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Safe driving tips

Safer speeds

Speed is a key factor in crashes and road trauma. Exceeding the speed limit increases the likelihood of a crash. As your speed increases, your ability to react to emergencies and stopping distances increase. Other road users also find it more difficult to judge how fast you are travelling.

The speed limit is the maximum allowable speed, but sometimes it is necessary to travel below the speed limit to stay safe.

speed limit

The faster you drive, the harder you hit.

At higher speeds there is a greater likelihood of severe injury or death. Even small increases in travel speed can cause disproportionately large increases in the likelihood of a crash that causes death or serious injury. In a crash your body will keep moving at the travel speed of the vehicle.

For vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, small differences in travelling speed can mean the difference between life and death. If you collide with a pedestrian, death or serious injury is likely even at relatively low speeds.

Research shows if you are travelling in a 60 km/h zone, your chances of being involved in a crash double with every 5 km/h increase in speed. Travelling at 65 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, you are twice as likely to be involved in a crash. A car braking from 65 km/h will still be travelling at 32 km/h at the point where a vehicle braking from 60 km/h has stopped.

There are two components to stopping distance:

  • The distance travelled by the vehicle during the time it takes for the driver to react
  • The distance travelled once the brakes have been applied.

The following video will help demonstrate the importance of leaving a safe gap

YouTube Video - Braking Distances

Speed limits indicate the maximum vehicle speed that is permitted on that road. Exceeding the speed limit is illegal. If you break the law by exceeding speed limits, you will be subject to heavy penalties, potentially including fines, loss of licence and imprisonment.

Any road with a speed limit different to the default limit is signposted accordingly. Variable electronic speed limit signs also operate throughout South Australia.

50 km/h is the maximum default speed limit in a built-up area.

speed limit 50kmph

100 km/h is the maximum speed limit on most rural roads in South Australia.

speed limit 100kmph

More info

Road rules that apply to speed limits visit The Drivers Handbook

Exceeding the speed limit, driving at excessive speed, driving recklessly, at speed or in a manner dangerous to the public are offences that attract penalties, including payment of expiation fees and incurring demerit points.

For a list of speeding offences and penalties please click here.

How are speeding penalties set?

The following factors are taken into account when speed offence penalties are set:

  • the road safety risk
  • the difference between the penalties for the different speed offence brackets
  • the consistency of the penalties with those imposed for a range of other traffic offences in the Australian Road Rules
  • the consistency of the penalties imposed in South Australia with those imposed for similar offences in other Australian jurisdictions.

Aren't speeding fines just revenue raising?

No, speed enforcement has never been and never will be about revenue raising. Speeding fines raise revenue only because drivers have broken the safety laws put in place to protect all road users.

Whatever the legal speed limit, improved compliance with and enforcement of the limits plays a vital role in improving the safety of all road users.

Reducing expiation fees for low level speeding and increasing demerit points reinforces the fact that speed enforcement is focused on safety, and not revenue raising.

If everybody drove in accordance with speed limits then no speeding fines would be issued.

What happens to the speeding fines collected?

All revenue from anti-speeding devices is returned to road safety through the Community Road Safety Fund.

Safety Cameras

Fixed (permanent) and mobile safety cameras operate throughout South Australia at carefully selected locations. Safety cameras are used to improve the safety of our roads by enforcing speed limits and compliance to traffic signals. This helps to ensure that our roads are safe for everyone to use.

Mobile Cameras

Mobile cameras are used to enforce speed limits and are operated by SA Police.

More information of mobile camera selected locations can be found here.

Fixed Safety Cameras

All fixed safety cameras are operational on a continuous 24 hours a day, 7 days per week basis. Learn more about the types of cameras used in South Australia. View a map (PDF, 2476 KB) (1.94 MB PDF) showing locations of fixed speed and red light cameras in South Australia.

Further information on fixed camera locations can be found here.

Average Speed Safety Cameras

Average speed is one form of point to point speed detection. It involves measuring the time taken by a vehicle to travel between two camera sites. An image of every vehicle is captured by the first camera, together with a record of the time when the image is taken.

The second camera repeats that process. The average speed of the vehicle is calculated by dividing the distance between the cameras by the time taken for the vehicle to travel between the sites.

If the average speed of the vehicle is in excess of the speed limit then the driver of the vehicle has committed a speeding offence.

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