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The top 10 weirdest ways to get stung for vehicle use

Have you ever driven into a carpark only to find that all the parking spots are full. You pull over to the side so other cars can pass and decide to wait a minute or two, hoping that a spot will soon become available. A car pulls out a short time later and you quickly manoeuvre your vehicle in.

It sounds like a commonplace scenario, especially in busy cities where there are more cars than car spaces, but you can cop a fine for illegally parking alongside other parked vehicles, like Sydney driver Benn Hart discovered late last year. While waiting for a car spot in Cronulla, NSW, he pulled to the side to wait, but was unknowingly photographed by a council ranger and slapped with a $275 fine. When Yahoo News Australia approached Sutherland Shire Council, they said that:

“Council Officers are authorised to issue penalty notices in accordance with Revenue NSW’s guidelines, which do not recommend leniency for motorists illegally parking alongside other parked vehicles, blocking the flow of traffic, restricting the line of sight and posing a danger to other road users.”

Perhaps you knew that you could be penalised for pulling over for too long beside parked cars, but did you know that you can receive a fine for not having water in the windshield washer and a defective windscreen. In February 2022, NSW’s The Hills Police Area Command posted a reminder about this rule on their Facebook page. Predictably, the people that commented on the post were flabbergasted.

There are plenty of other rules and regulations that may surprise you. Here are 10 of the most interesting dont's.

1. Don’t beep your horn unnecessarily .

As the festive season nudges closer, popping over to see family and friends becomes more commonplace. However, if you toot your horn goodbye you could cop a fine. You can be penalised for using a horn unnecessarily across the whole of Australia. In NSW the fine is a whopping $344. In Qld the starting penalty is $66, but carries a maximum of 20 penalty points (which means a maximum fine of $2699!). And in the ACT, it’s $193 plus 1 penalty point. Don’t ever beep your horn unnecessarily in the NT… under the Traffic Regulations 2007, ‘general penalties’ carry a maximum of 6 months in prison and/or 20 penalty units, or $2,600.

2. Avoid waving your arm out of the window

Did you think that instead of tooting the horn to bid farewell to Grandpa after Sunday’s long lunch, you’ll open the window for a big wave as you drive into the sunset? Think again. All states and territories across Australia forbid motorists and passengers from placing limbs out of windows, and that includes waving. The only exception is when a driver needs to signal with their arm to turn, slow down or stop. If you’re in NSW and get caught, the fine is $349 and 3 demerit points.

3. Don’t drive too slowly

We’ve all been there — stuck behind a driver who seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. Because it’s illegal to obstruct the path of another vehicle in Australia, driving slowly can land you a fine. Police tend to be the deciders when it comes to determining just how slow obstructing another vehicle is, but the general consensus is that it has to be much, much slower than the speed limit. NSW drivers face one of the harsher fines for driving really slow at $272, while in the ACT the fine is $193.

4. Be sure to stop at an orange light

If the light is orange, you have to stop. The orange is there to help drivers who have already started to cross the intersection get to the other side, and not for those who think they can make it across. In NSW the fine is $464 and 3 points, and this increases to $581 and 4 points if it happens in a school zone.

5. Don’t cut through the petrol station

Sometimes it can be hard to avoid this one, especially when the traffic is backed up and you’ve got a clear path to where you need to get if you cut across the service station on the corner. Technically, this can be classified as driving on or over a footpath and carries a fine of $349 in NSW. Of course, if you’re stopping for fuel you will not be penalised.

6.Never throw an apple core out the window when driving

You’re on a quiet road that weaves its way through a pretty forest. Birds are chirping happily and there’s no one else about. You finish your apple and throw the core out of the car window, mindful that you’re only doing so as you figure it will decompose in the woods. The fact of the matter is that any littering is still littering, whether it’s biodegradable or not, and apple cores (and banana skins for that matter) can pose a problem to wildlife, as encouraging animals to come closer to the road is also a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of them being hit by an oncoming vehicle. In Vic, the fine is $363 for most litter, and $727 for burning litter (e.g. a cigarette). WA takes a strong stance towards littering, with a whopping fine of $500 for those who are found guilty.

7. Don’t leave your car door unlocked

Drivers in Vic, the ACT, the NT, SA and Qld can be fined for leaving their car doors unlocked. According to regulation 213 of the Road Rules 2014, it’s an offence to leave a car unlocked or with the windows down if you move 3 metres away, and in NSW it comes with an on-the-spot fine of $114. So remember to lock up, even if it’s your usual local coffee run.

8. Avoid using fog lights unless you’re driving through fog

Most cars have a number of lighting options – headlights, high beams, daytime lights, and fog lights. Unsurprisingly, it’s not unusual for people to get confused about which is which, especially if driving a rental car. However, if you’re caught driving with fog lights under normal driving conditions, you may cop a fine. Fog lights are brighter than headlights and can be a hazard by blinding approaching vehicle drivers when used incorrectly. The fine is $110 and 2 demerit points in NSW, $159 in Victoria, and $233 in SA.

9. Don’t splash mud on people waiting for a bus

This one is unique to NSW, but we wanted to include it as we’ve had some seriously muddy and wet days over this last year. According to the NSW legislation: “A driver must take due care, by slowing down or stopping the vehicle if necessary, not to splash mud on any person in or on a bus, or any person entering or leaving any stationary bus, or any person waiting at any bus stop.” The same doesn’t apply to people waiting for an Uber, but if it’s someone waiting for a bus, the fine is $191.

10. Never transport more than 50kg of potatoes in your car

This one is not technically on our list, but it was in 2021 and we had to include it for laughs. Until May 2021, it was illegal across the whole of Australia to move more than 50kg of potatoes in your car under the Marketing of Potatoes Act 1946 – sect 22a. It’s not clear cut why this crime has been in existence since 1946, but experts hypothesise it has something to do with protecting commercial activities between states.

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15 Nov