Are The Speed Limits of Australian Freeways Absurd?

Do you think Australian Speed Limits Are to slow?
100KM/H On Au Freeways 70MPH/113KM/H On UK Motorways
All of these limits will be for Metropolitan Freeway
Could change because of variable speed limits on most metro freeways

Poll Options expired

  • 7
    Should Become 80-90KM/H
  • 82
    Stay At 100KM/H
  • 440
    Increase To 110-120KM/h
  • 288
    Increase To 130+KM/H
  • 24
    Should Be No Speed Limit


  • +10

    As the average Ozzie driver gets confused at a round about and certainly has no idea how to use (what is assumed to be an optional extra) an indicator, it may be safer to leave the speed limit as is.

    • Or get those D heads off the road, but it will be the person who drives "properly" who ends up smashing in to them and getting the blame

      • +1

        nope… a good piece of advice a friend told me was.

        You don't drive assuming everyone is a good driver, you assume they're all crap

  • +4

    Currently as it stands, no. Driver education is not just not good enough in this country. I still see drivers doing hogging the overtaking lane on the freeway.

    In Germany, a driver's license costs over $2000 after a minimum of 25-45 hours of professional instruction plus 12 hours of theory.

    • +3

      In Germany, a driver's license costs over $2000 after a minimum of 25-45 hours of professional instruction plus 12 hours of theory.

      Dont give them ideas about raising taxes enough is enough

    • +7

      I still see drivers doing hogging the overtaking lane on the freeway.

      Not sure about other states, but where I am, I always see a sign saying "keep left unless overtaking" at the beginning of the free way and every so many kms. Yet people still drive on the right.

      Either they can't read - then they need to be sent back to school.
      Didn't see the sign - not attentive to surroundings and road conditions.
      Don't care, believe it's safer for the self or believe it's ok because they don't see any cars around… Until they get tailgated and highbeamed then complain about other drivers.

      • +4

        All of the above.

        Cant read
        dont care
        not enfroced

        • playing leapfrogger
          on the phone
          watching a movie
          engaged autonomous drive and gone to sleep

          nah… in 99% of cases it is more like:
          "I'm doing the speed limit and all behind me should be slower than I think I'm going, regardless of however wrong I am, or however much it varies me"

    • +2

      In Australia it costs pretty close to $1500 (if you add every test/licence fee up), takes over 3 years and 120+ hours.

  • +5

    It has to be Aussie (lack of) training and overall aggressive attitude to driving that keeps our limits so low on the freeways. In the UK, where I've driven 1000's of miles, I find that drivers tend to be more patient & courteous. I know that's a generalization and there's exceptions (more so in the cities), but over-all, that's been my experience.

    The British have to contend with narrower roads, snow, ice, slow farm vehicles etc, but their over-all fatality rate is nearly half of Australia's, while their speed limits are 15-20km higher then ours on their motorways.

    Plus police seem to be less focused on the "speeding" part, and more on punishing bad driver behaviour. I recently did a 600 mile, 12 hr trip from Ullapool to Bath and only saw 3 cop cars on the motorways. And one of those I passed at 85mph on an 80mph section, as were all other drivers. Mind you, don't speed on the sections that are monitored point-to-point, as the camera's give no appreciable lee-way.

    • Ever thought that the low speed limits, unnecessary traffic lights, unnecessarily stilted control of the flow of traffic in general are all factors in the increase in aggressive and frustrated drivers in Australia? So much open road and space and people in cars just waiting at junctions when they could be on their way.

      I've driven in 20 different countries, including places like the USA, Canada, NZ, the UK, some of Europe and Asia - and I find driving in Australia more frustrating than every country I have driven in, and the drivers here more frustrated than any of those countries! And none of them are as regulated as Australia.

  • +8

    Improve the drivers! That idiot who stopped in the middle of the M4 freeway at Parramatta because he wanted to merge onto the exit ramp is a prime example. He was too impatient to join the exit lane where he should have and tried to drive right up to the exit and force his way into the lane. He then thought it clever to stop in the main freeway lane where everyone was doing 90kph. He ran away after he caused a 11 car crash and the death of an innocent young male driver.

    Unfortunately we are stuck with our speed limits because of our idiotic and impatient drivers.

    • -5

      Or do we have idiot drivers because the limits are too slow that they don't get to learn any driving skills. Remember, if we wrap everything/everyone up in cotton wool we end up with a world full of three-year-olds who have never made a decision in their whole lives and are now incapable of doing so.

      • +7

        It's s a catch 22 I guess. I drive along Heathcote RD in Southern Sydney everyday and they have just dropped the speed limit from 100 back to 90 kph. This was in order to fix a rash of crash deaths. The deaths included a drug affected truck driver drifting onto the wrong side of a bridge while fiddling with his phone. Another was an elderly couple who had a heart attack and crossed into the path of a bus. The most recent was an older woman having a medical episode and driving straight ahead on a bend into the path of a young off duty policeman killing them both.

        It didn't fix a thing of course. The following week a car crossed to the wrong side of the road in a 80 kph section into the front of a concrete truck and killed them self.

        The politicians reacted to a Facebook group and demanded the road authority do something. They can't do anything about the drivers but needed to be seen to do something. So they lower the speed limit!

        • -1

          Nope. Lowering sped limits is simply the modus operandi of a cynical government that has no solution (or vision) in regards to lowering road fatalities but is happy to profit from speeding fines along the way based on hysterical fear and ignorance. If lowering the speed limits actually lowered accidents then do accident rate increase or remain stable for years and years? Government revenue from speeding taxes has gone through the roof though.

        • +4

          The deaths included a drug affected truck driver drifting onto the wrong side of a bridge while fiddling with his phone. Another was an elderly couple who had a heart attack and crossed into the path of a bus. The most recent was an older woman having a medical episode and driving straight ahead on a bend into the path of a young off duty policeman killing them both.

          The funny thing is that none of those were caused by speed. Perhaps the police should be setting up more booze buses to try and catch idiots driving whilst under the influence. Also perhaps it's time we started thinking about health and fitness to drive for elderly drivers.

          • @p1 ama: The death can be caused by speed, the cause of a crash however, is not.

            But the politician only wants to avoid the accountability, as our system actively encourages them to do this.

    • +1

      He then thought it clever to stop in the main freeway lane where everyone was doing 90kph. He ran away after he caused a 11 car crash and the death of an innocent young male driver.

      Should be in jail.

      • Should be in jail.

        He was refused bail on Saturday, so I'd say that's where he currently is.

  • +8

    I just love how a road that used to be 100 and was a nightmare to drive on ( Cardinia Road Cardinia) and as soon as they dug it up resurfaced it to be as smooth as a babys bottom it is now 80 and the cops love it cause it's easy bookings…….

    They always seem to be doing this 100 on a crappy road do it up and fix it then its now 80……………

    • +3

      Yeah when was the last time you saw them put the limits UP?

    • Probably because there were too many crashes. Safer now.

  • +1

    hume dual carriage highway 140

    • +5

      Why use lots word when few do?

    • Mate, there is no way. Some of the corners on the Hume are absolutely not suitable for taller or heavier cars (or trucks) to be doing 140km/h.

      Not only that, but there's plenty of cars (and drivers) that would not be comfortable at that speed. Not to mention trucks or motorbikes. If my old car, a Honda Jazz, was doing 140km/h on the Hume, I'd be deaf from the car sitting at 5000rpm for hours. Honestly in a bigger car there are corners on the Hume that feel iffy at 110km/h.

      • The problem with drivers in AU is that they have no judgement.

        That's what happens when you treat speed limits as a magic number - just go at 110 and you're all good! Drivers don't learn to speed up and slow down appropriately and drive to conditions, something that overseas drivers are much better at.

        I drive around the mountains a lot and the number of poor drivers who don't know how to brake into a bend and accelerate out of a bend is mind-numbing.

        Saying that there is a speed limit of 140 on the Hume doesn't mean that everyone should go at 140 at all times, just like German drivers don't just put their foot to the metal and drive at top speed on their Autobahns.

        Basically, teach drivers to judge what an appropriate speed is rather than trying to tell them all the time.

        • Nothing you have said is wrong, but what's more realistic to you?

          1. we have the ability and funds to magically make every driver on Australian roads 'safe'


          1. we keep rules artificially strict and ensure that things are 'safe enough' with the average driver in mind.
          • +1

            @DisabledUser220804: Definitely the first, with the second, all you're going to get are bad drivers continuing to be bad drivers, other drivers frustrated at bad drivers for being bad drivers and bad drivers frustrated at everyone else for being mean to them and everyone taking offence at everyone else on the road. This is the system we have and it clearly doesn't work.

            • @p1 ama: There's always going to be an idiot. It's always easier and cheaper to idiot-proof (ish) the system than to system-proof the idiots.

              That applies to idiots on the road or elsewhere.

              • +1

                @DisabledUser220804: I disagree, why should the capable suffer because of the incompetence of the incapable? There is no reason why incapable drivers should be on the Hume Hwy. They could literally catch a plane, catch a bus, catch a train, hitchhike…etc. The issue is that we've built up this "tolerant" driving attitude where we all bottle up our anger at bad drivers, bad drivers continue to drive badly and it all blows up when someone loses their cool and smashes an idiot's car with a crowbar. We have drivers who are incapable of communicating, incapable of staying out of each other's ways and driving inconsiderately of other people. It's just the "me me me me…" attitude.

                The roads are shared property, the first thing you learn in primary school about sharing is that you don't piss off other people. If you want the yellow crayon, but someone else has the yellow crayon, you wait. If you have the yellow crayon and someone else is waiting and you're gonna take ages, then you let them borrow the yellow crayon for a while. It's not hard - five year olds can do it, why can't "adults" on the road?

      • between melb + albury it's fine.

        you know, you don't have to sit on 140km/h.

        you can move to the left and sit on 110

        just like in europe.

        drivers should use some bloody sense.

        stick to the left if not overtaking.

        trucks/buses are speed limited.

        • trucks/buses are speed limited.

          I'm not 100% sure on this with trucks

          In Melbourne on the Western Ring Road. I'm sitting on 100-101 and trucks are passing me at times.

          • +1

            @Danstar: 100-101 by your speedo or by a GPS?

            • @Jase83: GPS.

              My car speedo is 6kms slower than what is displayed

        • It's unsafe to have a 40km/h difference in approach speed overtaking someone.

    • -1

      Mate, that’s way to fast. Out in the outback with virtually straight roads it’s only 130 which is pretty fast for trucks already.

  • +3

    Yes the very senior elderly, no offense but their driving license should be suspended as they cause me an accident last year with my car written off with a 5 cars crash at princess h’way, Noble Park. She made an illegal u turn. That was it. I guess her age was in the late seventies to early eighties.

  • +4

    Nah, leave as is. My mobility scooter can only do 100.

    • That story reminds me of this one from Japan:
      I predict the word rougai will become get more commonplace in the future.

    • Had an old chap driving his mobility scooter west on Ocean Reef Road between Wanneroo and the Mitchel Freeway in the 80k zone. He was in the right hand lane, probably only doing 30. He must be a regular, the Toyota shuttle driver didn't seem too surprised.

  • +4

    I do the Hume Hwy drive on a regular basis and the 110km/h speed limit drives me nuts, between SE suburbs of Melbourne and the Northern suburbs of Sydney it's around ~10hrs of actual driving. If we upped the speed limits to the European standard of 130km/h, I could cut over 2.5 hours off my journey and reduce my fatigue levels substantially.

    It's such a frustrating experience driving in Australia after spending time behind the wheel in the U.S or Europe, in France traffic routinely fly's past police cars at 150km/h (20km/h over the limit) and no one bats an eyelid.

    In the States, the police/state troopers time is reserved for people doing 15-20 mph over the speed limit (there are still plenty) rather than picking on someone at random doing a few mph over the limit like in Australia.

    Whilst I agree that the quality of drivers in Australia is generally quite poor, even in Florida (where the drivers are arguably the worst in the Western world) people can still routinely drive at 85mph (~135km/h) without too much hassle.

    • +3

      If we upped the speed limits to the European standard of 130km/h, I could cut over 2.5 hours off my journey and reduce my fatigue levels substantially.

      Your maths are way off.

      Assuming Wikipedia is correct and the Hume Highway has a 110km/h limit for its full 840km length:

      840/110 = 7.64 hours (about 7h40m)
      840/130 = 6.46 hours (about 6h30m)

      So a time saving of 1h10m, assuming other speed limits remain the same and you somehow manage to maintain the maximum speed.

    • +1

      For someone who claims to have so much experience…

      You're pretty ignorant about how crap our roads… how crap the average car is…

      Yes lets raise the speed limit to that of an expereinced driver… lets see how you handle waiting for accidents to be cleared every other day

  • +3

    people zone out when doing a dull 100kph. 130 + you will actually be alert.

    but hey, this is pc ozbargain, neg away and say how 'speed kills'

    • +7

      Why stop at 130km/h? Imagine how much more alert you'd be if there were no limits!

      • +3

        Can confirm. I was very alert when doing 220 on the Autobahn.

    • +1

      200+ and you'd be as high as a kite, I guess. Imagine how safe everyone would be then.

      Speed doesn't kill, it just reduces your chance of avoiding an incident in an unexpected event…

      • +2

        Speed does kill, up to a certain point. Having a head on accident at 60km/h is easily survivable in modern cars. There is no car available that will give you a good chance of surviving a 100km/h crash. Crashing at higher speeds is just a question of how many chunks emergency services will have to pick up.

        • -1

          I read a "clear thinking" article in school and it was a tow truck driver talking about accidents. He said some people just split like a bin liner full of offal. This mental image has always stayed with me.

        • The crash kills, not the speed…

      • +1

        Speed can also reduce or increase your level of viscosity in the aftermath of you being converted into liquid in a crash.

  • +1

    It's a joke. The newish expanded M5 towards campbelltown is 100, then when it connects to the M31, it's 110. Why is the newer road only 100? I don't flapping get it!!

    • Probably traffic volume and number of entrance and exit points, at a guess?

  • +1

    *too. I agree we need faster speeds but our driver training is so terrible that 100kph is all I agree with. So sick of people sitting at 90kph in the middle or far right lane. So sick of people sitting 7 metres from the car in front and having no clue that they cannot brake in time if that car suddenly brakes. So sick of idiots sitting so close to the back of your car you can't see their headlights or number plate, all because they are angry and you aren't driving at 140kph in the right lane. We need the discipline and training of the Germans before we can go any faster

  • OP has got it all wrong

    There is absolutely NO COMPARISON between our roads and European roads so the speeds are reasonable given the sub-standard roads we have
    We have plenty of highways with 110k/h speed limits which is quite sufficient for the majority of drivers. I dont see an issue with this.
    The European cars are built to handle such high speeds. Those built for Australia in the main are NOT.
    The highway road toll and tragedies say it all. You need no other considerations.

    Its obvious that OP just wants to be a speedster. I know its tempting when you come back from overseas but one must consider our sub-standard roads, inappropriate vehicles and less experienced drivers.

    I also agree with 50k/h speed limits in suburban streets.
    I see so many cars flying down suburban streets where kids play and locals cross roads all the time. Its amazing more people are not injured or killed by these reckless suburban speedsters trying to beat the main road traffic..

    • +2

      The European cars are built to handle such high speeds. Those built for Australia in the main are NOT.

      Ignoring everything else you've said, this is untrue. What do you think people in Europe drive?

      • +3

        I suspect the biggest selling car is not a ford ranger like it is here.

        • Biggest seller for 2018 according to 'Motoring' was the Toyota Hilux (51,705). Ford Ranger was second (42,144) then Corolla (35,320), Mazda 3 (31,065) and Hyundai i30 (28,188)…

      • +2

        A hell of a lot less Troopies, Hiluxes, Rangers, Patrols, and tradie vans with every tool on the planet plus a pallet of tiles and 3 tradies in it.

    • I agreed with you mostly, until you mentioned 50km/h. It's not really any safer IRL (scientific analysis aside), because the problem is not people driving at 60 in suburban streets, but those idiots who drive at 80 or more. 50 seems so painfully slow on good streets with good visibility…

    • hahaha you obviously haven't been to Europe and driven on their roads or you wouldn't make such a dumb statement.

      Maybe you don't see the problem because your time isn't important.

      lol that's a complete load.

      The only thing you're right about is the drivers. Since getting a license is way harder in most European countries.

  • +2

    Australian drivers are generally taught by their parents who pass on their bad habits. Introduce proper instruction and driving tests first.

  • Absurd is a bit for a stretch, 30km/h would be absurd. Sure, some of them could probably be changed a bit but they are pretty close to what we need.

  • +1

    Another thing to think about, is the depth of the roads. The autobahn is 27 inches thick, or 686 millimeters thick.

    Before you compare our speed limits, find out the thickness we use for our highways.

    In a few years, our thin highways start to develop lumps and bumps, and there's no way that you'd want to travel 130kmh+ on a bumpy highway.

    • +1

      i did notice that over there, During roadworks the lane being replaced next to us was so far below road level is was really surprising.

  • +1

    The problem with raising a speed limits on highways is: will drivers actually drive the higher speed?

    The design of the roads has to be such that drivers feel comfortable and able to do so. Minimal off/on ramps, good signage, lots of room for merging lanes, traffic managed appropriately, not many need for lane changes, etc.

    Raising the limit is great and the research shows its perfectly safe to do so - PROVIDED people actually drive at the higher speed. If you have a scenario where most drivers do not, and you lose traffic uniformity… that’s where you create a danger.

  • +6

    For me the biggest life saver on Australian highways are regular overtaking zones. Without them people take all sorts of silly risks. I've seen some very close calls. People don't realise you need bare minimum of 2 kilometres of road to overtake if the closing speed of the vehicles is 200km/h or more.

    However the one thing I simply do not understand is why someone doing 80km/h in a 100 zone on a slightly twisty road where overtaking is unwise will then speed up to 100km/h as soon as they get to the overtaking zone, and slow down to 80 as soon as it finishes. If you want to drive slowly then do so by all means, but let other drivers through and don't work to deliberately frustrate others. Your actions are actually putting lives in danger even though you feel totally safe and secure driving well under the conservative speed limit.

    • +3

      I've a theory that the double lane sections make them feel safer so they accelerate to a comfortable speed. Compounded by the subconscious need to modulate speed with the nearest frame of reference, which just happens to be the overtaking car. Both of which are due to a lack of awareness and driving on autopilot.

    • Same idiots that do 70kmh in 80 zones then don't change speed when it becomes a 60 zone and still do 70kmh … no road awareness.

  • +1

    Also need to ban trucks from using the right lanes on Freeways

    • +1

      they are working on that, It needs to be rolled out more though

      • I've actually contacted Vic Roads about it.

        Took them 1 year to respond and said they need more public response to even consider it. So maybe in 10-100 years it might happen

  • -1

    I thought it was already 120km ;)

  • Have you seen how people drive…. They are a danger by just moving. Sure, the limits should be higher if the drivers could cope with it, but until we're up to a decent standard there's just no hope

  • Roads suitable for higher speed have a speed limit of 110km/hr. Limits are even higher in NT, though this is based on driver convinience and sheer scale rather than suitability for that speed.

  • Freeways, especially the inter-city ones, should be built to 130kmh+ standard.

    I can understand the intra-city ones with far more frequent (and often tighter) entry and exit points being at lower limits. The Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane corridor (and probably others) should really be at higher limits.

  • CAn barely read the OP. Maybe the UK should first match Australian literacy standards before Australia matches their freeway speed limits.

  • If you think these higher speed limits will have any real bearing on your commute times you may be rather disappointed..

    (In certain circumstances, speed limits on freeways are often reduced to speed up your travel times)

    • Exactly. The real reasons for commuter delays are poor road design and planning, accidents and incidents caused by bad drivers, and too many vehicles on the road (due to poor public transport infrastructure). Properly address these factors and it will have far bigger effect than any increase in speed limit.

  • Current highway speed limits are too slow in NSW. They're outdated and set to cater for vehicles built in the 90s with outdated technology.

    Then again, most accidents occur due to human error; so they'll need to either educate poor drivers or take them off the road before any speed limits should be raised.

  • Wow Im surprised how many 110-120 there are.

    I feel 110kmph is the limit.

    I'm now wondering where people are from, basing this on.

    As a Sydneysider, I feel 110 is the limitdue to our shorter freeways, and the fact exits and entrances are frequent, resulting in more movement between lanes.

    When I get out of Sydney, I feel the highways at times could/should maybe go to 120…. BUT

    But this is based on the car type, I've driven in your typical budget cars to high end mercedes. Without a doubt most cars under $40k should not regularly drive above 100kph. Just because you can, doesnt mean you should.

    Australia doesn't/cant afford quality car's like the do in Europe. Where I can understand why they do have no speed limits.

    To end this rant… I'll quote Paul Keating's wife, Anita who got out of a speeding fine with the excuse…

    "im driving a Audi"

    Edit: Also as others have responded, our road quality is shit

    • +1

      Australia doesn't/cant afford quality car's like the do in Europe.

      Australians are buying more of Mercedes' new AMG sports cars per capita than anyone else

    • You're lucky to find a 110 around Sydney, most of it's 80's / 100's.

      Entrances/exits, no more different than any other country in the world, I admit some junctions road planners must of been drunk as design can be way better, i.e merging on to the left lane of a road then needing to move 2-3 lanes to the right 100 meters after merging to get in the right lane for next turning/highway/exit.

      Any car manufactured within the last 15-20 years regardless of price will easily handle 110-130km/h safely, that includes your tiny 1 liter compact hatchback. A little 1 liter hatchback might take a little longer to get to 130km/h but it'll sit at 130km/h all day, the worst of them may struggle to get beyond 130km/h but anything 1 liter + should get to 160km/h.

      Europe where traffic generally travels faster doesn't have a issue with cars who drive slower, HGV's have lower speed limits. Lane discipline is used in Europe though especially on the continent, drivers keep left, if you approach a vehicle they'll also move left not "i'm traveling at X speed, f**** you i'm not moving".

      "Road quality is shit", every country in the world says that. Roads here are far better than the UK and certain parts of Europe where they can be narrow, twisty, deteriorated surface due to winters and thawing out.

      It does seem quality of driving here varies significantly and generally on the poorer side. A lot of people taught by parents instead of dedicated driving instructors so pick up parents bad habits, also a large international population who's originating country also don't have some of the European levels of driving (ex Italy, Spain who drivers are crazy).

    • In Victoria limits on most Freeways are 100 but some are 80 eg Burke Road to Melbourne CBD

  • +3

    lol even if it was 130kmph we would have idiots doing 80kmph on the highway

    The other issues
    - Multiple speed zones on one strech of road. I could drive on one road it would go , 80 , 70, 60, 70, 90, 100. Makes no sense
    - People accelerating at snail's pace. Taking a good 5 minutes to get to 110 from the 60kmph entry point. These entry points are ridiculous. You need to be doing 60 and then suddenly it's 100
    - People driving in the right hand lane at 90kmph when the speed limit is 110

    Just a bunch of idiots

    • Yes, yes, yes and yes

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