If you’re anything like me, the last time you read the NSW Road Users’ Handbook was at the time you did your driving test. Regardless of the fact that I’ve had no training since, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks they are still a good driver who knows the road rules.
It’s usually when your children get older and you start to teach them how to drive that you suddenly sit back and realise that the rules have changed.
Take for instance the new rules about signalling at a roundabout. Back in the good old days, drivers only had to indicate when entering the roundabout. But these days when you exit a roundabout you must indicate to the left (unless it is not practical to do so).
What makes these rules so important is that they’re designed to keep us all safer on the roads. By indicating correctly and overtaking with care, we are all contributing to making our roads safer.
That’s why the State Government’s most recent announcement to make changes to the existing road rules from November 1 is so important. Not to mention that doing the wrong thing can attract fines and/or demerit points.
The Roads and Maritime Services (formally RTA) says that “…many of the changes are simply to clarify existing road rules and make them easier to understand.”* With that in mind it shouldn’t take you that much longer to read this blog and get a good understanding of the basic changes.
From 1st November, 2012 the road rule changes are as follows*:
- No holding your mobile phone in the car: The laws make it clear that a driver in a moving or stationary vehicle (unless parked) MUST NOT HOLD a phone in their hand other than to pass the phone to a passenger. A driver can only use a mobile phone to make or receive a phone call, while driving if the phone: (1) is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle, or (2) can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the phone, for example through the use of Bluetooth technology and is not resting on any part of the driver’s body.
- Any visual display unit must be fixed in the car: A visual display unit such as a GPS (including a mobile phone), may only be used in the car if it is secured in a commercially designed and manufactured fixed mounting. It must be positioned in the vehicle to not distract or obscure the driver’s view.
- You must signal on approach to a roundabout: You must indicate left or right on approach to the roundabout, to provide sufficient warning of intent to turn.
- If traffic lights at a roundabout are not working it should be treated like a normal roundabout and you must give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout.
- You cannot make a U-turns on a single continuous dividing line, single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line or two parallel continuous dividing lines.
- Exceptions to keeping to the left of a dividing line: Drivers are permitted to cross a single dividing line to enter or leave a road.
- You can now overtake a vehicle displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign if you’re planning to overtake on a multi-lane road/if the vehicle is signalling to turn right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road or is stationary, you may overtake to the LEFT only if it is safe to do so.
Please find a pdf of the changes to the rules from 1 November 2012 here.