is off after making a turn or lane change as it may not turn off by itself, making other drivers will think you intend to turn.

Using your indicators

You must use your indicators when:

  • turning right/left
  • changing lanes
  • overtaking
  • making U-turns
  • pulling into and out of a park
  • diverging to the left/right
  • leaving a roundabout (if practical)
  • leaving a continuing road which curves left/right
  • moving left/right from a stationary position

Indicate in a way that is not misleading. Watch others’ indicators and make sure they are doing as indicated because indicators not cancelled from the last turn or put on too early are dangerous.

These vehicles are signalling, but could be heading for trouble as vehicle A’s signal could be misleading. 126_misleading_signal

Using your brake lights

Brake lights warn of a slowing vehicle. Slow down when the brake lights on a vehicle in front are glowing and give lots of warning by braking early and slowing gradually.

Making eye contact

Get an idea of what another person might do and make sure another driver knows you are there, try to make eye contact, especially at intersections.

Using your headlights and tail lights

Headlights help you to see at night and help others to see you in poor light conditions. Head and tail lights must be on between sunset and sunrise and in hazardous weather conditions where there is reduced visibility. If streetlights are on, so should your lights.

High-beam headlights

High-beam headlights allow you to see further but may dazzle other drivers. You must ‘dip’ them to low-beam when another vehicle is within 200m (both oncoming and when following).

127_headlights_oncoming

128_headlight_following

Don’t be dazzled

Look to the left and drive towards the left of your lane if a car with high-beams is approaching. If dazzled, slow down and pull over until your eyes recover.

Using emergency signals

If your vehicle breaks down on the road

If possible, pull out of traffic flow. If you can’t get off the road, try to stop where people can see your vehicle and stop in time. Don’t stop just over a hill or just around a curve.

Turn on your hazard lights (or, if none, your left indicator) to warn other drivers. Lift your bonnet or boot lid to show other drivers you are in trouble.

Driving in dangerous conditions or situations

You may use hazard lights if driving in dangerous weather (fog or smoke) or if you are driving slowly and likely to obstruct road users. Do not use front or rear fog lights unless driving in fog or hazardous weather as they can dazzle drivers in other weather.

Warning others of your approach

Only use your horn if necessary to warn other road users of your approach or position.

How to overtake safely

Do not increase your speed when being overtaken. To reduce risk when overtaking:

Overtaking on a two way road

  • Check the centre line markings. Do not overtake if there are double continuous white lines, two white lines with a left continuous line or a single continuous line.
  • Make sure you have a clear view of traffic and that the gap is enough space to overtake safely. Remember, it is hard to estimate approaching vehicle speeds.
  • Check the vehicle in front or behind is not also about to overtake.
  • Do a head check.
  • Use your right indicator to let others know as a vehicle behind may want to overtake both you and the vehicle in front.
  • Just wait if you’re not sure the gap is safe - it could save your life.
  • Never overtake where it’s not wide enough to stay completely on sealed road, unless overtaking at a low speed.
  • Judge the length of the vehicle as some heavy vehicles are very long.
  • When safe, accelerate and overtake, then indicate left and return to your lane. Do not exceed the speed limit.
  • Keep a safe distance when overtaking. Do not return to your lane until a sufficient distance past the vehicle.

It is safe to return to your lane when you see both headlights of the overtaken vehicle in your rear view mirror.

Overtaking where there are no lane markings

If there are no lane markings, overtake to the right of vehicles. Do not overtake moving vehicles on the left (unless they are turning right, or making a U-turn from the road centre, and are right indicating).

Overtaking where lanes are marked

You can overtake in the left lane if there are no markings (though you are less visible).

Overtaking where there are oncoming vehicles

Don’t underestimate the space and time needed to overtake when there are oncoming vehicles. Oncoming vehicle speed is hard to judge. If in doubt – don’t pull out.

Overtaking where there are hills and curves

Don’t pull out if your view is blocked. Do not to overtake with double unbroken white lines, two white lines with a left continuous line or a single continuous line.

Overtaking at intersections, shopping centre entrances, rail and pedestrian crossings

These are never good places to overtake. Wait until you are on a clearer section of road. Do not overtake a vehicle stopped at a pedestrian/children’s crossing.

Sharing the road with pedestrians

Pedestrians include people on foot, pushing bicycles, and on wheeled devices such as skateboards, rollerblades, wheelchairs and motorised mobility devices. As a pedestrian, you cannot rely on the speed limits and road rules to protect you. Keep a look out for vehicles because in a crash, a pedestrian will come off second best.

As a driver, pedestrians can be unpredictable and you are obliged to try to avoid a collision even if they are in the wrong. Here are some places you should take care:

At a children’s crossing

Approach children’s crossings at speeds that allow you to stop safely. Stop at flagged children’s crossings if a pedestrian is on or entering the crossing, even if no crossing supervisor is there. Do not proceed until the pedestrian has left the crossing. You must stop if a hand-held Stop sign is displayed.

129_childrens_crossing_flag131_hand_held_stop_sign130_childrens_crossing

At intersections and traffic lights

When turning, you must give way to pedestrians crossing the road you are entering - even if they do not cross in the time allowed by the lights. Be patient and wait for them to cross.

Pedestrian lights (not at intersections) enable people to cross roads safely and generally operate the same as intersection lights. In some locations, when the yellow light starts flashing, drivers may proceed so long as they give way to people still crossing. These crossings have When Flashing Give Way To Pedestrians signs.

132_give_way_to_pedestrians_at_lights

At pedestrian crossings

Always approach pedestrian crossings at a speed that allows you to stop safely. Take care as not all pedestrians look before they step onto crossings. Give way to any pedestrian on a crossing.

133_pedestrian_crossings

At shared zones

Shared zones - limit of 10km/h (or as signed) and you must give way to pedestrians.

At safety zones, tram stops and bus stops

A safety zone is the area near a tram stop with safety zone signs and a traffic island or dividing strip. Slow down when approaching safety zones, tram and bus stops as pedestrians are hard to see when stepping out suddenly from behind or in front of a bus/tram and may get off a tram/bus and cross the road without looking.

134_safety_zones

When waiting to pick up a bus passenger, park on the same side the bus will come on.

At tram stops with no safety zone between you and the tram, stop and give way to any pedestrians crossing between the tram and the left side of the road.

Do not proceed while the doors are open.

135_tram_stops

When coming out of driveways

Give way to bicycles and pedestrians when leaving private property (homes, shopping centres, service stations, car parks). If you cannot see, sound your horn and drive out slowly. Watch out for children on bicycles or skateboards.

136_driveways

Crossing on paths

Give way to vehicles/pedestrians on a shared/bicycle path that crosses the road if facing a Give Way or Stop sign.

137_crossing_on_paths

Near schools

Take care, especially when children are arriving/ leaving. Watch for 40 or 60km/h limits.

At shopping centres and car parks

At busy places there is a greater chance of pedestrians crossing unexpectedly or stepping out without looking. Slow down and remain alert.

Where children are walking or playing

Beware of children darting out from between parked cars (hard to see over car tops).

Near libraries, senior citizens’ clubs and homes for the elderly

Be alert and take extra care in areas where there are elderly people.

Vision impaired

Be aware of pedestrians with impaired vision who may be using a guide dog, a white cane or walking stick. They may not see or be able to judge the speed of your vehicle.

Near hotels or nightclubs

Pedestrians impaired by alcohol may not pay attention to traffic before crossing roads.

Wet weather

Pedestrians may hurry and take risks in the wet so slow down and take extra care.

At night

Pedestrians are more difficult to see in the dark or near-dark conditions - be careful.

Motorised mobility devices

People using motorised mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters and buggies used by people unable to walk) must obey the same road rules as pedestrians. Watch for them.

Sharing the road with cyclists and motorcyclists

Be especially alert for cyclists and motorcyclists as they have a higher risk of injury. They have the same rights/responsibilities as you so give them their own space.

138_cyclist_distanceLeave at least 1m clearance when overtaking and more clearance on higher speed roads. Never share the lane with them if you cannot leave this clearance. Cyclists and motorcyclists can ride two abreast (up to 1.5m apart) making them easier to see.

Motorcyclists and cyclists should keep a safe distance from other vehicles and not go through small gaps between lines of traffic. Although cyclists and motorcyclists should keep well clear when passing a parked car (in case a door unexpectedly opens), you should use mirrors and a headcheck to look for cyclists and motorcyclists before you open your door. This is made easier by always open the car door with your left hand.

A gap may not be safe if there is a motorcycle (as they accelerate faster than cars).

Watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists

139_cyclist_large_vehiclesBicycles and motorcycles are smaller, harder to see and more likely to be hidden in your blind spot than cars. Look for them, particularly before turning, changing lanes or entering an intersection. Over 1/3 of motorcycle crashes happen at intersections because turning vehicles cut across in front of riders.

Riders can be hidden by large vehicles overtaking them. Only move or turn left from behind a large vehicle when you have a clear view and are sure the road is clear.

Sharing the road with trams

Young, inexperienced drivers are involved in more tram-pedestrian crashes than more experienced drivers. Remember these rules about sharing the road with trams:

  • Do not pass a stationary tram at a stop unless there is a safety zone. Stop level with the rear of the tram, and do not pass while the doors are open.
  • Only overtake a stopped tram if no pedestrians are on the road and the doors are closed or if a uniformed tram employee signals you through (10km/h limit).
  • Give way to trams moving into or across a roundabout
  • Do not pass on the right of a tram unless the tracks are near the far left roadside
  • Buses travelling along tram tracks are treated as trams

Broken yellow lines next to tram tracks

These lines on roads give trams priority at all times.

  • You can cross a broken yellow line and drive on tram tracks at any time, but must keep out of the path of trams.
  • If you want to turn right keep going and turn right further on, or allow the tram to pass.
  • Do not pull out in front of a tram or delay a tram.

140_tram_broken_yellow_lines

Full time tram lanes

These tram lanes (shown by continuous yellow lines next to the tracks) operate at all times and the Tram Lane sign will not show any times. You are not allowed to travel in a tram lane (except for up to 50m to enter or leave the road). However, you must not delay a tram.

145_tram_lane_sign144_tram_continuous_lines

Part-time tram lanes

Part-time tram lanes have a continuous yellow line to the left of the tracks and Tram Lane signs that show hours of operation. Do not travel in a part-time lane while it is in operation (except for up to 50m to enter or leave the road). However, you must not delay a tram.

146_tram_lane_hours147_tram_part_time_continuous_lines

Tramways

Tramways are in operation at all times. Do not drive in a tramway except to avoid an obstruction. Tramways are marked by a Tramway sign and double continuous yellow lines or physical structures to separate trams from traffic. Only cross where there are breaks designed to permit vehicles to cross the tramway.

149_tramway_sign148_tram_double_continuous_lines

Common sense and tramways

If a parked or double-parked vehicle blocks your lane, you may drive in a tramway so long as you move to your own lane as soon as possible to avoid delaying a tram.

Trams are long and heavy, so it takes them longer to stop. When passing a tram or changing lanes, don’t enter the space in front of a tram as this is their ‘safety margin’.

Sharing the road with buses

150_bus_lane

Bus lanes exist on some roads. Only public buses or other vehicles (as specified) may use them. You may drive in a bus lane for up to 100m if necessary:

  • to enter or leave the road
  • to overtake a vehicle turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road

Watch out for buses pulling out from the kerb. In a built-up area you must give way to a bus displaying this sign and signalling its intention to pull out from the kerb into the left lane.

151_give_way_to_buses

Sharing the road with police and emergency vehicles

Give way (stop if necessary - despite other rules), even if you have a green light, to police or emergency, enforcement or escort vehicle when its siren or red/blue/magenta lights are on. These vehicles can break rules for emergencies and are unpredictable.

Stop if twin red lights are flashing on a road (e.g. outside a Fire or Ambulance Station).

Take care when approaching/passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights as they are attending an emergency - slow down and give them a wide berth.

Sharing the road with trucks and other heavy vehicles

Blind spots - be seen, be safe

Blind spot are larger for trucks. If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. From this ‘no stay spot’, either overtake, if safe, or pull back so you can be seen.

Don’t cut in

Trucks are long and heavy and it takes them longer to stop. When overtaking a truck or changing lanes, don’t cut into the space in front of a truck as this is their safety margin.

If you can’t see a truck’s whole front in your rear vision mirror before pulling into the lane, there may not be enough room for the truck to stop safely if needed suddenly.
Be careful and leave plenty of room when turning near a truck.

Trucks pick up and deliver goods

Your patience and courtesy may be required to let trucks entering/leaving driveways, roads or loading docks do so safely. Allow extra room for a truck to swing in or out of delivery points. If possible make eye contact to let them know you have seen them.

The nature of trucks

Trucks take more time to accelerate especially when starting, merging or going uphill. Allow for this if a truck pulls in ahead of you. Be ready to overtake or reduce speed.

Signs on trucks

An ‘Oversize’ sign (sometimes accompanied by flashing amber lights) is displayed on trucks longer or wider than usual (load may overhang into your lane). Take notice and adjust your driving to suit. Yellow flashing lights always indicate caution is necessary.

Pilot vehicles and VicRoads Transport Safety Services vehicles support some oversized trucks. Pilot vehicles provide warning of the presence of ‘Oversize’ vehicles. Staff in VicRoads vehicles manage traffic.

152_oversize

‘Long Vehicle’ signs are displayed on longer than normal trucks. They take longer to overtake, and need more room to stop safely. Before pulling in after overtaking, you need to see the front of the truck and some space around it in your rear vision mirror.

A ‘Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle’ sign indicates a truck is at least 7.5m long and requires more turning room for corners, intersections or roundabouts. These trucks may need part or all of 2 lanes to turn and can legally use them. As the sign says, you must not overtake alongside the turning truck.

153_do_not_overtake_turning_vehicle154_do_not_overtake_turning_vehicle

Reflective portable warning triangles warn drivers there is a broken down truck or fallen load ahead. Slow down and drive past carefully.

 155_button_reflectors 156_beaded_reflection
Button reflectors Beaded reflection

Blind spots are increased when a truck is turning (increasing the risk of damage to your vehicle, injury or death). To be safe, stay where you can be seen.

Sharing the road with animals

Each year serious crashes involving kangaroos, horses and other farm animals occur.

Horses

Slow down and watch out for horses being led or ridden on the road – leave as much space as possible to allow for unexpected movements by the horse. Never use your car horn around horses – it may startle even the most placid horse and could cause it to bolt resulting in a crash.

Farm animals on roads

A Give Way To Stock sign on country roads enables stock such as cows or sheep to move across or along the road. When displayed, travel at a safe speed so you can slow down or stop to avoid collision with an animal near the sign or within the distance shown.

Warning signs are also displayed before permanent stock crossings. When a Stop sign is displayed at a stock crossing, you must stop and not proceed until all animals have crossed.

158_stock_crossing_ahead157_give_way_to_stock

Railway level crossings

Look and listen for trains when there is a crossing ahead. Even if you know the train schedule, it can change without notice - so always check as you approach a railway level crossing. Drive slowly, at a speed so you can stop if necessary. If there is a Stop sign, you must stop. This info also applies to tram level crossings.

Gates, booms and flashing lights

Do not cross at railway level crossings until flashing lights have stopped flashing and the gates or booms are fully open.

159_tram_way_rail_way

Keep clear of the train tracks

If traffic is stopped on the other side of the crossing, do not enter unless there is room on the other side - as you could be stuck in the path of a train. At some crossings, painted Yellow Box Markings show the crossing area (in which you must not stop). Trains are heavy, have long stopping distances and will be unable to stop in time regardless of who or what stuck on the crossing.

Where there are no gates, booms or flashing lights

Take care in the country where some railway crossings have no gates, booms or lights (warning signs are placed well in advance). Slow down, look/listen in both directions.

Following other signs or directions

There may be other signs at railway level crossings, usually either Give Way or Stop signs. You should stop if a railway employee signals for you to do so.

160_level_crossing

Look both ways for trains

Don’t move off after stopping for a train until you are sure another train is not coming.

Parking

Observing and interpreting parking signs prevents problems for others and fines.

You must not cause a hazard to any person or vehicle by opening a door of a vehicle, leaving a door of a vehicle open, or exiting a vehicle.

Parallel parking

The image shows how to park (unless signs say otherwise). Park completely in the parking bay, in line with and close to the kerb. If parking bays are not marked:

  • leave 1m between you and the vehicles in front and behind
  • park with your vehicle facing the direction of travel
  • do not unreasonably obstruct other vehicles or pedestrians
161_parallel_parking

Angle parking

You must park at the angle indicated by signs or marked bays. Where no angle is indicated or marked, park at 45°.

 162_angle_park

Centre of road parking

You must drive in and drive out forwards. Do not reverse out of these spots, unless a sign indicates you may do so.

 163_centre_of_road_parking

Parking control signs

Parking signs

Parking signs indicate whether you can park, for how long, applicable hours, and if you have to pay. Do not remain in a park continuously, for longer than indicated by a sign.

General parking signs - arrows indicate the applicable length of road, or area parking signs may apply to the whole parking area.

A sign with only ‘P’ means parks have no time limit. A number next to ‘P’ indicates a time limit. The last two parking signs shown below are 5-minute and 1-hour limits respectively.

Parking limits apply during the periods shown. The 5-minute sign means you can park for 5 minutes between 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday. Outside these times, there are no parking restrictions.

164_general_parking_signs165_general_parking_signs166_general_parking_signs

 

Meter parking

An individual meter next to your vehicle means you pay as instructed on the sign/meter.

A group meter for the parking area means you must purchase a ticket as instructed on the sign/meter. Some group meters print a ticket to be displayed on your dash. Other group meters require a parking bay number (as marked) and electronically record your fee and time allowed. All meters are checked regularly by parking inspectors.

Look out for cyclists before you open your door or drive out of your parking space.

Parking for people with disabilities

Parking bays with this sign (or similar road marking) are reserved to allow disabled persons easy access to places. You must not park in these reserved spots without a valid disabled permit.

167_disabled_parking

No Parking signs

You may stop for 2 minutes in a ‘No Parking’ area if you remain within 3m of the vehicle and are picking up or dropping off goods or passengers. If you stop for any other reason, it is considered a park (and an offence), even if you stay in the vehicle.

168_no_parking

No Stopping signs

Tell you that you must not stop at the kerb for any reason.

Yellow edge lines

Yellow edge lines are sometimes used instead of ‘No Stopping’ signs. Do not stop next to a continuous yellow edge line.

169_no_stopping

Clearways

Clearways help traffic move faster in peak times. On the signs, the letter ‘C’ means clearway. Do not stop in clearways for any reason during the hours and days noted.

The first Clearway sign used at start of clearway

This second on the right is used within the clearway

170_clearway171_clearway_parking

Zone signs

Unless another limit is signed, a loading zone is for vehicles recorded by VicRoads as goods-carrying vehicles, signed delivery and courier vehicles, trucks while dropping or picking up goods, and public passenger vehicles or taxis dropping or picking up passengers (30 minute limit or as signed). Other vehicles must not stop in a loading zone (even if loading/unloading).  172_loading_zone
Truck Zone - only for trucks with a gross vehicle mass over 4.5t. No time limit is applied for loading/unloading goods. 173_truck_zone
Permit Zone - only for vehicles displaying a valid permit issued by the relevant authority.  175_permit_zone
Works Zone - only for vehicles engaged in construction work in/near the zone.  177_works_zone
174_bus_zone 176_taxi_zone
Only for public buses Only for taxis

If signs say it is illegal for you to be stopping/parking somewhere, having your hazard lights on while stopped/parked will not change this.

Tow away zones

Your vehicle will be towed away if you park in this zone during the specified times. You will have to pay a parking fine and a fee to reclaim your car

178_tow_away_zone179_tow_away_zone

General stopping and parking rules

You must not leave a stationary vehicle:

  • double parked
  • across a lane or private driveway
  • in a bus lane
  • near a continuous yellow edge line
  • in a slip lane (unless signs permit)
  • on a Keep Clear road marking
  • within an intersection (except on the continuous part of a T-intersection)
  • on freeways (except in an emergency stopping lane)
  • with less than 3m of road clear for traffic
  • on the wrong side of the road
  • on a footpath, nature, dividing or median strip (except motorcycles and bicycles)
  • half in/out of a No Parking or No Stopping area
  • opposite a dividing strip, continuous single line, or any combination of broken/
    continuous double lines, unless your vehicle has at least 3m clearance to the dividing line (unless otherwise signed)
  • on a curve/crest outside a built-up area unless visible for 100m from behind or signs allow
  • within 20m (unless signs allow) of:
    • both sides of:
      • a level crossing
      • an intersection with traffic lights
    • the approach side of a:
      • bus stop
      • tram stop sign
      • children’s crossing
      • non-intersection pedestrian crossing
  • within 10m (unless signs allow) of:
    • an intersection without traffic lights
    • the departure side of a bus stop sign
    • both sides of a safety zone
    • the approach side of non-intersection traffic lights
    • the departure side of a:
      • children’s crossing
      • non-intersection pedestrian crossing
  • within 3m of the departure side of a non-intersection traffic light crossing
  • within 3m of an Aust mail box
  • within 1m of a fire hydrant

Penalties

Traffic offence penalties include monetary fines, loss of learner permit or licence, demerit points, or being taken to court (serious cases can result in prison sentences).

A good driving record (avoid licence cancellation/suspension and drink/drug offences) is required to progress through the Graduated Licensing System. Not having a good driving record will extend your probationary period. Licence cancellation will mean your probationary period starts again. Licence cancellation/suspension can result from:

  • a court conviction
  • a Traffic Infringement Notice
  • accumulation of demerit points
  • action taken by the Sheriff’s Office
  • action taken by VicRoads

If a licence/permit is not held, you may be disqualified from obtaining a licence/permit for a period. Do not drive if your licence/permit is suspended/cancelled by a court, a Traffic Infringement Notice, the Sheriff’s Office or VicRoads. Driving while suspended, unlicensed or disqualified incurs severe penalties - $600 fine or 4 months imprisonment for a first offence and mandatory prison (up to 2 years) for a second offence. For a second or subsequent disqualified driving offence, your vehicle can also be impounded.

The following is a summary of the actions that may arise from a traffic offence.

Suspension

The licence or learner permit is withdrawn for a specified period during which you cannot drive. Usually, the original licence/permit is returned. However, if the suspension has resulted in a change to licence conditions, a new licence will need to be issued (Probationary drivers will have their probationary period extended).

Cancellation

A cancelled licence or learner permit is no longer valid - you cannot drive. When the cancellation period is over, you have to apply for your licence/permit to be reissued before you can start driving. Reissue of the licence/permit may require one or more of the following:

  • knowledge of road law and/or practical driving test
  • an order from a court to be relicensed
  • an education course to be completed
  • other VicRoads requirements (payment of licence fee or alcohol interlock fitting)
  • start again on a probationary licence (only for probationary licence holders)

Disqualification

Ability to apply for a licence/permit is withdrawn during cancellation or suspension.

Impoundment

Impoundment may occur for serious offences including dangerous/careless driving, street racing, failure to have proper control, burnouts, doughnuts and causing excessive noise or smoke. A vehicle may also be impounded for offences such as:

  • speeding at 45km/h or more over the limit
  • repeat offences of unlicensed, disqualified, drink/drug driving

You may have your vehicle impounded for the following periods:

  • first offence - 30 days by police
  • second offence - 30 days by police + additional 45 days to 3 months by courts
  • serious offences (70km/h+ over the limit, repeat disqualified, unlicensed, drink/
    drug driving) - 30 days by police + additional 45 days to 3 months by courts
  • third offence - 30 days by police + additional 45 days to 3 months by courts or possible vehicle forfeiture as imposed by courts

Imprisonment

A court may impose a jail term and a monetary fine.

Infringements Court

The Infringements Court administratively resolves unpaid infringement notices. These offences generally have fixed penalties and include parking and driving offences.

Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s Office enforces court orders, fines and civil debts. This may include the seizure and sale of assets, licence suspension or, as a final option, imprisonment.

Demerit points

Demerit points are penalties recorded against your licence/permit for certain traffic offences anywhere in Australia. Points range from 1-10 depending on offence severity.

Learner and probationary drivers who incur 5 or more demerit points in any 12-month period can choose between having their licence suspended for at least 3 months or a 12-month good driving bond. Any further points while on the good driving bond lead to at least a 6-month licence suspension.

If you get 12 or more demerit points in any 3-year period, you may have your licence or learner permit suspended for at least 3 months. This provides the opportunity to learn from repeat mistakes, but makes licence loss a consequence for persistent offenders.

Penalties for learner permit holders

A learner permit must be held for a continuous period just before applying for a licence. People under 21 = 12 months. People 21-25 = 6 months. People 25+ = 3 months. Therefore, permit cancellation/suspension could affect eligibility to apply for a licence.

Penalties for probationary licence holders

If your first probationary licence is suspended/cancelled during the P1 licence, it will be restricted. Limitations may be imposed on carrying passengers for the remainder of your P1 period. The probationary period (P1 or P2) will also be extended.

If your probationary licence is cancelled, your probationary licence will be reissued for a further 3 or 4-year term, depending on your age.

Penalties for full licence holders

When a full licence is cancelled, it will be reissued when all relicensing requirements are met. If a court order is required due to an alcohol/drug driving offence, a 3-year zero BAC restriction will be imposed. An alcohol ignition interlock may be a condition.

Legal responsibilities of licence and learner permit holders

You must not drive a motor vehicle that is unroadworthy or without current registration.

Carry your licence

You must carry your probationary licence, learner permit or licence/permit receipt when you drive. If under 26 you must carry your full licence at all times when driving.

Change of name

If your name has changed, notify VicRoads in person at any Customer Service Centre within 14 days. You must prove your identity and the name change must be supported by original documents. The following documents are acceptable:

  • divorce papers
  • guardianship order
  • adoption papers
  • marriage certificate (issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia)
  • deed poll (pre 1 November 1986 in Victoria)
  • change of name registration (after 1 November 1986 in Victoria)
  • birth certificate (issued after 26 June 2000 in Victoria showing the change of name details on the back. Commemorative certificates not acceptable)

Change of address

If your residential or postal address has changed, notify VicRoads within 14 days online, over the phone or in person at a VicRoads Customer Service Centre.

Notification of a medical condition or disability

You must notify VicRoads of any medical condition or disability that may affect your driving. To continue driving, you need a current medical report from your medical practitioner stating that you meet the national standards for driving fitness and condition/disability details. Standard report forms are available from VicRoads.

Replacing a lost or stolen card

Keep permit and licence cards and information secure. To prevent identity fraud, report a lost or stolen card to VicRoads immediately and apply for a replacement.

Air and noise pollution

Vehicles must meet relevant air and noise emission standards. Drivers of offending vehicles may be fined or taken to court and the owner issued with a repair notice.

Hoon driving

Police can impound/immobilise vehicles for 30 days if used for offences like excessive speeding, improper use of a vehicle, causing loss of traction or excessive noise/smoke.

Breakdown safety

Before a long journey

  • Check your fuel, oil, water and tyre pressure (including the spare).
  • Carry a high-visibility vest, safety markers and a torch in your vehicle.
  • Breakdown lanes are only for breakdown situations.
  • Use rest areas for making phone calls, toilet stops or attending to children.

Tips for staying safe in a breakdown

  1. Find a safe spot to park as far left as possible (e.g. emergency breakdown area).
  2. Activate your hazard lights (and headlights in poor light).
  3. Call roadside assist on your mobile phone or use a roadside emergency phone.
  4. Check for traffic before leaving your vehicle (from the passenger side if possible).
  5. Avoid crossing and stand clear of the road (behind a safety barrier if possible).
  6. Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on if it’s not safe to leave.

Breakdown on a freeway or country road

If you breakdown on a freeway or country road, follow this advice:

  • Do not change a tyre yourself, wait for roadside assist.
  • Stay calm and be patient, help may take longer to arrive on a country road.
  • Let roadside assist come to your vehicle and follow their instructions.

If you see a breakdown

  • Slow down to 30km/h below the signed limit.
  • Avoid crossing the road if helping someone.

Crash responsibilities

If you do not stop and give assistance when involved in a crash causing death or injury, you can be fined over $140,000, be imprisoned for up to 10 years, and lose your licence for at least 2 years. There are things you must do immediately after a crash.

What you must do after a crash

  • Stop immediately.
  • Give assistance to injured persons.
  • Provide your name, address, registration details and the vehicle owner’s name to the involved parties, or their representative, and to the police (if they attend).
  • If anyone is injured or there is property damage and the owner is not present, and the police do not attend, report the crash to the nearest open police station.

There are emergency phones on the roadside on most freeways throughout Victoria. These VicRoads ‘Help Phones’ are directly linked to the VicRoads Traffic Management Centre and can be used 24/7 for breakdowns or any kind of emergency. To call an ambulance, police or fire brigade, phone 000. To call a tow truck, phone 13 11 76.

Applying first aid after a crash

Crash victims survival can depend on somebody’s willingness/ability to give first aid.

Three actions that could save a life

  1. Keep a person’s airway open and clear
  2. Make sure they are breathing
  3. Stop heavy bleeding

Read these instructions and keep The Road to Solo Driving in your car. Someone else may use it to help you in an accident. If you are at a crash site, remain calm and act quickly to follow these 4 steps to help casualties after a crash:

1. Survey the scene

  • Is the area safe for you to approach?
  • Ask bystanders to help make the area safe.
  • Count the number of injured people.
  • Call an ambulance (dial 000) or get someone else to call.
  • Ask if anybody at the site is trained in first aid.

2. Make the crash scene safe and protect the area

  • Position your car with its hazard lights flashing (to warn other motorists) and use headlights to light up the scene if necessary.
  • Send someone down the road to warn approaching traffic, and turn off damaged vehicles.

3. Check the casualties

For conscious casualties:

  • Talk to them, tell them your name and reassure them.
  • Treat any injuries, checking for and controlling any heavy bleeding.

If the person seems to be unconscious:

  • Gently touch them on the shoulder, give a simple command (e.g. ‘squeeze my hands’) to see if they can respond.

If they do not respond:

  • Check airway
    • Open the casualty’s mouth and check for loose or obstructive objects (e.g. loose dentures, vomit, blood) and clear them from the airway.
    • If clear, open the airway by tilting the head back and check breathing.
  • Check breathing
    • Look for the rise and fall of the chest and listen for breathing.
    • Feel for the casualty’s breath on your cheek.
    • Maintain an open airway.
    • If they are not breathing, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
    • Check for signs of life (movement, breathing, colour, etc.)

For conscious, breathing casualties still in the vehicle:

  • If you are certain the vehicle and surrounds are safe, and the casualty is either conscious and/or breathing, they do not have to be unnecessarily removed until specialist help arrives, unless the following circumstances arise:
    • they stop breathing
    • their condition worsens
    • it is no longer safe for them to stay in the vehicle

If a casualty must be moved to escape danger, or to give CPR, do so carefully and gently as there is a risk of spinal injury and increased bleeding.

For unconscious, breathing casualties outside the vehicle:

  • While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, watch to make sure their airway is clear and they are still breathing.
  • If lying on the ground, it is vital to keep them on their side in a stable position with their head tilted back and face pointed down to maintain an open airway.

For casualties unconscious and NOT breathing:

Even if they are injured, you will need to remove them from the vehicle to perform CPR.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

With the casualty on their back, check the airway

  1. Tilt the head back fully to open the airway
  2. Cover the casualty’s mouth with your mouth blocking their nose with your cheek
  3. Breathe into the casualty until the chest begins to rise
  4. Remove your mouth (make sure the chest falls)
  5. Give another normal breath
  6. Check to see if they are now breathing by watching for chest rise and fall, while checking for signs of life. If the casualty is still not breathing
  7. Begin CPR and continue until Emergency Services arrive

If performing CPR on children, use minimal head tilt and small breaths. For infants, give small puffs and do NOT use head tilt.

4. Stop heavy bleeding

Heavy bleeding can be fatal and requires quick action as follows:

  • Locate where the blood is coming from.
  • Apply firm pressure where the blood is coming from, using whatever clean cloth is available (e.g. an item of clothing, to make a pad).
  • If possible, tie the pad firmly in place.
  • If possible, raise the injured area. This may reduce or help to stop the bleeding.

Always give first aid in ways that protect everyone from disease transmission.

  • Use protective barriers (e.g. disposable gloves or face mask) as appropriate.
  • When gloves are not available and you have to control bleeding, ask the casualty to help you by applying pressure, or by placing a dressing or other clean dry cloth between your hands and the wound.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible after giving first aid.
  • Avoid touching or being splashed by body fluids where possible.

Assisting victims following motorcycle crashes

Spinal injuries, multiple fractures and loss of skin are more likely for motorcyclists.

Helmets should only be removed if absolutely necessary - when the victim is not conscious, the airway is blocked or clearance is uncertain and likely compromised. This will enable resuscitation.

Wherever possible, two people should remove the helmet - one to steady the head and neck, and the other to gently remove the helmet. A single person should still carry out the procedure if no one is available to assist.

 

Continue reading the Road to Safe Driving Summary:

1. Introduction

2. The Challenges of Driving

3. Learning to Drive

4. Managing Risk

5. Rules and Responsibilities


Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Learner Permit Knowledge Test and get your learner permit (L plates):

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