Cars & Driving in Australia

1 January 2013
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The Basics

In Australia, we drive on the left side of the road, so cars are right-hand drive - in fact, you need a special licence for a left-hand drive car.

Roads

Around metropolitan areas, all roads are fully constructed (bitumen, drainage etc), usually well maintained, with good markings and signs. In country areas most major roads are sealed, but as you go further from the major towns, you can expect to see some partly-sealed (ie. you have to go partly off the bitumen to pass) or unsealed roads.

Speed Limits

The maximum legal speed limit anywhere in Western Australia is 110 kph (69 mph).
Typical speed limits are as follows:
  • 40 kph (25 mph), eg. on roads adjacent to schools during school start and end times.
  • 50 kmh (31 mph) on suburban side streets.
  • 60 kmh (37.5 mph) in some suburban streets with a "median strip" ("central reservation").
  • 70 kmh (44 mph) on main roads with dual carriageway through/between suburbs.
  • 80 kmh (50 mph) on major dual carriageway roads.
  • 100 kmh (62 mph) on Freeways (ie. motorways) in the metro area.
  • 110 kmh (69 mph) on many country roads.

Licensing & Registration

All drivers must have a valid licence and all vehicles (including caravans and trailers) have their own registration number and must also be licensed.

Car Ownership

There are around 12.5 million passenger vehicles in Australia¹, about 1 car for every 1.5 people of driving age.

Age of Cars

The average age of cars on Australian roads is 10.0 years old¹ By comparison, the average UK car is 7.25 years old².

Manual or Automatic

Our research of used car sales across Australia³ shows that 68% are automatic or semi-automatic and just 32% are manuals. Learner drivers can opt for a license that allows them to drive automatics only.

Roadworthiness

In Australia, there is no equivalent of the UK's MOT certificate. You do not have to prove the roadworthiness of your vehicle each year. However, if the police notice a vehicle they think may be unroadworthy, they can issue the owner with a "yellow sticker" (defect notice), which requires the owner to get the vehicle examined.

 

¹ Australian Bureau of Statistics - 9309.0 - Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 2011
² The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd - Motor Industry Facts 2012
³ Used Car Search on www.drive.com.au

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