Sydney by Car: Things You Should Know


The gem of New South Wales boasts one of the most vivid and intricate topographies on the Australian continent, from its vast cultural heritage and art scene spanning across endless avenues all the way down to the tiniest streets wide enough only for the most curious of travellers to peak into. While the city could be traversed on foot, by bike or using public transportation, you will undoubtedly navigate and manage its intricate size via some form of motor transportation.

Understanding how this vibrant city operates and what are the crucial elements that keep it running smoothly and efficiently will allow you to safely and quickly reach your destination while avoiding the common conditions among traffic participants around the world - stress and anxiety. Whether you are a born and bred Sydneysider or a visitor yearning to feel like a local, here are the essentials you need to master.

Rules and regulations

First and foremost, you need to understand the applicable laws and speed regulations keeping the traffic running smoothly and safely in Sydney. Unless a speed sign states otherwise, the speed limit in urban areas is set at 50 km/h, while country roads, freeways and roundabouts can have a speed limit of 100 km/h.

applicable traffic laws
Understanding applicable traffic laws and speed regulations is essential

Given the fact that Australians drive on the left side of the road, you want to stick to the left lane on any multi-lane road if you are headed straight, and only switch lanes in an attempt to turn. Remember to always give right of way to traffic incoming from your right-hand side when entering or approaching an intersection, unless a “yield” or “stop” sign states otherwise. A vehicle maintaining a straightforward trajectory will always have the right of way at a T-junction.

Finally, you want to exercise caution and adhere to the applicable laws of safety by wearing a seatbelt at all times, and equipping the rear seats with seatbelts as well in order to ensure rear seat passenger safety. The legal driving age in Sydney and the entire NSW is 16, unlike the state of Victoria where the minimum driving age is 18.

Managing emergencies

While Sydney is a city that enjoys numerous safety laws, regulations, and measures that ensure traffic efficiency, you can never be too cautious or vigilant when driving, especially if you are visiting from a country where you are used to driving on the right-hand side.

Furthermore, you need to be able to handle all emergency situations yourself such as notifying the authorities in case of a car theft, an ambulance in case of traffic collisions as well as reaching a 24-hour car key cutting service in case you lose your keys or get locked out of your vehicle. The universal number for police, ambulance and firefighter services in Sydney is triple zero - 000.

traffic emergencies
You should be well prepared for the emergencies

Finer details

Additional details adhere to more localized rules and regulations that will help you navigate the city more easily. First, be aware that there are several Toll Way roads in Sydney, and you will have to prepare adequate change to pass through the Sydney Harbour Bridge toll and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel toll.

The majority of the city is mapped in strict parking zones, so you want to pay close attention and feed the parking meter the right amount of change in order to avoid fines or towing. Expect to pay an average of $7 per hour during business hours and $3 per hour on off-business hours.

Drinking and driving is strictly regulated in Sydney, with the maximum legal driving limit being 0,05 or 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Lastly, you want to skip navigating through the city if you are headed to the outback by using its numerous roundabouts. Roundabouts travel in a clockwise direction and you want to stick to the left-hand side of the road if you are headed straight or turning left, only keeping to the right if you plan to turn that way.

Sydney is a vast and vibrant city full of excitement and sightseeing opportunities, often too numerous to be experienced solely on foot. Luckily, with these essential tips you will be able to navigate its intricate avenues and alleys safely and efficiently, like a true Sydneysider.