The bizarre Australian road rules that drivers are most likely breaking

·News Reporter

When it comes to quirky road rules, Australia most certainly has the category covered.

From travelling with potatoes, splashing pedestrians with mud and going heavy on the horn, Aussies are subject to a host of bizarre rules that some may never have even known about.

Breaking them isn’t cheap either, with drivers facing thousands of dollars in fines if they get caught.

No unnecessary horn honking

There are just two ways a car’s horn can be legally used, and neither is to prompt a driver to move forward at traffic lights or express frustration at a motorist’s unruly driving.

Drivers can only use their horn to warn other road users of the approach or position of their vehicle, or as part of an anti-theft device or an alcohol interlock device fitted to the vehicle, The National Transport Commission states.

Going to heavy on your horn while driving could end with a hefty fine. A stock image of a man honking horn.
Horns should not be used by cranky drivers in road rage feuds. Source: File/Getty Images

Illegal use of a horn in NSW carries a maximum fine of $337, while Queensland drivers can be slapped with 20 penalty units, which is an equivalent of a $2611 fine.

Victorians can face a $161.19 fine, Tasmanians using their horn inappropriately could be stung $122.25 and the maximum fine in South Australia is $298.

Honking illegally in Western Australia carries a fine of $50 and in the ACT the maximum fine is 20 penalty units, which is equal to $3000.

Do not transport more than 50kg of potatoes

In Western Australia, drivers caught carrying more than 50kg of potatoes in their vehicle could face hefty fines if they can not prove they are a member of the Potato Corporation.

The offence carries a penalty of $2000 in the first instance, which becomes $5000 if a driver is caught breaking the law for a second time.

The unusual rule was introduced during the Great Depression and post-war era as part of the government’s crackdown on food regulation.

“A person, other than the corporation or an agent authorised to act on behalf of the corporation, shall not purchase or take delivery of ware potatoes,” the act states.

Australian drivers can be penalised for leaving their car window open too much. Pictured is a parked car with the window partially down as a dog peers out.
Drivers can be slapped with heavy penalties for leaving their window open too much when they park their car. Source: Getty Images, file

Window gaps must be five centimetres

Not only is it an offence to be further than three metres from your car and leave it unlocked, drivers can also cop a fine if they crack their windows open with a gap bigger than five centimetres.

This law is applicable in both Queensland and Victoria, and can cost drivers $40 and $117 respectively if they’re caught out.

The ignition key must also be removed if there is no one aged 16 or older in the vehicle, and the parking brake should always be applied.

In NSW, drivers who leave a bigger window gap than 2cm can be fined $108.

While there’s no specific penalties or rules for other states and territories, authorities warn drivers to avoid leaving their windows down to dissuade thieves from gaining access to their vehicles.

Don’t splash bus passengers with mud

Within NSW it is an offence to splash mud on any person in or on a bus, people getting on or off, and anyone waiting at a bus stop.

“A driver must take due care, by slowing down or stopping the driver’s vehicle if necessary,” the law states.

The maximum penalty for getting bus passengers muddy is 20 penalty units, which is equivalent to $2200.

A man being splashed with mud by a passing car – an offence if you're in NSW and also splashing someone at a bus stop.
Drivers can cop a hefty fine for splashing bus passengers with mud by driving through puddles. Source: Getty Images, file

Keep your limbs inside the car

Drivers and passengers who enjoy the cool sensation of the wind in their hair or feeling the breeze between the gaps of their fingers during a car journey could be penalised for their behaviour in NSW.

The law states everyone in or on a motor vehicle must keep their body parts inside the vehicle at all times – that includes waving and resting an elbow on the window ledge.

“The driver of a motor vehicle (except a bus) must not drive with a passenger if any part of the passenger’s body is outside a window or door of the vehicle,” NSW Road Rule 268 says.

A hand gesture to signal a change of direction to the right, or to acknowledge a sudden slow down or stop, is the only time a body part is legally allowed outside a vehicle while travelling in NSW.

Anyone caught misbehaving could be faced with a maximum fine of $2200, or the equivalent of 20 penalty points.

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