Driving in Australia can, at times, be a challenging experience depending on the weather conditions, the type of road surfaces you are driving on, and the type of vehicle that you are driving. By following these simple tips and tricks in this guide, you will be able to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable driving experience each and every time.

 

With much of the urban population being located on the coast, these areas are the ones that are most likely to be highly congested but with better quality road surfaces. The farther Inland that you head, the less congestion you will experience, however, the roads here may not be in the best condition.

 

This guide is mainly going to focus on urban and suburban driving, so if you are ready to start learning more about how to drive safely in Australia, then let’s begin with driving in some of the most common weather conditions.

 

Typical Weather Conditions Found in Australia

 

Depending on where in the Australia you are, the weather conditions can be drastically different. This section is going to take a look at the various types of weather conditions that you may be confronted with whilst driving in Australia, covering all four corners of the country.

 

Weather in the North of Australia

 

Northern Australia has a tropical climate that has two different seasons, which are wet and dry. The wet season begins in November and lasts until April and is when the majority of monsoon rains arrive in the country. Obviously, during the monsoon rains, there is an increased risk of flash floods and erosion of the roads, which can make driving risky. The increased rainfall and humidity levels also lead to the lush growth of foliage, which can restrict your visual field whilst driving. The dry season begins in May and lasts until October and proves to be the safest time to drive in this part of Australia.

 

Weather in the East of Australia

 

Eastern Australia has two distinct seasons with an intermediary season in between both. From December to February there is an increase in rainfall and tropical storms, with the humidity level rising rapidly. Beginning in June and running through till August the temperatures tend to be much cooler with rainy days. During October and April, the weather tends to be much more stable with clear skies and a decrease in rainfall, which makes driving conditions much safer.

 

Weather in the West of Australia

 

Western Australia is the second largest state in the world and covers a land mass of almost half the size of Europe. Toward the Northwest, the weather typically follows the Northern Australia weather patterns, while down in the southern part of the country, it has a distinctively Mediterranean feel with warm summers and mild winters.

 

Using the Highways During Holiday Seasons

 

During the peak holiday seasons, the roads in Australia can become extremely congested and at times, dangerous. With people commuting from one side of the country to the other to spend time with their families or loved ones, journeys can become long and tiring. This section is going to give you some fantastic tips on how to be better prepared when using the highway during busy holiday seasons in Australia.

 

  1.   While it may be tempting to go over the speed limit on the highway to reach your destination faster, you should avoid doing so at all costs. Not only would you be breaking the law, but you would also be increasing the likelihood of experiencing a fatal accident while driving at excessive speeds.
  2.   You should also try to drive at a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. All too often, animals can run out onto the highway and cause vehicles to slam the brakes on, which could end up resulting in you rear-ending the vehicle in front. If you have a vehicle driving too closely behind you, slow down slightly and allow them to overtake.
  3.   It is always a fantastic idea to have at least a basic first aid kit in your car. While the roads in Australia tend to be fairly safe, accidents do occur and having basic first aid supplies on hand can make all the difference between life and death.
  4.   If you find yourself feeling tired or lethargic whilst driving on the highway, you should pull over into one of the designated rest areas, which you can find approximately every 100 km. Driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol, so if you feel sleepy, pull over and take a break.
  5.   Avoid snaking in and out of the traffic lanes while driving on the highway. This practice not only increases the likelihood of experiencing an accident, but also places the lives of other road users at risk. Also, ensure that the driver and passengers are all wearing their safety belts at all times.

 

Driving in Cities and the Suburbs

 

Depending on the population of the city or suburb, driving in these areas can be time-consuming and filled with risk. To help you make the most out of your driving in these areas, we have split the two zones into two separate categories that will highlight some of the do’s and don’ts in these areas.

 

City Driving

 

As is true with just about every major city around the world, the major cities of Australia can be congested. Therefore, you should try to avoid driving in the central business district in whatever city you are in. If you must drive in the city, try to avoid driving during peak rush hours.

In larger cities, such as Melbourne, you should be aware of the tram system and other modes of public transport that could potentially leave you trapped in a one-way street. A general rule of thumb to remember is that the bigger a city is, the more road and pedestrian traffic there is likely to be. Always stick to the speed limits and observe your surroundings with due caution.

 

Suburbs and Residential Areas

 

While the suburbs definitely have a lot less traffic than in major cities, this does not mean to say that there are not things to be aware of. Suburban areas have large populations, mostly consisting of families. Small children and animals can appear from nowhere behind parked vehicles and many cars drive above the speed limit in the zones.

Always pay attention to your surroundings and ensure that you stick to the maximum speed for any given area. You should also pay attention to residential properties where vehicles may be exiting onto the main road and at traffic junctions.

 

Things to be Aware of When Driving in Australia

 

As is true in every country around the world, there are certain things that you should be aware of while driving in Australia, and some of these are more country-specific than others. In this section, we’re going to run through some of the main things that you should be aware of while driving in Australia.

 

1.    Wild Animals

 

Australia has rich and diverse wildlife, which at times finds itself in the path of oncoming traffic. Make sure that you are always driving at a safe speed so that if an animal happens to appear in front of you, you can reduce your speed and stop safely. While it may be a normal reaction to swerve to avoid any animals on the road, you should do so carefully. If you are driving at a safe speed, then swerving should not be required and you should be able to stop safely.

 

2.    Dust and Sandstorms

 

While the weather can affect drivers around the world, Australia can experience intense and severe dust and sandstorms that can drastically reduce visibility and make driving dangerous. If you notice an approaching dust or sandstorm in the distance, you will need to turn on your fog lights while driving in it. However, it is recommended to find a safe area to pull over and wait for the storm to pass before continuing with your journey.

 

3.    Bushfires

 

With the intense heat that Australia experiences on a yearly basis, bushfires can become a common occurrence and can make driving difficult. Before undertaking any journey, check the news channels on the internet to plan your route and be aware of any impending fires along the way. If you do encounter a Bushfire that is close to the road, you should turn around and find an alternative route. Bushfires not only produce a thick smoke that can make breathing difficult but can also lead to the road surface melting and causing problems with the tires and traction.

 

4.    Follow the Laws of the Land

 

While many road signs are advisory, it is always a good idea to make sure that you fully understand the local laws of Australia. While it may be tempting to drive faster than allowed or not stop at stop signs in quiet areas, these laws are put in place to protect everyone on the roads. By following the designated speed limits, safe driving distances, and road signs you are not only making your time on the road safer for you, but also safer for everybody else too.

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