Driving Comparison UK-Aus

Comparisons between UK and Australian Driving.

The most common comparison between UK and Australian drivers is not very complimentary to Australians.

It would be good to be able to fully understand the reason for this, so we shall look at individual aspects here:


UK: In the UK, drivers generally overtake on the Right.

AUS: Here in Australia, you can overtake on either the Left or the Right, UNLESS there are signs saying otherwise, or if the Speed limit is above 80 kph.

Driving on the Left:

UK: In the UK it is common to keep to the left lane unless overtaking.

AUS: Here in Australia, a large number of drivers, including commercial vehicles, will head immediately for the outside lane, on a two or three lane carriageway.  They then stay there until they wish to leave that road, at which point they often cut straight across the left lane to exit left.


UK: From memory, I recall few drivers having regard for the speed limits on Motorways, and from comments from some recently arrived migrants, I feel that may not have changed much.  I have heard that the British Police are not overly strict on general speeders.

AUS: My opinion is that most drivers stay at or near the maximum speed limit whenever they can.  There are of course, exceptions to this, but with the Australian police very strict on speeding… well, 105kph in a 100kph limit and you may be looking at a speeding ticket.

Some example Speed Limits in Australia: (Some of these may vary in different States)

  • 50 kph ( 31.25 mph) Residential Roads
  • 60 kph ( 37.5 mph) Built up Roads
  • 80 kph ( 50 mph) Urban Roads
  • 100 kph ( 62.5 mph) Freeways/Motorways
  • 110 kph ( 68.75 mph) Motorways

Accident Rates:

The 2006 statistics figure of Road deaths per 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled, for both countries are:

  • 0.4   Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 0.6   Victoria, Australia
  • 0.6   United Kingdom
  • 0.7   Queensland, Australia
  • 0.8   New South Wales, Australia
  • 0.8   South Australia
  • 0.9   Western Australia
  • 1.1    Tasmania, Australia
  • 2.6   Northern Territory, Australia

On the face of it, the Northern Territory does not seem to be the place to be doing much driving.  However, the NT does not have speed limits in the same way that the other States do, and this may be the reason for the higher accident death rate.

More information can be found at: Australian Driving Statistics

Number of Vehicles per population

Great Britain has 57 vehicles for every 100 people

This publication includes National Statistics on the stock of licensed vehicles in Great Britain in 2006.
The total number of motor vehicles licensed at the end of 2006 was 1.4 per cent higher than at the end of 2005 (Table 1), at 33.4 million.
Source: www.dft.gov.uk
So 33.4m vehicles for 58m people = 57 vehicles per 100 people

Australia has 70 vehicles for every 100 people

There were 15.3 million motor vehicles, including motor cycles, registered in Australia at 31 March 2008. This is 3.5% higher than the number of registrations from the 31 March 2007
Source: www.abs.gov.au
So 15.3m vehicles for 21.7m population = 70 vehicles per 100 people

Population figures taken from:

The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 31 March 2009 was 21,779,000 persons.
Source: www.abs.gov.au

Great Britain — Population: Approximately 58,000,000 (as of 2006)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

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