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Using the roads

Using the roads

General road rules

drive on the left Speed limits:

  • Default speed limit in built-up areas: 50 km/h
  • Default speed limit outside of built-up areas: 100 km/h
  • Maximum road speed: 110 km/h (only on selected rural highways and freeways)

Mobile phone use:

  • It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving or when not parked
  • Pull over safely and park when you need to operate a hand-held mobile phone
  • Hands-free mobiles can be used while driving, but not by learner or P1 drivers

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits when driving:

  • Zero BAC applies for professional drivers (truck, bus or taxi), learner or probationary drivers
  • BAC limit of 0.05% applies for all other drivers
  • BAC limit of 0.05% applies to a licenced driver accompanying a learner driver

When driving in Victoria, the road rules and regulations are strictly enforced. Learn more about Victoria's road rules.

Road rules in Victoria which differ from elsewhere in Australia

While road rules are generally consistent throughout Australia's states and territories, there are a few minor differences in Victoria. They include:

  • U-turns are permitted at traffic lights unless signs advise otherwise
  • Hook turns are required when turning right at designated intersections in the Melbourne CBD and South Melbourne (their purpose is to improve traffic flow by removing turning traffic from the right-hand lane where dedicated turning lanes can't be provided due to tram lines)
  • There are specific rules in regards to sharing the roads with trams

For further details of road rules unique to Victoria including those in relation to trams on Melbourne's streets, see information for tourists about Victoria's road rules.

Traffic conditions and reports

Before setting out on your journey, check if there are any road or traffic conditions which may affect you. Get real-time estimates of expected travel times and view live traffic cameras on Melbourne's freeways and major roads.

  • View the latest state-wide real-time traffic information and events, including current and planned major roadworks, at Vic Traffic
  • Live cameras on the inner city tollway network, operated by CityLink

Mobile phone apps for Vic Traffic are available. Download the iPhone or Android version.

Break downs

The RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria) provides roadside service across Victoria to its members and also to motorists from interstate motoring club affiliates (NRMA, RACQ, RACT, RAA, RAC and AANT) who are driving in Victoria. Telephone 13 11 11 for help.

Help phones (emergency phones) are installed on urban and rural freeways throughout Victoria which connect to the VicRoads traffic control centre from where help can be organised.

If you break down on the CityLink toll road in inner Melbourne, telephone the CityLink traffic control room on 13 26 29 for assistance. The CityLink road network is monitored continuously along its entire length by cameras, so even pulling into an emergency stopping lane for a few minutes to answer your mobile phone or make a call may result in a help crew being dispatched.

If you break down on the EastLink toll road in Melbourne's eastern and southern suburbs, and you're able to safely move off the road, contact the RACV for help if you're a member. Otherwise phone the EastLink traffic control room on 13 54 65 for assistance. If your vehicle is causing a traffic hazard, report the incident immediately to the EastLink traffic control room.

Accidents

If you are involved in an accident on the road, there are some important things to be aware of.

  • If anyone has been injured, telephone 000 immediately
  • If the accident is causing a traffic hazard or it poses ongoing danger to individuals or property, telephone 000 for assistance
  • If any drivers involved appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, telephone 000
  • If damage was caused to another vehicle or someones property, and it is not possible to contact the owner, inform Victoria Police
  • If there are no injuries and the owners of any damaged vehicles or property can be notified, you do not need to notify the police, but you must exchange full details between all parties involved

Safe motoring

Alcohol affects the judgement and reaction time of drivers and is a major factor in many road accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol above the limit applicable to your licence type is a serious offence. Random breath tests are conducted by police throughout the state, day and night. If you are planning to drink, the safest option is not to drive but either make use of public transport, hire a taxi, or arrange for someone else to pick you up.

Driving while under the influence of drugs has also been found to be a contributing factor to a number of road accidents. It is illegal to drive while affected by an illicit drug, such as cannabis, ecstasy, ice or speed, as well as legal drugs which impair a person's ability to drive. Police conduct random drug tests of drivers throughout the state.

Driver fatigue is responsible for a significant number of accidents on Victoria's roads. To help combat fatigue on long trips, start a trip after a good night's sleep, drive at times you are normally awake, and take regular breaks. The only cure for fatigue is sleep, so even a 15 minute "powernap" offers safety benefits.

Try to avoid driving between dusk and dawn through rural areas populated by native wildlife. Many native animals are nocturnal, so it's during that time they are actively searching for food and may wander onto roads and cause an accident. If driving during that time, slow down, keep an eye out for animals, and if any cross in front of your vehicle, dip your headlights so as not to dazzle them. If you injure wildlife while driving, call the RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria) on 13 11 11 and they will connect you to the wildlife carer network.

Courtesy on the road

Every day, millions of vehicles use Victoria's extensive road network. Drivers have a responsibility to share the roads and consider all other road users. Courteous driver behaviour helps to improve everyone's driving experience and motorists should keep the following points in mind:

  • Drivers of large vehicles, such as trucks and vehicles towing caravans or trailers, may have restricted visibility and typically cannot accelerate or stop as quickly as cars can. Avoid cutting in front of them or performing quick maneuvers around them. Also make allowances for those vehicles when they are merging, changing lanes, entering intersections or roundabouts.
  • Look out for motorcycles and bicycles. They are less noticeable than vehicles, however they have equal rights to use the roads.
  • Use your indicators well in advance to give warning of changes to your driving direction to other motorists. Make full use of any turning lanes to enable traffic behind you to pass by as you slow down.
  • On multi-lane roads ensure you don't hinder other motorists by keeping out of the right-hand lane unless you are preparing to turn right, overtake another vehicle or all lanes are congested. Vehicles over 4½ tonnes, excluding buses and caravans, are prohibited from using the furthermost right-hand lane on several freeways in Victoria which have 3 or more lanes.
  • If you intend to drive leisurely below the speed limit on single-lane roads and there are vehicles queued behind you, consider pulling over briefly to allow them to pass.
  • If a driver gives up their right-of-way to you, a quick wave as a sign of appreciation will promote courteous behaviour on the road.

Driver licencing

Victoria has a graduated licensing system in place.

In very simple and general terms, a learner's permit can be obtained by a person who is 16 years or older, which enables them to drive when accompanied by a fully licenced driver. A P1 (red) probationary licence can be applied for once a learner reaches 18 years of age, allowing them to drive without supervision but with a number of restrictions. After one year as a P1 probationary licence holder, drivers can upgrade to a P2 (green) probationary licence which has less restrictions. P2 probationary licences last for 3 years. Progressing through each step of the graduated licensing system requires tests and/or certain conditions to be satisfied.

For full details and rules, go to Victoria's graduated licensing system web site.

Victorian Learner plate

Victorian P1 plate

Victorian P2 plate

Number plates

Number plates are required to be displayed on a registered vehicle in order for it to be driven on public roads in Victoria.

An example of the current standard issue number plates for vehicles registered in Victoria is shown on the right. The format is two groups of one number followed by two letters. The slogan is "VIC - Stay Alert Stay Alive".

Further details about number plates, including special interest and personalised versions, are available from the VicRoads number plate page.

Standard Victorian number plate

Fuel

Fuel for motor vehicles is readily available throughout much of Victoria, although if visiting remote places that are a long distance from towns, ensure you have adequate supplies.

Fuel is sold at a variety of outlets including service stations which are part of branded groups such as Ampol, APCO, BP, Caltex, Mobil, Shell and United. There are also a number of unbranded independent petrol stations. Some convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Quix, offer petrol at selected outlets. Supermarket chain Woolworths/Safeway has a group of co-branded Caltex Woolworths/Safeway petrol stations, while rival Coles has a network of Coles Express petrol stations which are supplied by Shell. Fuel discounts for customers of those supermarkets, subject to certain requirements, are offered.

Petrol stations sell a range of fuel types including some or all of the following:

  • Unleaded petrol of various octane levels - regular (91), premium (95), ultra (98)
  • E10 - regular unleaded petrol blended with 10% ethanol
  • E85 - regular unleaded petrol blended with up to 85% ethanol
  • Diesel
  • LPG - liquefied petroleum gas