7 Driving Myths Busted

Debunk common driving myths and become a safer driver with this Savvy blog!
Published on December 3rd, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
Our authors
   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas


Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors

Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.
Man and woman enjoying drive in convertible car

At Savvy, our mission is to empower you to make informed financial choices. While we maintain stringent editorial standards, this article may include mentions of products offered by our partners. Here’s how we generate income.

In this article

Driving is an activity that's surrounded by various myths and misconceptions. These myths can affect the way people drive and even impact their safety on the road, so it’s important to understand the truth behind them. In this article, we'll debunk seven common driving myths to help you become a safer and more informed driver.

Myth #1: Men are better drivers

Whether men are better drivers than women is a common topic of debate and the subject of numerous studies. Statistically, women are safer drivers, with men more likely to exhibit risky behaviour and be involved in serious accidents. However, driving habits and abilities vary widely among individuals and are not determined by gender. Factors like experience, training and attitude play a far greater role in determining driving skills.

Myth #2: It’s illegal to drive barefoot

Contrary to popular belief, there are no laws specifically prohibiting driving barefoot or in loose footwear like thongs in Australia. As long as you can operate the vehicle safely and comfortably, without footwear is generally acceptable. However, if you are in a crash and the police believe your footwear – or lack of – was a contributing factor, you could face a hefty fine. Even though there are no specific rules regarding footwear, drivers are required to maintain proper control of their car at all times.

Myth #3: Slower is always safer

While driving at excessively high speeds can increase the risk of accidents, driving too slowly can also be dangerous, especially on highways and freeways where slower vehicles may impede the flow of traffic. The key is to maintain a speed appropriate for the road conditions and adhere to posted speed limits.

Driving significantly under the speed limit can even be deemed an offence under Australian Road Rule 125, which states that “A driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian” – including by driving “abnormally slowly”.

Myth #4: It’s safe to use a hands-free device while driving

While it’s illegal to use a handheld phone while behind the wheel, you are allowed to take calls via Bluetooth or a headset. However, studies show any form of phone conversation, even hands-free, can divert your attention from the road and increase your risk of an accident. It's best to pull over to a safe location if you need to take a call.

You should be careful about any activity that could cause you to become distracted on the road, even if it is not banned by law. Distracted driving poses a serious threat to road safety and is the cause of a significant number of accidents on Australian roads each year.

Myth #5: It’s illegal to drive with the interior lights on

While it's generally not recommended to drive with interior lights on at night as it can affect your visibility, there are no specific laws prohibiting it in any Australian state or territory. Nevertheless, it's best to use interior lights sparingly to avoid distracting yourself or other drivers. If the police find that the interior lights impaired your ability to drive, you may even be fined for careless driving.

Myth #6: Coffee will keep you awake

While caffeine can provide a temporary boost in alertness, it's not a substitute for proper rest. Relying solely on caffeine to stay awake while driving can lead to a false sense of security and increase the risk of drowsy driving accidents. Especially on longer journeys, regular breaks and adequate rest are essential for safe driving. Make sure you get enough sleep before you set out and if you find yourself getting sleepy on the road, it is safer to park and have a brief roadside nap before continuing your journey.

Myth #7: You can drive 10% over the speed limit

It is a common belief that you won’t get booked if you drive within 10% of the speed limit. However, speed limits are set for a reason – and they are not flexible. Exceeding the speed limit is illegal and can result in fines and penalties, as well as an increased risk of accidents. You might think there is little difference between driving 50km/h and 55km/h, but even going a little over the limit increases your stopping distance and reaction time in case of an emergency. It is important to always adhere to the posted speed limit for your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Educating yourself about safe driving practices goes beyond simply knowing the rules of the road. By debunking these common myths, you can become a more conscious and responsible driver, ultimately contributing to safer roads for everyone.

If you’re ready to hit the road but need some wheels, Savvy can help you organise finance. Our hands-on team works with leading Australian lenders to produce tailored quotes to suit your needs. Get started with Savvy today.

Did you find this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

Approval for car loans is always subject to our lender’s terms, conditions and qualification criteria. Lenders will undertake a credit check in line with responsible lending obligations to help determine whether you’re in a position to take on the loan you’re applying for.

The interest rate, comparison rate, fees and monthly repayments will depend on factors specific to your profile, such as your financial situation, as well others, such as the loan’s size and your chosen repayment term. Costs such as broker fees, redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, aren’t included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts may result in a different comparison rate.

In this article

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on pinterest

Looking for a car loan quote?

Compare over 40 lenders with Savvy and save on your next car purchase.

* Terms and conditions and lending criteria apply.

Smart money saving tips

Subscribe to our newsletter.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy

Related articles

Looking for a car loan?

Explore a range of car finance options with Savvy and get the wheels in motion today. 
Man and woman enjoying drive in convertible car

We'd love to chat, how can we help?

By clicking "Submit", you agree to be contacted by a Savvy Agency Owner and to receive communications from Savvy which you can unsubscribe from at any time. Read our Privacy Policy.