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Can I use GPS unit instead of the car’s speedometer?

By 7 November 2011 57

Hello, just throwing this out here if anyone knows the answer:

I’m on ACT L’s at the moment and about to take the driving test in a few months. The problem is that my automatic car’s speedometer is busted and too expensive to replace – have to get the part from overseas. The car used to belong to my partner, and he taught me to judge the speed by using the tachometer and listening to the engine.

I’d rather not hire/borrow an unfamiliar car for the driving test, so my question is: can I take the driving test in my car, if I install one of those little GPS units that show the speed as well? Or in fact, can I take the driving test with my smartphone mounted on the dashboard with a speedometer app?

Thanks in advance if anyone can help with this!

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57 Responses to Can I use GPS unit instead of the car’s speedometer?
#1
Holden Caulfield10:27 am, 07 Nov 11

You have a few months to go until your driving test:

Option 1: Get the car fixed.
Option 2: Borrow someone else’s and use the time you have to become familiar with it.
Option 3: Deal with it.

#2
nice_enough10:29 am, 07 Nov 11

no sorry… Legally you need a speedometer in the car for it to be considered roadworthy and the GPS system does not replace one.

#3
Disinformation10:34 am, 07 Nov 11

I guess it depends if the examiner decides that your car is roadworthy or not, but he’s not going to be able to ascertain that until you actually start moving…

If you’d wanted to take advantage of the situation, your best bet would have be to start the test, and quickly say..” Hey, my speedo has just broken. ” Give the examiner some time to digest this and then offer to complete the test with your phone as a speedo.

I’d rather try that then give someone the option of cancelling a test because you’ve admitted that your car isn’t fully functional.

#4
grdem10:58 am, 07 Nov 11

Thanks for your suggestions everyone. We’d originally intended to hire/borrow a car for the driving test anyway as we’d meant to sell this car months ago (but that got delayed). I’m just really comfortable with this car and would like to use it if possible (it’s an old but zippy little sports hatchback that drives really well).

#5
Thoroughly Smashed11:06 am, 07 Nov 11

Regardless of accuracy, the GPS is not going to give you instantaneous speed.

#6
Solidarity11:07 am, 07 Nov 11

Just use it, if you can judge your speed without it, just “neglect” to inform the instructor that it doesn’t work, maybe he’ll be impressed with your… speed judging skills.

#7
krats11:13 am, 07 Nov 11

You “CANT”…Be Serious

#8
WillowJim11:16 am, 07 Nov 11

Think about it. What if it’s cloudy?

#9
RedDogInCan11:28 am, 07 Nov 11

nice_enough said :

no sorry… Legally you need a speedometer in the car for it to be considered roadworthy and the GPS system does not replace one.

Driving an unroadworthy car is an instant fail – you won’t even get out of the carpark.

#10
arb11:32 am, 07 Nov 11

If at the time of going for your provisional license, you can’t adapt to driving a different car and are therefore worried you’ll fail the test in a borrowed/hired car (especially an automatic), then you are not ready to hold a license. Simple as that.

#11
Holden Caulfield11:50 am, 07 Nov 11

arb said :

If at the time of going for your provisional license, you can’t adapt to driving a different car and are therefore worried you’ll fail the test in a borrowed/hired car (especially an automatic), then you are not ready to hold a license. Simple as that.

This thought also crossed my mind.

#12
Solidarity12:02 pm, 07 Nov 11

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

#13
Deref12:28 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

If you consider that driving within the speed limit is an aspect of operating the car safely, then yes, it does.

#14
Disinformation12:29 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

I’ve never yet found someone who can accurately estimate their speed under 40kph, which is the speed of some roadworks. Thus, not being able to tell your speed in a 10kph shared zone makes most people unsafe.
Realistically, it’s common sense, which isn’t common because people feel the need to question it.
Cars have to meet certain guidelines to be allowed onto public roads. A speedometer is one of them.

People are just hopeless at figuring what speed they’re driving at with any level of accuracy unless they have one.

#15
Classified12:39 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

This has to be a gee-up.

#16
Solidarity12:46 pm, 07 Nov 11

Why does it “have to be a gee up?”

If there is other traffic around, follow it.

If not, use discretion to dictate what speed is safe.

It’s not hard.

#17
MonarchRepublic12:57 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

In Victoria it certainly does (page9), for cars manufactured after 1988 at least:
http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/E5F44416-57E4-4164-98F5-69E3E8E1C5E3/0/VSI26.pdf

I would assume the ACT has similar regulations? Hard to tell though, as I can find nothing about roadworthy regulations on the roads ACT website… :/

#18
ohmygoy1:17 pm, 07 Nov 11

I have a guitar tuning app on my iPhone and it’s hopeless. I’m assuming the speedo one will be hopeless too.

#19
sarahsarah1:18 pm, 07 Nov 11

MonarchRepublic said :

Solidarity said :

Does not having a speedo make the car unroadworthy? It’s not like you absolutely need one in order to be able to operate the car safely?

In Victoria it certainly does (page9), for cars manufactured after 1988 at least:
http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/E5F44416-57E4-4164-98F5-69E3E8E1C5E3/0/VSI26.pdf

I would assume the ACT has similar regulations? Hard to tell though, as I can find nothing about roadworthy regulations on the roads ACT website… :/

Yep :)

1.43 Speedometers
(1) A motor vehicle (other than a trailer) built after June 1974 that can be driven faster than 50km/h on a level road must be fitted with a
speedometer.
(2) The speedometer must—
(a) indicate the speed at which the vehicle is being driven in
kilometres per hour; and
(b) indicate, when the vehicle is travelling faster than 40km/h, a speed that is not over 10% less than the actual speed; and
(c) be readily visible to the driver.

http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/sl/2000-12/current/pdf/2000-12.pdf

#20
Keijidosha1:34 pm, 07 Nov 11

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

#21
Lazy I1:43 pm, 07 Nov 11

Hi all, I have a quick question about taking my P plate test, it is somewhat related to the original poster’s request.

My car has no brakes and I don’t want to replace them because brakes are expensive. My partner gave me a boat anchor and has shown me how to correctly deploy it out the passenger side window when I am approaching a corner in order to slow the car down enough to take the corner.

My question is, when I am having my final test, is the instructor required to sit in the passenger seat? I am concerned that having someone sitting in the passenger seat may obstruct my access to the boat anchor and compromise the safe operation of my vehicle.

Is it possible to ask the instructor to sit in the back seat for the duration of the test?

Thanks everyone!

#22
Classified1:47 pm, 07 Nov 11

Keijidosha said :

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

Bald tyres are fine if the road’s dry, and if there’s no water falling from the sky you won’t need wipers either.

#23
Solidarity1:48 pm, 07 Nov 11

Keijidosha said :

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

I think a better comparison would be “having a broken speedo is like having a broken radio, broken air conditioning or broken cruise control”, as it doesn’t impede the actual functionality (in all conditions) of the car itself.

#24
Classified1:54 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Keijidosha said :

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

I think a better comparison would be “having a broken speedo is like having a broken radio, broken air conditioning or broken cruise control”, as it doesn’t impede the actual functionality (in all conditions) of the car itself.

Nor do the items in my example, under the right conditions.

#25
Solidarity2:01 pm, 07 Nov 11

Classified said :

Solidarity said :

Keijidosha said :

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

I think a better comparison would be “having a broken speedo is like having a broken radio, broken air conditioning or broken cruise control”, as it doesn’t impede the actual functionality (in all conditions) of the car itself.

Nor do the items in my example, under the right conditions.

Note the words in brackets.

#26
Buzz26002:02 pm, 07 Nov 11

Lazy I said :

Hi all, I have a quick question about taking my P plate test, it is somewhat related to the original poster’s request.

My car has no brakes and I don’t want to replace them because brakes are expensive. My partner gave me a boat anchor and has shown me how to correctly deploy it out the passenger side window when I am approaching a corner in order to slow the car down enough to take the corner.

My question is, when I am having my final test, is the instructor required to sit in the passenger seat? I am concerned that having someone sitting in the passenger seat may obstruct my access to the boat anchor and compromise the safe operation of my vehicle.

Is it possible to ask the instructor to sit in the back seat for the duration of the test?

Thanks everyone!

Brilliant!

#27
grdem2:17 pm, 07 Nov 11

Original poster here…

“If at the time of going for your provisional license, you can’t adapt to driving a different car and are therefore worried you’ll fail the test in a borrowed/hired car (especially an automatic), then you are not ready to hold a license. Simple as that.”

I’m as likely to pass the test in any other car as in my little auto – but if it was possible to use a GPS speedometer, then why pay to hire a different car?

Also, if you know which gear the car is in and can read the revs on the tachometer, you can get a pretty good gauge of speed. That and using common sense and not going faster than other cars on the road makes me certain I’m not speeding. Most of the time I’m pretty much the only one on Canberra roads who isn’t speeding.

#28
Classified2:17 pm, 07 Nov 11

Solidarity said :

Classified said :

Solidarity said :

Keijidosha said :

A broken speedo is no worse than having bald tyres, broken wipers or no lights. The car still drives okay so why is it a roadworthy issue?

I think a better comparison would be “having a broken speedo is like having a broken radio, broken air conditioning or broken cruise control”, as it doesn’t impede the actual functionality (in all conditions) of the car itself.

Nor do the items in my example, under the right conditions.

Note the words in brackets.

I’ll concede that sensible, skilled drivers could probably drive around with no speedo and never have an issue. The problem is that a lot of drivers are neither sensible nor skilled.

#29
luther_bendross2:21 pm, 07 Nov 11

Dear everyone on RiotAct,

Please do not feed the trolls.

Regards,
luther_bendross

#30
Henry822:37 pm, 07 Nov 11

Jesus, i can’t believe it. Yes its an instant fail. The car must be roadworthy. You won’t even leave the carpark if they catch it. GPS’ are not accurate, if you go through a tunnel, the signal is blocked, you go on curvy roads etc etc you will not get an accurate indication of speed. Oh and its not instantaneous either.

arb said :

(if) you can’t adapt to driving a different car (…), then you are not ready to hold a license. Simple as that.

I completely agree.

grdem said :

Also, if you know which gear the car is in and can read the revs on the tachometer, you can get a pretty good gauge of speed.

Revvs isn’t displayed in km/hr, and it isn’t “accurate”

grdem said :

That and using common sense and not going faster than other cars on the road makes me certain I’m not speeding. Most of the time I’m pretty much the only one on Canberra roads who isn’t speeding.

That isn’t an accurate indication of speed either. There’s a slim chance you’ll get away with it, and if you’re caught, you’ll lose your money, plus they won’t be able to take the test for a while. Find a friend, borrow a car, hire a car (instructors do this for learners). The whole thing seems silly, next time you get the car checked, the mechanic will fail it anyway.

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