Unlike 66% of the world’s population, Australians abide by left-hand traffic laws. That also means the steering wheels in vehicles are on the right-hand side, so the driver is closer to the centre of the road. Other countries that do this include New Zealand, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
If you wish to drive in Australia in a rental car, keep in mind that if you’re used to driving on the right, everything is basically mirrored. Here are our top five things to remember when setting off (on the left-hand side of the road):
Watch out for roundabouts. Just as you’ll be driving on the left, roundabouts will rotate to the left. You’ll also exit on the left. However, be mindful that you’ll need to give way to any traffic coming from your right before entering.
Turning right at an intersection will require crossing the intersection, and oftentimes where traffic lights are present, you will need to wait for the right-hand arrow to turn green. There are also intersections where right-hand turns won’t be allowed at all.
If the intersection has stop signs instead of traffic lights, you’ll need to give way to any cars on your right before moving through, as well as any cars whose path you’ll be crossing.
When coming up to a pedestrian crossing, you’ll want to check on your left, then right, to account for which curb you are closest to.
However, if you’re not in the car and you find yourself at a pedestrian crossing, make sure to look right first, then left, before crossing.
It might take a little getting used to, and if you have any questions before heading out on your journey, be sure to ask at the car rental desk. Safe (left-hand) travels!