More Road Rules and Penalties

Seatbelts, Emergency and Breakdown Vehicles, Merging, Following Distances, Crossing Continuous Lines, Keeping Left, Headlights, U-Turns, Pilot Vehicles and Roundabouts

See below for information about Road Rules and Penalties not listed on our main Road Rules and Penalties page.

Seatbelts

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Drivers must ensure that passengers travelling in their vehicle are appropriately restrained.

Despite seatbelts being compulsory in WA since 1971, 408 people killed or seriously injured in road crashes between 2016 and 2020 were not wearing seatbelts.

Wearing a seatbelt is one of easiest ways to protect drivers and passengers in a vehicle.

  • Always ensure your seatbelt is properly adjusted and securely fastened.
  • The sash should be placed over the middle of the shoulder and diagonally across the chest.
  • The lap belt should sit snugly over the hips.
  • Never share a seatbelt with a child on your lap.

Children aged up to at least seven years must be restrained in an appropriate child car restraint.

Avoid old or worn restraints, that are more than 10 years old or have previously been in a crash and ensure your child car restraint has been correctly installed in your vehicle.

For more, see our Seatbelts In-Depth Information Sheet (PDF 561kb) or Seatbelts FAQ (573kb).

For information on the appropriate child car restraint for your child, where to access Type 1 and Type 2 Child Car Restraint Fitters around the state and children in on-demand transport, visit the page for Parents and Carers.


Offences and Penalties

Drivers must ensure that passengers travelling in their vehicle are appropriately restrained. Please note: an inappropriately restrained passenger (for example, a young child wearing a seatbelt instead of child car restraint) is considered an unrestrained passenger in the table below.

Offence Penalty Demerits
Unrestrained Driver $550 4
Unrestrained Driver with 1 unrestrained passenger   $600  4
Unrestrained Driver with 2 unrestrained passengers $700 4
Unrestrained Driver with 3 unrestrained passengers $800 4
Unrestrained Driver with 4 or more unrestrained passengers $900 4
Restrained Driver with 1 unrestrained passenger $550 4
Restrained Driver with 2 unrestrained passengers $600 4
Restrained Driver with 3 unrestrained passengers $700 4
Restrained Driver with 4 or more unrestrained passengers $800 4

Passenger Offences

Offence Penalty
Passenger over the age 16 either not seated or without seatbelt fastened $550

Emergency and breakdown vehicles

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Slow Down and Move Over for all emergency service vehicles and first response personnel.

Slow Down, Move Over (SLOMO)

Let's look after those who look after us - see flashing lights on a stationary vehicle, slow down, move over

The Slow Down, Move Over or SLOMO law applies to all emergency service vehicles and first response personnel who need to attend to roadside incidents in Western Australia.

The SLOMO law requires drivers to slow down to 40 km/h when approaching specific stationary emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights while attending an incident.

Drivers in ALL lanes travelling in the same direction as the lane where the emergency or incident response vehicles with flashing lights are stopped are required to safely slow down and travel at no more than 40km/h when passing. (Vehicles travelling in oncoming traffic from the other direction are not required to slow down, unless the incident has occurred in the middle of the road or on a median strip.) 

The intent of the law is to provide a safer environment for workers who respond to road incidents.

SLOMO applies to WA Police Force, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and St John Ambulance vehicles, as well as tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles, which assist with the removal of broken down vehicles and debris.

Offence Penalty Demerits
Failure to slow down and move over $300 3

 

Failure to give way

On Western Australian roads you must clear the way to allow every emergency vehicle using blue or red flashing lights and/or sounding an alarm to easily pass.

When an emergency vehicle is approaching:

  • Stay calm and check to see where it is.
  • Give way to it by moving as far to the left of the road as possible.
  • If you can’t move left, slow down, indicate left and let the emergency vehicle drive around you.
  • Use your indicator to signal your intentions to the driver of the emergency vehicle.
  • If you are in the left lane, allow other vehicles from an adjacent lane to move into your lane if they need to.
  • DO NOT break the law – such as drive through a red light or speed.
Offence Penalty Demerits
Failure to give way to an emergency vehicle  $400 4

Merging and Changing Lanes

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Where two lanes merge into one (i.e. lane lines end) the vehicle in front has the right of way.

If there are dual lanes, and the lane you are in ends, give way to the vehicles in the lane you are moving into.

Remember:

  • Always use your indicator to signal your intentions to other drivers when merging;
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you and take turns to merge if there are long lines of merging traffic;
  • You need to match the legal speed of the road you are merging into.
Offence Penalty Demerits
Failing to give way when merging $100 2
Failing to give way when changing lanes $100 3

 

 

Following Distances

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A safe following distance depends on your speed, the weather, road conditions and the type of vehicle you are driving.

In good conditions, you should drive at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.

To determine the two seconds:

  • Watch the vehicle in front as it passes a landmark, such as a tree, sign, power pole or overpass.
  • As it passes the landmark, start counting ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two’ (this takes about two seconds).
  • If you pass the landmark before you finish counting to two seconds, you’re too close.

It is important to increase your following distance if the weather or road conditions are poor, driving a heavy vehicle or towing a trailer.

If the vehicle in front of you is a truck or road train, be aware that it will take longer to slow down than a light vehicle.

Turning your headlight onto high beam is not permitted if you’re driving less than 200m behind a vehicle, and if an oncoming vehicle is less than 200m away.

Offence Penalty Demerits
Failing to follow a vehicle at a safe distance $200 2

 

Pilot vehicles

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Pilot vehicles provide a warning to motorists that there is an oversize vehicle on the road.

An oversize vehicle requires a greater distance to stop than a standard car and requires more room on the road when travelling and making turns.

To keep our roads safe pilots’ direct motorists verbally or by hand signals. Pilot vehicles display a bright yellow "oversize load ahead" sign and either one or two amber flashing lights on the roof of their car.

When you see a pilot vehicle, remember to:

  • slow down;
  • move over or off the road;
  • follow the pilot vehicle driver's directions; and
  • be patient.
Offence Penalty Demerits
Failure to follow a pilot vehicle driver’s direction  $100 3

Please visit the Main Roads WA website for more information on heavy vehicle pilot vehicles.

Crossing Continuous Lines

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It's usually dangerous to cross a continuous line marked on the road. You can only do so under certain circumstances to avoid a penalty.

There are three types of single continuous lines:

  • Edge lines are used to mark the edge of the road. You can only cross over an edge line when entering or leaving the road, passing a vehicle on the left, turning right, making a U-turn, or stopping.
  • Lane lines are used to define multiple lanes travelling in the same direction. If the lane line is continuous, do not cross the line to change lanes.
  • Centre dividing lines are used to separate lanes travelling in different directions. If the centre dividing lines are continuous, do not cross that line unless you are turning right, making a U-turn or need to avoid an obstruction and have a clear view of any approaching traffic. The same applies if there is a continuous line on the left of a broken or dotted centre line. 
Offence Penalty Demerits
Crossing the edge line of a road. $100  
Crossing a continuous lane line when changing lanes. $100 2
Crossing a continuous centre line. $150 3

 

 

Keeping Left

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On single lane roads, you must drive as far to the left as practicable (except motorcyclists).

On multi-lane roads if the speed limit is 90km/h or more you must drive in the left lane. This same rule applies to any road where there is a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign.

On these roads you can only drive in the right hand lane where:

  • you’re turning right or making a U-turn;
  • you’re overtaking;
  • the left lane is a special purpose lane, e.g. bus lane, bicycle lane;
  • the left lane is a turning lane and you are going straight ahead;
  • you’re avoiding an obstruction; or
  • the other lanes are congested with traffic.
Offence Penalty Demerits
Failing to keep left in a multi-lane road. $50 2

 

 

Headlights and Fog Lights

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High beam lights are not permitted if you’re driving less than 200m behind a vehicle.

Daytime running lights

Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are headlights that are illuminated during the day to make vehicles more visible.

DRLs have been shown to improve vehicle visibility and estimation of distance resulting in reduced crash rates.


High Beam Lights

High beam lights are not permitted:

  • if you’re driving less than 200m behind a vehicle.
  • if an oncoming vehicle is less than 200m or has its headlights dipped.

    Fog Lights

    Fog lights can be used in foggy conditions, dust storms or heavy rain. But do not drive with both headlights and fog lights at the same time. In foggy conditions:

    • drive slowly;
    • turn on windshield wipers;
    • don’t use high beam headlights.

    Driving a motor vehicle with both headlights and fog lights operating is an offence.

    A person should not drive a motor vehicle displaying light from a front fog light or lights, if any other light greater than 7 watts and capable of showing white light to the front, is alight.

    Fog lights should only be used with side or parking lights in adverse weather conditions.


    Offences and Penalties

    Offence Penalty Demerits
    Inappropriate use of headlights / high beams / fog lights $100 1

     

    U-turns

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    When you can and cannot make a U-turn.

    When making a U-turn, you must:

    • ensure it can be done safely;
    • use your indicator to signal your intentions to other drivers; and
    • give way to all other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road you are turning into.

    You MUST NOT make a U-turn:

    • when you do not have a clear view of approaching traffic;
    • it interferes with other traffic;
    • at traffic lights unless there is a ‘U-turn permitted’ sign;
    • where there is a ‘no U-turn’ sign;
    • on freeways, including on and off ramps.
    Offence Penalty Demerits
    Making a U-turn where not permitted. $100 2
    Failing to give way when making a U-turn. $100 3

     

     

    Roundabouts

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    When entering a roundabout, always give way to any vehicles already in the roundabout. Obey the directional arrows on the road.

    Turning Left

    • On approach, indicate left from the left lane.
    • Stay in the left lane.
    • Exit the roundabout from this lane.

    Driving Straight Ahead

    • You do not need to indicate on approach.
    • Enter in either the left or right lane.
    • Stay in and exit from the same lane.
    • If practicable, indicate left when you’ve passed the last exit before the one you intend to use.

    Turning Right or Making a Full Turn

    • On approach, indicate right from the right lane.
    • Stay in the right lane and exit the roundabout from this lane.
    • If practicable, indicate left when you’ve passed the last exit before the one you intend to use.

    Offences and Penalties

    Offence Penalty Demerits
    Failing to give way at a roundabout $150 3
    All other offences for not using a roundabout correctly $100 2

     

     

    Page reviewed 9 September 2021