Trams play an important role in Melbourne's public transport system, and there are a few road rules associated with them that you should keep in mind when putting your car rental in Melbourne to good use.
First, it's important that you know what a tramway looks like. They are usually heralded by overhead signs, and solid yellow lines are painted along the tracks.
Under normal circumstances, you are not allowed to drive on a tramway. The only exception to this rule is if you need to pull into the tramway to avoid some sort of obstacle.
If this occurs, you are allowed to drive on the tramway for up to 50 metres, and only if you do not cause any delays to the tram.
There are some hefty penalties attached to this rule (you can be charged over $230 for disobeying it), so make sure you adhere to it at all times.
You should be particularly aware of trams at roundabouts and median openings, as (according to the Vic Roads website) a lot of avoidable delays are caused by cars illegally crossing the tram tracks at such intersections.
It is important that you do not cross, wait or queue on designated tram tracks, as this is a common cause of crashes. You must give way to trams at intersections.
Upgrades are currently underway in many areas to make this more obvious, such as red road surfacing and the installation of flashing, electronic signs, but it is still up to you to understand your responsibilities and remember to give way.
Tramways can be found on the following roads: Brighton Road, Flemington Road, Nicholson Street, Swanston Street and the Upper Esplanade.
If you happen to be travelling in these areas and enjoying the scenic delights of Melbourne, just make sure you stay alert and adhere to the road rules.