Driving A Car In Australia Explained: International Students Guide

International students want to know what they must be careful about when driving and purchasing a car in Australia.


Students who study in remote locations in Australia can choose to get a car so that it's easy for them to get around.

Having a car allows exploring beautiful places in the country. While buying your car is not mandatory, it can be an option.


This blog will help you learn about driver's licences, insurance and car maintenance in Australia.



1. Driver Licences 


Only people with a valid driver's licence can drive in Australia, and you must always have your driver's licence with you when moving. 


International students are temporary residents in Australia, which means their home country's driver's licence needs the approval of the transport authority in Australia. 


You'll have to get a certified translation If your driver's licence is not in English, or get, an international driving permit from your home country.


You can also apply for a driver's licence in Australia if you don't have one. Further, you must check with your territory or state's motor registry and conduct some tests. Even if you gain permanent residency in Australia, you must apply for an Australian driver's licence.


An Australian driver's licence for international students has several other benefits. It will act as your primary identification document wherever you go in Australia. It can also help employment as some jobs require a driver's licence. 


All in all, it gives you the freedom to go anywhere, anytime.



2. Driving In Australia


Driving is a little tricky for international students in Australia as they need to know the basic road rules of the country.


Here are some road rules that you should follow to avoid penalties and accidents in Australia:


  • Drive on the left-hand side of the road.

  • Always carry your driving licence.

  • The driver, including the passengers, needs to wear safety belts in the car.

  • Littering and throwing anything out of your vehicle is strictly prohibited.

  • Be cautious of speed limits, and make sure to follow them.

  • Never use a mobile phone while driving.

  • Kids younger than seven years must be seated in their car seats.

  • Last but not least, don't drink and drive.


To drive in Australia, you need to abide by these rules. If caught violating any of the rules, you can expect to be fined heavily and, in some cases, even face criminal charges. Australia has very high fines, so you must obey these rules.  


Consider other things while driving in Australia. The Central Business Districts (CBDs) face heavy traffic and are typically congested, so avoid driving in such areas. 


There are tollways in cities like SydneyBrisbane and Melbourne. You can pay tolls using an e-Tag when driving in your car. (electronic toll collection system).



3. Purchasing A Car


Buying, running and maintaining a car in Australia can be expensive for international students. Owning a car in cities like Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne is unnecessary as you can access public transport in Australia, making it easy to travel around. 


Purchasing a car in Australia also means you have to look after other things like registration, servicing, insurance, repairs and petrol, which all come at a cost.


According to research conducted by RACV in 2020, the average cost to own, run and maintain a car in Australia is around AUD $10,894 per year and AUD$209.50 per week.



4. Insurances


You must get car insurance to cover the costs due to road accidents that may damage your and other parties' car or cause any injury.


Here are a few types of car insurance that you can take in Australia:


  • Compulsory third-party insurance

  • Comprehensive insurance

  • Third-party property, theft and fire insurance

  • Third-party property insurance


Most states in Australia include compulsory third-party insurance in your registration fees. Third-party property insurance and comprehensive insurance are optional in Australia. 


Now let's see what all these insurances cover and do not cover:


Tpes Of Insurances Covers Not Covers

Compulsory Third Party

  • Injuries or deaths in an accident
  • Damage to your car
  • Damage to other party’s car
  • Damage or loss by theft


  • Damage to your car
  • Damage to other party’s car
  • Damage or loss by theft
  • Injuries or deaths in an accident

Third party property, theft and fire insurance

  • Damage to your car
  • Damage to other party’s car
  • Damage or loss by theft
  • Injuries or deaths in an accident

Third party property insurance

  • Damage to other party’s car
  • Damage to your car
  • Damage or loss by theft
  • Injuries or deaths in an accident


You can choose from a variety of insurance companies in Australia. You should thoroughly research your options to get the highest level of coverage at a low cost.



5. State Authorities For Driver Licensing


Each territory and state in Australia has its own set of regulations related to licensing. To find the details of the motor authority in a particular state of Australia, check the following links:



Note: If you get Australian permanent residency, you’ll need to obtain a driving licence within the first six months of getting PR. If you fail, you’ll be forbidden to drive in Australia on an overseas licence.


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