NEW statistics have revealed that hundreds of Australians are copping hefty fines for obscure road rules which you might never have heard of.
Some of the seemingly innocuous offences drivers have been stung for in the past year include hanging an arm or leg outside of a vehicle window or sitting your pet on your lap.
The RACQ data shows that 400 motorists, in Queensland alone, copped fines for having part of their person's body outside a window or door - an offence which you can be fined up to $126 for committing.
Additionally, 170 drivers had been fined for having an animal on their lap - an offence which can earn you a fine of up to $294 - and 113 pedestrians had obstructed a vehicle during a 12-month period in the Sunshine State.
Cyclists were also stung by lesser-known rules as 66 riders were issued an infringement notice for riding a bike without a bell in the same period and 52 drivers received a fine for improperly honking their horn.
"Obviously, there are many motorists copping fines for breaking rules they may not be aware of," said RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie.
"These road rules may seem insignificant to some but they're in place to keep all road users safe."
NSW's Centre For Road Safety told news.com.au that there is a number of obscure road rules which drivers in the state should be aware of. The rules state:
- You must take due care, by slowing down or stopping the driver's vehicle if necessary, not to splash mud on any person entering or leaving or waiting at a bus stop.
- Drivers must have proper control of the vehicle - which means you cannot drive with a person or animal on your lap.
- Motorists must not stop within one metre of a fire hydrant, fire hydrant indicator, or fire plug indicator.
- Drivers must not interfere with or interrupt the free passage of a funeral or authorised procession.
- Children aged from four years old but under seven years old must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in an approved child restraint or booster seat.
- Passengers and motorists must not travel in or on a motor vehicle with any part of the person's body outside a window or door of the vehicle, unless the person is the driver of the vehicle and is giving a hand signal.
- Drivers must not use a horn unless it is necessary to warn other road users of the approach or position of the vehicle, or the horn is being used as part of an antitheft device, or an alcohol interlock device fitted to the vehicle.
- Motorists, passengers and cyclists must not lead an animal, including by tethering the animal to the motor vehicle.
In Victoria, you can even be slapped with a $476 fine for forgetting to lock your car while you pop into a service station to pay for fuel.
The rules state that you must secure the windows or locking the doors of an unattended vehicle when you are more than 3m away.
If drivers leave their keys in the ignition, is more than 3m away from the vehicle and there is no one else sitting in it, they can also be fined $476.
The state also punishes drivers for flashing their lights to warn vehicles of a speed camera or police vehicle watching for speeders.
Flashing your high beams may dazzle other road users with the maximum penalty being $317.
Bernard Carlon, Executive Director of NSW Centre For Road Safety told news.com.au that it's often the most simple rules people find confusing.
"We know that human error is a large factor in crashes so it's important all road users know and understand the rules, obey the signs and remain vigilant when on the road," he said.
Ms Ritchie, said some drivers thought seemingly innocent actions such as honking their horn to say hello and goodbye, but they ended up copping fines.
"While it might seem friendly to beep your horn to say hello or goodbye, you legally can only use your horn to 'warn' others," she said.
Ms Ritchie said while it should be obvious a cyclist should not carry others on a bicycle, six people were caught out in Queensland in one year.
"Ignorance of road rules isn't a valid excuse so we urge everyone to refresh their knowledge, whether they're a cyclist, a pedestrian, a driver or a passenger."
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