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Common Cairns Driving Myths, Busted

| Tim Dobinson

Admit it or not, we all bend the rules sometimes when behind the wheel, especially when we are under the time pressures of our modern lives - there are many myths about what we should and shouldn't do when driving and unfortunately in a legal sense, the answer is not always straightforward.

Let's take a look at some of the most common questions asked about what is legal or illegal on the road:

1.   Is it illegal to eat behind the wheel?

We understand - you sleep through the alarm and grab breakfast on the way to work. But is it against the law to eat while driving? Eating behind the wheel isn't technically illegal, but you can still get pulled over as it is a distraction that could potentially cause an accident and is not to be recommended.

2.   Can I wear headphones when I'm driving?

Similar to eating behind the wheel, wearing headphones isn't actually illegal, but if you have an accident, there may still be legal implications. It's best to stay safe and listen to the radio, playlists or podcasts on the car stereo, to avoid any potential distractions and subsequent accidents.

3.   Is it ok to have the inside light on in the car at night while driving?

Sometimes we need a bit of light in the car while driving at night for one reason or another. Contrary to what our parents told us, it is not illegal to do this. But an interior vehicle light does cause reflections and can interfere with concentration while night driving, not only for you but for others on the road. It is safest to only use the interior light if totally necessary and keep it to the shortest time possible.

4.   Is it illegal to drive 'too slow'?

Everyone knows about the dangers of driving too fast, we are all aware of speeding cameras and constant reminders of the dangers of excessive speed. But is it actually harmful to drive too slow?

On Queensland Roads, by law, you must not drive so slowly that you are causing an obstruction to other drivers. An example of this could be driving in an 80 km per hour speed limit zone at 20 km per hour. This will undoubtedly cause other drivers to slow down considerably and cause a blockage, not to mention frustration and potential road rage incidents.

5.   Is it Ok for my dog to be in the back seat, unrestrained?

No matter how well trained your pet is, there are regulations stipulating that pets must be in an appropriate part of the vehicle, where they cannot be injured or cause a distraction to the driver. Severe penalties can apply, including possible fines from the RSPCA or even imprisonment. 

6.   Does footwear matter when driving? Can I wear high heels or drive barefoot?

It is not against the law to drive in high heels or with no shoes at all. However, wearing inappropriate footwear (such as thongs), or none at all, has caused serious accidents and can restrict the driver's full control of the vehicle at all times. It is always advisable to wear suitable shoes when driving, to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

7.   Is it OK to park an unregistered car on the street?

Even if the car isn't actually going anywhere or being used, the Transport Operations Act states that it is illegal in Queensland not only to drive an unregistered vehicle but also to own one that is driven or parked on the road. It is also illegal to allow an unregistered car to be parked on the street.

There is a fine of up to nearly $400 for driving an unregistered vehicle, depending on the car.

If you have been in an accident and need some advice about making a compensation claim, you can contact Cairns Injury Lawyers on 07 4052 0700 for a free claim assessment. We can guide you through the process of making a compensation claim.

Cairns Injury Lawyers is part of Preston Law, a locally owned and operated firm.

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