In a city like Melbourne, you need to pay special attention to the traffic and pedestrian roads, because it will keep you safe from harm. Accidents can always happen, no matter where you live, and in a city like this, it’s even more essential to make sure that you drive your car with care in order to preserve your life, the life of your passengers and the life of other pedestrians.
As the state capital of Victoria, it’s one of the most beautiful cities and it is also considered an easy city to get about. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local driving your own car or if you’ve rented one from a car rental company as a tourist because the driving rules in traffic apply to everyone. Keep in mind that some of the rules apply almost everywhere, so let’s see some traffic tips that will help you drive safely.
Keep Your Limit
There’s a limit that you have to keep in the traffic of Melbourne, and it is 50km per hour unless the signposts say otherwise. This rule is for suburban areas, while on the rest of the motorways which are outside the cities, the limit rises to 100 km per hour. In some sections of the freeway, the limit is 110km per hour, so keep your eyes on the signposts. Overstepping the limits can get your license suspended and you won’t be able to drive anymore.
The Side of the Road
Unlike other European or US countries, in Australia, you drive on the left-hand side of the road. There are a dozen countries in the world where the traffic is on the left side on the road, and it’s said that these countries register a lower percentage of car accidents. However, pay attention to this if you’re new to the area and you’re a tourist or you’ve just moved here.
License, Seatbelt and Drinking
Having your driving license with you at all times is mandatory, and so is the wearing of seat belt for you and your passengers. This is the law ever since 1962, and it’s one of the reasons why there are fewer accidents in this area. Drivers and passengers will wear the seatbelt at all times, and you’ll have to use the child safety restraints and the special chairs for toddlers. It protects them better in the case of an accident and it increases their chance of survival, the same as the seatbelt does for adults.
Everyone knows that it’s not OK to drink and drive, but the police forces in Melbourne take their jobs seriously. They make random breath testing checks for alcohol, and the level should be below 0.05, and they also can test the blood. Even if you can have a drink, meaning a light alcohol cocktail, it’s better to avoid it in order to avoid being prosecuted. You never know when you reach past the admissible limit and the police can fine you and suspend your driving license. It’s not worth drinking and driving, not just for the sake of keeping your license, but also for your safety and the safety of other traffic participants.
Another message that you have to pay attention to is the “give way” sign that are displayed on the buses – the buses have priority when they signal that they leave the stop. It’s not like in other countries, and here you have to respect the signs, otherwise, the police can fine you.
Other Big Participants in Traffic
If you didn’t know, we’ll tell you – Melbourne has the biggest number of Trams of any city in Australia, and it’s something that you really can’t avoid. As the rules are made for both of you, the trams use the roads along with cars, and they always have the right of way. You can’t stop near the tram when the tram reaches the stop – you always need to stop behind the tram – this procedure will protect the pedestrians when crossing the street to the stop or the other way around. It helps avoid car accidents and other unwanted events.
The Hook Turn
The Hook Turn is located in the Central Business District in Melbourne and it’s actually a rule for turning right. This was set to allow Trams a clear passage past intersections and you’ll see it as an overhead sign at different intersections to indicate the hook turn. To understand better, imagine this: you want to travel forward (on the left lane, of course), so you wait on the far left part of the road. When the light turns orange and the right part is clear of oncoming traffic, you can take a wide turn to the right. It’s actually easy and if you’ve never done it, just follow the traffic as a pedestrian first and see how it’s done.
Note: The easiest place to get a driver license in Melbourne is taking a test at Vicroads at Sunshine.