Driving with Hands Outside the Car Window
There is no doubt that driving with hands outside the car window can be dangerous, but what does the law say?
Everybody has heard the horror stories about people incurring injuries while driving with hands outside the car window. Teachers and authority figures have been using this as an example for years as to why people shouldn’t allow any limbs outside the car while it is on the road.
There is no definitive answer on whether this is a frequent happening, or whether they’ve slightly exaggerated the severity or frequency of the injuries. However, drivers and passengers should take note, because there are laws in place regarding driving with hands outside the car window. Whether the danger is real or not, the fines can be!
Having any part of your body outside of the car while it is moving is illegal – hands, feet, head or any other part of the human body. The only exceptions are if you are forced to signal to other drivers and your hands are the only way to achieve this, such as if the car’s indicators are not operational.
The penalties for committing this offence start at $141 in Victoria and can go much higher. NSW has a penalty of $298 and three demerit points, while QLD has a fine of $298. Regardless of the legality, drivers should have both hands on the wheel at all times, to maintain complete control of the vehicle and help prevent accidents. Police can also charge drivers who are deemed to not have full control of their car.
Aside from the obvious safety concerns, this law is designed to prevent other drivers from misinterpreting the hand outside the window as a turning signal. Both the driver and the passenger are liable, the driver can be fined for allowing the passenger to commit an unsafe act, and the passenger can be charged for doing it. If the car is moving, and you have even part of a limb outside, you can be fined. So when in doubt, keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
Driving with hands outside the car window, when not signalling, is illegal in all states of Australia and can result in some hefty penalties. It is also dangerous and can result in a higher chance of an accident due to misinterpreted hand signals and poor control of the vehicle. We encourage drivers everywhere to avoid this act and always engage in low-risk driver behaviours.
If you have staff representing your company on the road, it is wise to have them complete Low Risk Driving Courses. This keeps your employees safe, as well as ensuring that your business is represented well on the road.