Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules

Should slow cars keep left?

TEST-TIME: Use this list to cross your Ls and dot your Ps.

Updated on 23//2/2015: During Road Rules Awareness Week 2015 (23-27 Feb), road users are encouraged to phone the RMS contact centre on 13 22 13 to have their questions answered. Road safety experts can help provide advice. Road users are also invited to view the NSW Road Users Handbook.

Should slow cars keep left? Do you need to indicate at roundabouts? Are you allowed to drive through a yellow light?

These are The 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules in the state, according to Transport for NSW. Download the pamphlet, check out these videos or read the summary below.

1. ROUNDABOUTS: Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicators when turning left, right or making a U-turn, but not when going straight ahead (as this would mislead other drivers into thinking you are going left or right). When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or even going straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so (when travelling straight ahead on a small single lane roundabout, it may be impractical to indicate left when exiting).

2. GIVING WAY TO PEDESTRIANS: If a driver is turning left or right at an intersection, the driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing the road the driver is entering. This applies to intersections with and without traffic lights.

3. MOBILE PHONES: A mobile phone can only be used while driving if it’s secured in a commercially designed and manufactured mounting fixed to the vehicle or operated by Bluetooth technology or voice activation. This includes the navigational or GPS function and audio functions of the device.

4. MERGING: When a driver is travelling on a road without lane markings and the number of lanes is reduced, they must merge by giving way to any vehicle that is ahead of them. However a driver who is moving from one lane, marked by broken lines (whether or not the lane is ending) to another must give way to any vehicle already travelling in the same direction.

5. KEEPING LEFT: On roads with a speed limit of more than 80km/h, motorists must not drive in the right-hand lane unless overtaking, turning right or making a U-turn, avoiding an obstacle or driving in congested traffic. If a ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ sign is displayed, then you must keep left regardless of the speed limit.

6. HEADLIGHT AND FOG LIGHT USE: High beam is not permitted if travelling less than 200 metres behind a car going in the same direction or less than 200 metres from an oncoming vehicle. It is an offence to flash the vehicle’s headlights unless the vehicle is being used to respond to an emergency. A driver is only permitted to use fog lights if driving in fog, mist or other atmospheric condition that restricts visibility.

7. U-TURNS: When making a U-turn a driver must have a clear view of any approaching traffic and give way to all vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn across: a) a single continuous dividing line; b) a single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line; c) two parallel continuous dividing lines.

8. SAFE FOLLOWING DISTANCE: Drivers should stay three seconds behind vehicles in front of them. In poor conditions such as rain, gravel roads or dim light, it may be necessary to increase the travelling distance to four seconds to increase the crash avoidance space.

9. SCHOOL ZONES: A school zone is the area around a school with a speed limit of 40km/h normally from 8am to 9.30am and between 2.30pm and 4pm on school days. Details on NSW gazetted school days can be located here. There are a small number of non-standard school zone times in NSW. These zones are identified by red/orange school zone signs which indicate non-standard times. Signs at these schools display the times which apply.

10. YELLOW TRAFFIC LIGHTS: A driver approaching traffic lights showing a yellow traffic light must stop if they can do so safely. Penalties apply for drivers who fail to stop at a yellow light, unless it is unsafe to do so.

How did you go? Do many NSW drivers misunderstand these rules

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326 thoughts on “Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules

  1. When I was watching the news or a Current Affair I am sure they were saying you must use your indicator whether you are turning left, right, u turn and driving through a roundabout. They were commenting on the number of people being booked for not using right and left indicators when going through the roundabout. Now I am really confused!!!

    • if you are going straight ahead you must turn your left blinker on when exiting the roundabout or for that matter anytime you are exiting the round about

      • What the hell you people talking about??? The instructions are pretty clear about Roundabouts… It says:
        ” a) Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicators when turning or making a U-turn.

        b) There is no requirement for drivers to signal when approaching the roundabout, if they are going straight ahead.”

        It means IF YOU ARE TURNING ANY SIDE (left or right) OR MAKING A U-TURN, give indicator………….. IF YOU ARE GOING STRAIGHT, there is no need of the indicator.


        • That’s right TM, if you are going straight ahead there is no need to indicate when APPROACHING the roundabout. You ARE required to indicate a left turn when you are about to EXIT the roundabout. Time to get off your high horse.

          • What about double laned roundabouts and you are in the inside lane going straight on (I think you should indicate then) but other wise if you go straight no you shouldn’t as it would get confusing.

            Maybe in NSW there are no double laned roundabouts but in Victoria there are and I think what I stated above is the convention.

            • Charles, there are many 2 laned roundabouts, and many near accidents because of that fact! Drivers on the outside lane should (in my opinion) be in that lane ONLY to turn left or drive straight through, NOT turn right like many that I have encountered!! So annoying!

              • Confusion upon confusion! When I was learning to drive, the ‘outside’ lane was the overtaking lane, and the ‘inside’ lane was the one closest to the road edge as it was said that you pulled ‘in’ to the gutter. This was before the introduction of round-abouts which now makes these expressions redundent. Perhaps the description: ‘overtaking lane’ and hence ‘undertaking lane’ are more graphic. Comments?

                • Inside and Outside lane aren’t really used any more. The lanes are numbered from the gutter with lane 1 being the gutter lane, lane 2 the centre lane and lane 3 being the overtaking/fast lane on a 3 lane road. Same thing lane 1 & 2 on 2 lane roads. Much easier. Inside/Outside and Nearside/offside – too confusing.

                • I agree with you Steve, it was ALWAYS inside lane closest to the gutter… i’ve never heard them been referred to as Lane 1 or Lane 2 or Lane 3… If they can’t get the basics right and consistent then how the hell are we suppose to be consistent on the roads.

                  The problem that i have with indicating “left” when exiting a roundabout is that the people on the right of me… eg in the lane coming from the opposite direction WON’T be able to see my left indicator nor the people in the 3rd exit (if i was making a right hand turn) so the left hand indicator is OVERKILL, for no good reason… the people behind me or beside me should stay in their lanes. If i was turning right i would indicate thus, if i was turning left, i would also indicate accordingly anything else is just CONFUSING, i prolly would freak the person out that is beside me as they would think that i was trying to move into their lane!

            • On double lane roundabouts, signal and use the right lane to turn right, the left lane to go straight head no need to signal but you could as courtesy so others can safely enter the roundabouts ;)

            • If you are going straight in a double lane roundabout, in the left lane, you do not indicate to leave until you are about half way through the roundabout, so you have already passed the road that you could have turned left on.

            • Graham is correct- the road rules state that a vehicle must indicate left when exiting a roundabout. (i.e. as soon as you have passed the previous exit)

          • so graham gets confused when he sees a car going straight through a round about with no indicator, what are you thinking um is he gonna turn

            • The problem is that many do turn without indicating.

              At least if the driver heading straight through indicates left prior to exiting (as legally required) it is safer to assume they are not completely incompetent and Graham could enter the roundabout sooner.

              It is just (un)common courtesy and it is not hard to do.

          • Local confusion – the ROAD veers right off the roundabout tho it is the same street but there is no “new” street to the right. Amazing how many folk indicate they are turning “right” while actually continuing “straight” along the same road – Greenaway Dr, Banora Pt. Wonder if they indicate on every twist and turn if there is no roundabout? Of course, every now and then some actually turns right to make a U turn and confusion reigns.

        • This is on the RTA web site
          When exiting a roundabout, whether turning left, right or even straight ahead, drivers must always indicate a left turn just before exiting. unless it is not practical to do so. This requirement has not changed.
          And this on the NRMA site
          Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicators when turning or making a U-turn. There is no requirement for drivers to signal when approaching the roundabout, if they are going straight ahead.
          So what going on here ? Maybe we call the Cops and see what they have to say ,
          My way is when you turn left or right you must give a signal and if you are going straight you do not need to give a signal it’s the same as a intersection you turn you signal going straight you don’t signal > i have been driving Trucks for near 20 years with a good track record and i will stick to my way that make sense

          • When entering a roundabout you must indicate left or right turns . If going strait ahead no indicator is required .. When EXITING the roundabout the left indicator must be used at all times including the car going straight ahead . Simple . What’s confusing about that

        • Drivers entering a roundabout and intending to turn either left or right, must give sufficient warning to other road users by signalling before entering the roundabout. The image below illustrates this.

          Previously a driver had to indicate only when entering the roundabout.

          When exiting a roundabout, whether turning left, right or even straight ahead, drivers must always indicate a left turn just before exiting. unless it is not practical to do so. This requirement has not changed. >RTA WEB SITE

        • Not that simple. The concept of going straight ahead implies 180 degrees. These angles can vary slightly or vastly.

        • WRONGL Rules says: When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or even going straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so

        • TM

          Go to the RTA and get the facts right .When exiting a roundabout if you are going straight through, you indicate so, by using your left indicator as you are about half way through. and do you know typing in capitals is offensive and so was your post as it is incorrect. wish i knew what you drove as I would stay away from you as you need more lessons mate.

          • I once was at traffic lights waiting my turn into a shopping centre. Just seconds before they changed to green I had a fit of sneezing. so did not scream off as the car behind me full of hoons wanted me to, so I got the blast of the car horn. I still had one sneeze to go so so hesitated all for about 15 seconds and once again got the horn blowing. I pulled into the centre and they parked nearby. I walked up to them ( I am 75yrs old woman) and said I just want to let you know your horn works, would you like to test your lights now?

          • typing in capitals is offensive ..??
            Hmm Should Practise what you Preach :)
            Quoted: from a previous message you wrote above :)
            “It means IF YOU ARE TURNING ANY SIDE (left or right) OR MAKING A U-TURN, give indicator………….. IF YOU ARE GOING STRAIGHT, there is no need of the indicator.

            SIMPLE AS THAT.”

        • If the instructions are so clear, why have you got it wrong?

          When approaching;
          Indicate if turning left, right or doing a U-turn.

          When leaving;
          Always indicate left before you leave.

        • When approaching a roundabout – NO
          When Exit-ing, Left, Right or Straight ahead – YES

          Quoted from above…

          “When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or even going straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit”

        • Not so, TM. Have another read of the above instruction re ‘Roundabouts’. Even when going straight through you must indicate where practicable a left indicator when exiting (even if your progress is straight across!).

      • @ Anonymous, Which bit do you find so hard to understand!!! Did you just totally ignore what was written???? UNLESS YOU ARE TURNING OR DOING A U-TURN YOU DO NOT PUT YOUR INDICATOR ON!!!!! its ignorant people like you who causes accidents

      • no u dont that applies on big roundabouts why would u turn on your left blinker as soon as u get in the roundabout dumb

      • the only logical thing to do is use commonsense, you dont need an indicator ona single lane roundabout if your going straight through, taking a simple thing and making it way complicated

    • A Current Affair not only got the round-a-bout rule wrong, they also got the rules for pedestrians wrong. They said pedestriains are allowed to enter the intersection while the lights are flashing red and they must stop entering the intersection when the lights stop flashing. The law actually says that pedestrain are not to enter the intersection as soon as the light turns red. The flashing light is to warn pedestrians on the intersection that they must clear the intersection as quickly as possible. This is to ensure that the intersection clears to allow vehicles to turn left or right.

      This is one of the biggest restrictions to traffic flow in the CBD, pedestrains entering intersection after the lights have turned red and not clearing the intersection quickly.

      • All this says is that Current Affair is unreliable and you should take advice from either the Police or the RMS. My concern is the 3 second rule. Try leaving 3 seconds between you and the car in front and there’ll soon be 4 cars in the gap! Who is the “offender” in such a situation, me or the person who shaved my 3 seconds down to one?

        • The “Three Second Rule” is there for the driver that will look and count three seconds then either slow down or move up depending on the “Distance” between you and the car in front.
          My concern is how long is three seconds when counting as you cant look at your watch?
          When I drive, I consider actual distance between cars, depending on speed, traffic flow and road conditions.
          Eveyone should know what is a “safe distance” travelling and leave that little extra for emergencies.
          My view and thanks for reading.

          • The prescribed method (by the police, the [former] RTA and most if not all professional driving instructors) of determining 3 seconds is to count ‘one thousand, two thousand, three thousand’ at normal speaking speed (not racing). I was taught to count seconds this way when I learned to drive 30 years ago, so it’s not new or radical. First aid training bodies like St John Ambulance and Red Cross have used similar methods for at least that long to teach people how to pace their chest compressions for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if you were wondering).

            • Thanks Melissa.

              It was my sarcasm writing that blog as I too know the three second rule. My message was how many drivers take the time to count three seconds between vehicles. Judging safe distances is certainly quicker and more effective to a driver than trying to count each time they sit behind a vehicle.

          • don’t worry it’s not a race, so it doesn’t matter if 4 cars have moved into the gap you left. In fact that’s the way things should work. Next time when you are driving to work on the freeway and going past an on-ramp, leave a gap so they can actually get onto the freeway? If more people did that, the traffic would flow more smoothly and you would actually get to where you are going faster.

            • 3 seconds – yeah – I remember being driven to Uni in the 80s by my dad in the morning peak – we would often muse about getting to Uni more quickly if we were to obey the 3 second rule – it would work like this: Do a U-turn – using the correct signals – particularly if at a roundabout ;-) and then proceed to reverse every time some one jumped into the 3 second gap Dad left. We reckon we would cut our travelling time in half (although we figured the car would need a bullbar on the back). Please note – this is not a serious suggestion – just intended to point out a problem with setting road rules in an environment where drivers “think they know better”.

              Things are not so different 30 years later – people in cities are still in way too much of a hurry – think I’ll move to the Philippines – no road rules – lots of traffic – but they drive with an attitude of “let’s work this out” (with lots of tooting and waving hands – without any road rage) rather than the Aussie “It’s my road, I paid for it and get the h@ll out of my way!”

              As for me, I’ll continue to indicate left as I leave a roundabout – no matter which way I was required to indicate on approach – and I’ll continue to collect surprised faces EVERY time I do so! Once or twice I have been thanked by someone waiting to enter where I was departing – my left indication allowed them to safely enter …

              At the end of the day, there are 2 ways to drive: (1) In a manner courteous to other road users; or (2) In a manner to enforce your “rights”, which often seems to include blowing horns, yelling and gesticulating.

              It is surprising how many of these 10 road rules are simply an expression of how to be courteous to other road users – but in discussing how they apply in the real world, I’m not sure too many of the comments have been written in a courteous manner.

              I do hope you all arrive home safely, even those who refuse to indicate correctly at round about and keep jumping into my safe distance …


          • Very wise. Tail-gating is rife – it is pointless (and dangerous and rude) to drive so closely in traffic or out on the highway because you’ll get there regardless (plus or minus a few minutes) by keeping a safe distance.
            It’s not MY road, it is to be shared.

            • My Commodore automatic rolls pretty fast with NO accelarator if you are one of these people who are incredibly slow I will NOt be using my brakes until I have to in teh interest of teh environment and my brakes. Hence I will be up your bum. If you can’t do 50 in a 50 zone or 70 in a 70 zone please pull over.

        • I used to drive a ****** one tonne truck that had the worst brakes ever. I would try to leave a long gap in front for the safety of other drivers but had sports cars cutting in and jumping on their brakes. These sports cars could stop in 1/3 the distance that I needed. Then there were times when I carried a fragile load and could only drive slowly and needed to stop gently. This type of driving was only for a short time and distance (cant make money if I drove like that all day) but the abuse was like I had stopped the world. Put cameras on the approach to intersections and book the “cutters”. I know how semi trailers feel and many others who need a bit of courtesy.

            • Ignoramus…. Hate to tell ya mate, but trucks and buses cannot stop as quickly as cars. It’s a physical impossibility. You need to stop thinking about yourself and show some courtesy. If you don’t appreciate how much braking distance a heavy vehicle needs, you have no place on the road. The law for heavy vehicles is to remain 60 metres apart, so don’t put yourself between heavies. BTW, this is from the RMS website: “Take extra care when you enter a road or change lanes in front of a heavy vehicle. Leave plenty of road space, as their additional weight also requires greater slowing distance.”

              • Yep jonp is right. I drive a horse truck and cannot stop as quickly as the small car. It is all to do with the momentum of the larger mass. Also my horses don’t appreciate it if I slam my brakes on because some idiot has taken the big space in front of me. I will not risk their safety because someone does not know how to drive around larger vehicles.

      • Most pedestrians don’t understand the flashing red light, and seem to take it as “make a run for it” when they are still 20 or more back from the crossing. There is no need for a flashing red light; a fixed green and fixed red will suffice. In some countries the green light flashes for a few seconds before a fixed red light.

    • Actually, I think the point most people are missing is WHY indicate left off a roundabout. Seems obvious to me that there are two reasons, the main one is that the poor sod who has been waiting to turn onto the roundabout can, if they know you are turning off, actually enter the roundabout in the space you are vacating. No doubt it also helps the bloke behind to know you are exiting. I hate when folk exit without indicating and traffic flow is slowed because the nex person entering misses the chance to do so.

      Of course, this also presumes we are travelling around the roundabout at a reasonable speed, hopefully less than say 20k when traffic is heavy. (Another hate is folk who approach the roundabout at 40-50k so you can’t enter even if they are yet to actually enter said roundabout.)

        • Your crap is crap – Bob is perfectly correct on both counts and is the main reason for roundabouts to exist at all – what on earth are you thinking?

          • The rule for signalling a left when exiting the roundabout, only makes sense for BIG roundabouts, which are rare in Sydney

            • Bob, you are spot on.

              Enno – what can we do about those ridiculous “roundabouts”? There are 2 on Quirk Road, Manly Vale – one is a normal size – although it pretty much obstructs the entire intersection so anything bigger than a smart car or a bicycle can’t go through the intersection without their wheels running over the edge.

              The second one looks like the council workers who put in the first one ordered about half a cube too much concrete for the first one and dropped it in the middle of the next intersection (maybe they took the corner too fast and it fell off without them knowing). Seriously, I’ve eaten pizzas that are bigger than that one.

      • YES YES YES thankyou Bob. I sit at roundabouts and watch oncoming traffic. If they indicate left and start to exit I can join the roundabout.

    • It’s really easy.
      On Approaching RAB
      If taking:
      1st exit LH blinker on
      2nd exit No blinker on
      3rd or greater exit RH blinker on.
      On leaving RAB
      LH blinker on AS SOON AS you PASS the last exit you don’t want. Don’t put it on before this or you will have people cutting in on you because they will think you are exiting at the previous junction.

      Especially don’t leave RH blinker on if you are about to take the next exit as you will fool other drivers into thinking you are continuing around the circle and if you are on the inside lane it is an open invitation for others to enter the RAB on the outside lane and you could be in for a nasty surprise.

    • You have every right to be confused Margaret. When the rules first came out it was said that you must have your right indicator on when entering a roundabout and then signal left when you are ready to leave the roundabout. It has got to the stage where it is necessary to look into the eyes of a driver to get an indication of what he/she is doing.

    • With regard to u turns. I was of the understanding that they were also FORBIDDEN at traffic lights. Everyday I see people doing this and it is really annoying. Sometimes they do it at very busy intersections like Pennant Hills Rd and the F3 (M1).

  2. Its simple, you want to go left use left blinker, straight no blinker however if its a large roundabout just use left blinker when you want to exit, if you are turning right use right blinker but change it to left just before you exit the roundabout, changing it from right to left allows others in the roundabout to know you are exiting so then they can enter it without having to guess if you are exiting or doing a complete u-turn. Most common misconception is having to give way to your right, while this is in most cases the case anyway the law is you give way to anybody who is already in the roundabout. Hope this helps, i am a police officer by the way.

    • The law is quite clear about giving way to the person that is past the dotted line at aroundabout but unfortunately very few drivers understand this rule and you are taking a risk if you try to inforce this rule. Do you have any idea how we could educate the drivers regarding this rule as on many occasions one can sit at a arondabout waiting for all the cars on your right to pass through before you proceed.

      • My recollection about giving way on roundabouts was that you had to give way to any other vehicle already on the roundabout, IF there was a danger of a collision. So in fact you don’t have to give way to a cars that may be already be on the roundabout if there is no danger. Otherwise we’d all be waiting for ever and causing a giant traffic jam!

        • Good one Doug,
          Agree and also add a momentum rule to keep the traffic flowing. If you slow to almost a stop it’s harder to enter the roundabout at a similar speed to that of the vehicle on the roundabout.

      • There may also be some confusion between roundabout sizes? I go through 5 small ones everyday, I don’t have time at 50km to turn my indicator either on when entering or on left when I exit in a straight line, when doing a 90deg turn there is time for both..also learnt the hard way not to drive straight over them!! … wasn’t you was it james?? as MY dad taught me..som 40 years ago…better to alive wrong than DEAD right..just take care out there!!

        • Alive wrong: you? Dead right: others? What a selfish thought! Remember, that dead right person could be one of your friends!!!

          • It means that it is better to be wrong and wait untill it is clear/safe to enter than to be right have the law on your side and drive high speed into it and end up many times have we all seen someone speed up to get into the roundabout to be the FIRST into it..especially from the right? At the end of the day the rules are to try and make it safer and more efficient for ALL of us.

          • A roundabout is simply an intersection so the rules and logic apply as with any intersection. When approaching the roundabout “slow down”, the roundabout is there because the intersection is a busy place, and /or probably a particularly hazardous one for some reason. The indicator is a communication device to “indicate” your intentions at the intersection. So tell everyone around the area, INCLUDING PEDESTRIANS what you are intending to do, by using the indicator properly. On approach, if turning left, indicate left; if turning right or doing a u-turn at the roundabout (which is legal), indicate right; if going straight ahead do NOT indicate on approach, as this is confusing.

            Give way to any vehicle in the roundabout if there is likely to be a collision. Remember you have slowed down already I hope, so that you can make the correct decision in time to act appropriately. That is what the roundabout is intended to achieve. Some give way to a vehicle close on the right, because that is the one you would most likely collide with if you enter the roundabout. Simple logic, but not the way a roundabout is intended to operate.

            The law requires you to indicate left “when leaving the roundabout”, in other words you are communicating your intentions to those around you, likely to be affected, including pedestrians. Straight forward logic.

            If you don’t have time to indicate left when leaving the roundabout, you are probably travelling too fast. The roundabout is there to remind all that it is an intersection that deserves careful driving, so speak to those around you with the indicator to let them know what you are doing. Don’t forget, cyclists, motor cyclistes and PEDESTRIANS share the roundabout. A roundabout is not a grand prix circuit, in which to compete with others for priority. Courtesy counts.

            • While signaling left when exiting a roundabout when driving straight through it is
              a. the law and
              b. a good idea
              I have in mind a very small single lane roundabout (which I use often) in a residential area. I would estimate that it is not more than two and a half (commodore) car lengths in diameter and has been constructed with a relative large centre section with a height less than a ‘speed hump’, so that emergency vehicles and school buses can drive straight across it – and it is almost impossible not to drive across it oneself.
              In this instance, when driving through it, it is quite impractical to signal left on exit after even the nose of the vehicle has passed the centre point of the ‘first’ exit, since the vehicle is then almost into the road opposite the entry point. The roundabout has only three entrances/exits so there is no left hand exit to pass when crossing in the opposite direction!
              I often wonder why it was not left as the T intersection that it really is.

        • Singalling at a roundabout is no different to signalling at an indentical intersection without a roundabout, except for signalling left when you exit to your chosen road. Signalling left and right turns is MANDATORY (ie. the law) every time you wish to turn from one road into another, from a road into a driveway or parking spot, or from a driveway or parking spot into a road. EVERY TIME. There is almost no excuse for not signalling left and right turns, whether for a roundabout or a normal intersection. Turn signals are supposed to be given at least 30 metres before the intersection. This is not difficult, every learner going for their P plates manages it – if they want to actually get their Ps. Also you should be slowing down as you approach intersections anyway, to check that it is safe to proceed – another little remembered road law: the speed limit in any and all intersections is in fact 30km per hour.

          • I see you dont drive through many roundabouts. If you did you would realise that not all roundabouts are the same. some are too small to be able to indicate both entry and exit with 30 meters ahead of your turn.

        • Peter, what the hell are you doing on a roundabout at 50km an hour. This is why people on your left can’t enter even though it is their right to do so. It’s not the fastest to enter, it’s the first who has the right of way. If you hit someone coming in slowly from the left because you’re entering too fast, it’s your fault. I see morons like you everyday and I’ll be aiming straight for you if you do it to me.

        • If you slow down to a reasonable speed,you can indicate when exiting.I go through small round-a-bouts and have no trouble using the indicator.I also acknowledge those who indicate when leaving because it let’s others know what they are doing.Keeps the traffic flowing.

        • The smallest round-a-bout I go around can only fit one car at a time going in the same direction.I can indicate when exiting.People need to slow down on approach then they will be able to indicate on any round-a-bout.50 ks is way to fast to be going through a round-a-bout.Try slowing down and see how easy it is.

      • Aberford my old brain was finally enlightened when the “Clarification” of rules came out – you must indicate left when exiting any roundabout “if possible”. This to me means those pissy little roundabouts that got squeezed into the road or the dogbone roundabouts both of which you are still trying to turn the car when the exit comes are exempt as the indicator will not stay on while you are still turn the steering wheel.

      • What confuses everyone is the “unless it is unpracticable” part of the rule. You do not have enough time to put your left blinker on half way around small roundabouts. I think the left blinker rule works on large roundabouts ONLY !
        BADLY interpreted by many drivers. Now I see left and right blinkers from drivers going straight ahead BEFORE the roundabout…….

      • everyone should slow down > but no they want to beat each others to the round a bout and this is why there is a problem with motorist using a round a bout

        • Perhaps they should put speed humps on the approaches to roundabouts to slow people down. There used to be a few with written signs saying “give way to traffic already in roundabout” to remind drivers of the rules.

    • Thanks, you did not mention while exiting small round about, so far I know, in case of small round about while exiting give left signal if it is convenient, otherwise exit left without giving signal.

      • I think simply put “courtesy to other road users”. So if it is possible to indicate your intention to leave the roundabout, then do so (the smaller the roundabout, the harder it is to indicate left while still on the roundabout). Also, as approaching, slow down, even if you are on the “major road”. Too many drivers think they have a magical right of way because they are travelling with the main flow of traffic – that is not what the road rules say – all vehicles are equal as they come to a roundabout. Imagine how nice it would be if everyone drove giving way to others – rather than the Aussie way of making others give way to us? Play some John Lennon while you are driving … :-)

  3. Headlights/Foglights get it right you lot,tell the knobs in car land that it is illegal to run with them on unless they are in low vis/smoke or fog conditions.

  4. When I first learned to drive, my Father impressed upon me that as well as thoroughly knowing all the road rules, I should always use common sense when driving. Things like anticipating that some drivers will turn or change lanes without signaling or looking, not giving right-of-way or just generally driving dangerously.
    This additional (unspoken) road rule has served me well for quite a few decades on both two and four wheels and is one I would recommend to all.

      • And isn’t it nice when you do something stupid (as we all do from time to time) and then realise that but for the other person (who was driving with common sense and anticipation), you may have had an accident? That happened to me at the age of 18 – and impressed on me those same lessons you mention that my dad also taught me. 30 years on, when I drive I look for every opportunity to make the roads a safer place – even pulling over to let a tail-gater pass – he is only going to get more heated and more dangerous the longer he is driving behind me. I wish we were not always in such a hurry – so far my life has not come to an end if I have arrived a minute or 2 late.

  5. when approaching a round-about with a left handed sweep on the approach and you intend to go right the is a good chance that doing this constantly will break your blinker mechanism . they are ment to turn off when the wheel goes in the opposite direction…i think this rule needs to be looked at

    • I have also long been aware of the danger to the blinker stalk from trying to put on right blinker when there is a left kick before a roundabout (or the necessity to reapply if it cancels because of the kick). So my policy is to not apply blinker until I have made the left kick and pretty well straightened up to enter the roundabout.

    • Why is it that there is always a “good” excuse for not doing it and never one for doing it from a lot of people. This is complete rot what you are saying about breaking your indicator stalk on a “sweeper”. I have done what has now been put into law for many years, well for at least 5, as a common courtesy to other drivers and surprisingly having travelled many tens of thousands of kilometres in numerous models of cars and trucks have not broken one indicator stalk. Cant see what your whinging about, try and let commonsense prevail!!

  6. 3 seconds! in Sydney traffic!

    How about rules like Green Means Go!
    Or. Drive for others as well as yourself.
    Drive with purpose, because you are more likely to have an accident the longer you are on the road (note that does not mean speed) Plus it will mean you are paying attention.

    Honestly Sydney roads are so congested all day that Sydney drivers need to learn advanced driving methods.

  7. OK; I’ll accept left blinker to exit roundabout, but I’m finding it hard to accept that we are NOT to give way to our right, but to give way to whoever is currently on the roundabout; as I understand it, that is the road ruling.

    Today, I thought I’d try this out. I approached one empty roundabout but there were three vehicles approaching the roundabout on my right. I could see by the manner in which they were approaching the roundabout, it was apparent that the leading vehicle had every intention of entering the roundabout and cruising straight through, in front of me, and expecting me to give way. I could have legally proceeded to enter the roundabout, but I think the consequences might have been sad.

    On another occasion, I approached a roundabout where a vehicle was waiting on my right for a vehicle to pass in front of it and continue down the way I had just come, so I took my opportunity and proceeded straight through the roundabout to the other side, remembering of course to put my left blinker on as I was exiting. :) Had I chosen to obey the rules of the roundabout, I would have had to wait for the vehicle to leave the roundabout, then allowed the vehicle on my right to continue, by which time someone else will have likely entered the roundabout, and so on. I thought these things were meant to assist traffic flow at intersections?

    It seems to me that the rule states one thing, but the general driver attitude is to yield to the give way to the right ruling, which has worked well in Australia for decades – long before roundabouts were ever thought of. Who follows the ruling, and who follows the give way to the right?

    • I usually assume that any driver on my right when I am approaching a roundabout is ignorant of the rule to give way to those already in the roundabout. Therefore, even if I get to the roundabout first, I give way to him/her if there is any danger that he/she will hit me!

      • that’s the problem with roundabouts, nobody slows down when approaching it. Most drivers believe that everyboby has to give way to the right, so the plough through and on these stupid small roundabouts, you could be waiting for ages, or you can push in and get honked at. I hate ignorant “roundabout drivers”

        • Too true, Wollongong drivers are the worst in Australia. They either give way too anyone in 1 kilometre radius or barge at you when on the round about. They never keep left whatever the speed limit. They love to block all lanes.

    • My experience has been that if I am waiting at a roundabout which someone else is approaching on my right, and therefore have right of way, and proceed to enter the roundabout, I will be subjected to an angry blast on the horn (itself an offence) from the driver who was about to break the law by cutting me off – even if he or she was third in a line of vehicles who have serially committed this offence.

  8. What about Overtaking on the Left? I have had some scares on the F3 in recent years with other drivers weaving in and out of the left lane to overtake vehicles in the centre lane. If I overtake on the right and return to the centre lane, do I have to yield to another vehicle overtaking on the left at the same time? Who’s at fault when we collide?
    I had an incident turning left into my own driveway where an RX-7 that was tailgating me up the street accelerated up the inside as I swung out (slowly with left indicator flashing) from the chicane to enter my driveway. Fortunately she only hit the front wheel of my car, but on my questioning her judgement she explained vigorously with a unique collection of 4-letter adjectives why I shouldn’t have a license – then screeched off at high speed down our 50km/h street…
    I checked the rules about overtaking on the left, but there’s no clear indication whether it’s allowed or not.

    • If someone is able to overtake you on the left and the speed is over 80 km/h i.e. on a freeway then I believe YOU are at fault. So if 2 cars are merging from left and right into the centre then it would seem the car on the right is at fault. I don’t know of any rules where the limit is 80 km/h or below.

      • Robbo,
        if two cars are merging from left and right into the centre, the leading vehicle has right of way just like merging. If the vehicle on the right hand side has his car’s front say 300 mm for example ahead of the car merging from left then the right hand car has right of way, if this scenario is reversed left hand car ahead then the left hand car has right of way.

        • The offence of undertaking was indeed removed from the UK Road Traffic Act in 1972, however, do not kid yourself that you can undertake as you please and that it has the same legal standing as in Australia, also keep in mind that unlike Australia it is illegal to sit in the right hand lane in the UK, if the left lane(s) are clear you are required to pull over, UK Police take a dim view of deliberate undertaking but there are occasions where it is allowed such as If your lane is moving faster than the outside and you are keeping up with the flow then yes you can undertake, but you can’t weave in and out of lanes overtaking on the right and left as you please, or go belting down the left hand lane on a dual carriageway undertaking everything in the right hand lane, at best you would get a ticket for undue care and attention or if he was really feeling mean one for dangerous driving. It would be very unwise to advise someone who is going to visit the UK and hire a car that it is legal to undertake, technically it is but it is not the same as in Australia, far from it.

      • So Graham you are one of those who occupy the centre lane. You are telling me that if I am driving observing the law while travelling 110km in the left lane, I cannot go pass a p plater, or a car towing a trailer, or a car with a caravan who insists on occupying the centre lane without changing to the outer lane and become a “lane weaver” that everyone complains about. What part of “keep left” don’t you understand!

    • There’s also the fact that any vehicle being overtaken has the right of way. ie if someone is overtaking you on the right as you make a right hand turn and you collide, they are at fault. Likewise to the left. This is the same for boats an planes.

      • However, if there are marked traffic lanes one may not change lanes unless it is safe to do so. Therefore, one may not move into a left hand lane if someone is attempting to overtake in that lane at that time.

    • Mate, in Nowra the princes Highway goes right through town in dual carriageways. Speed limit 60/70 km/hour, everybody sits in the right hand lane going both directions, even coming out of side streets directly across one lane to drive in the right hand lane. Their speeds vary so often there is literally a stream of slow traffic going bumper to bumper in the right lane. Guess I am breaking the law by travelling at the speed limit and passing these folk by driving in the left hand lane. It seems illogical in these conditions not to pass them!

    • Why are you driving in the middle lane??? Are you overtaking anyone??? Is the traffic bumper to bumper ??? YOU are breaking the law. KEEP LEFT MEANS KEEP LEFT, NOT DRIVE IN THE SECOND LANE!!! That is why it is legal to drive in Lane 1 at 110kms and morons are driving in Lanes 2 & 3 at 105kms or 108kms or 100kms and are seemingly being overtaken on the left however if you obeyed the road rules they would change lanes to their right and overtake you
      Rule 129 ??? a, b, and c KEEP TO THE LEFT

    • Common sense mostly, but as far as a policeman is concerned common sense is irelevant. The law is to be obeyed to the letter.

  9. My problem is that you still need a law degree to work out what the rules say. Take the roundabout rules. This explanation is very careful to say that it relates to the situation APPROACHING a roundabout; we have recently been told though that you must ALWAYS signal that you intend to turn left when you are LEAVING a roundabout. Simple? Try explaining to a couple of people I know that you have to signal LEFT when you are completing a RIGHT turn and leaving a roundabout.

  10. Chris, if you are on F3 and are overtaken on the left then you are not obeying the keep left rule.. it is not Keep in the Centre lane rule!

    • Thing is, I always try to avoid overtaking on the left myself, so if I’m on cruise control at 110km/h (sometimes a few k higher) and come up to a car in the centre lane doing a few km/h less, I look for a chance to overtake on the right. Problem is when some other car doing 120 gets frustrated and overtakes us both on the left – it’s not always easy to keep an eye on that guy 2 lanes over when you’re changing back into centre lane.

      • You should not have any lane on your left. You are in an overtaking lane, that is lane hogging and a traffic offence The driver who passed you in the driving lane ( lane 1) is totally in the right as it is not an offense to undertake.

    • In heavy traffic passing on the left happens a lot, and is not necessarily illegal. You are not obliged to move out of the centre lane if you deem that the available space is not sufficient for safety.

    • Actually, no we don’t. If we did, these laws would be enforced, which they are shamefully not.
      It was only on my way to work tonight when I had two idiots wanting to run into me – the first came into my lane cornering, the second came into my lane in front of me, without signalling (until I blew the horn at the idiot to say “I’m here”). Only then did I see an indicator used – when the lane change was nearly complete. Then on top of all this, this same idiot proceeded to turn right, right in front of me !!!

      Good thing I’ve got a cam in my car, to catch these idiots’ behaviour if I ever need to show it to the authorities. I’ve also started uploading them to youtube. No one is exempt.

    • Sorry but u-turns are permitted at traffic lights WHEN there is a sign saying that you can. We have those signs here in the ACT. We also have a plethora of roundabouts, big and small, and the use/non-use of indicators is enough to send most sane people crazy. Remember to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout, enter if it is safe and indicate when coming off – I don’t think the rules can be any clearer.

    • Interestingly,
      in NSW, U-turns are NOT permitted at traffic light – unless there is a sign permitting this.
      In Victoria, U-turns ARE permitted at traffic lights – unless there is a sign prohibiting this.

      I know not the situation in other States!

  11. Break the blinker mechanism, what a load of codswallop, driving around roundabout’s in Australia and Europe/UK for 20 years in a multitude of passenger vehicles new and old, and have never broken one yet. Certainly have a problem on some small single lane roundabouts where one road is major or busier dominating the traffic flow. This can be controlled by engineering to slow the traffic speed and or angle of approach, slow in – faster out. Not enough thought or design goes into all roundabouts.

  12. Does “a speed limit of more than 80km/h” mean “80 and above” (which makes sense given the sort of road that has a limit of exactly 80), or is it to be taken literally as MORE than 80 (which in practice means “90 and above”, given there are no roads with a limit of 81 or 85)?

    • I saw a reference from a senior policeman once saying “80 and above”, but the words are “above 80″. So you do NOT have to keep left in an 80k zone.

      • …unless it’s sign posted “Keep Left Unless Overtaking” – even then people don’t obey this, so they deserve to be booked….shame I’m not in the Highway Patrol – I’d book every selfish idiot for not changing lanes without indicating,not changing lanes safely, not keeping left unless overtaking, tailgating, speeding (of course)…and generally having no idea what they’re doing on the road in the first place.

        • The simple solution would be to have 10 police patrols that get paid on commission only (no wages)travelling throughout the state in unmarked cars. Or pay for DASH CAMS that result in convictions.

      • NO “more than 80 km/h” does NOT mean “at or more than 80km/h”. It is referring to the posted speed limit which can be 40km/h, 50km/h. 60 km/h, 70 km/h, 80km/h, 90 km/h, 100km/h or 110 km/h in NSW.

        So if the posted speed limit is 40, 50, 60, 70, 80km/h then you do not have to keep left unless overtaking UNLESS there are signs saying “Keep left unless overtaking”.

        Any posted speed limit of 90, 100 or 110km/h you are required to keep left unless overtaking regardless.

        Quite simple really.

  13. What are trucks doing on the inner lanes? M5 4 lanes its the trucks holding up the traffic (specialy container and car freighters) NOTE in ie Holland ALL trucks must stay in the outer lane No if or buts
    Can you see how our Ozzie freeway mentality works on the German autobann What are L platers doing on the 2nd or 3rd lane????? Its slow traffic KEEP tou the outer lane unless you are fed up with life…….COMMON SENCE

  14. Common Sense, Indicate when leaving a roundabout only in multi lane roundabouts.
    Keep left if not overtaking, I am 65 and been driving for many years now,
    And give way to everyone if necessary.
    On reading this survey, There are a lot of people there who should not be driving.
    If in doubt of the rules ask the NRMA or similar.

    • Paul,

      Indicating left to exit single lane roundabouts is still required as it gives other road users your intended movement. I would like to see your left indicator if I was waiting to enter a small roundabout opposite you, if only to reassure me that you are not continuing to turn right (across my nose) while ignoring the right hand indicator rule.

    • Who told you it was only for multi-lane roundabouts? Making up you own rules, even if they seem like common sense, is downright dangerous.

  15. What about the other road rules that everyone seems to follow but aren’t in any of the books?

    1 No matter what speed you are doing when driving in a single lane, always increase it by 10-15kph when you get to a double lane.
    Don’t forget to slow down to your previous speed as soon as the double lanes end.

    2 Always accelerate if another vehicle indicates or begins to overtake you.
    Follow them after they have passed for the next 2-3 minutes before settling back to your preferred speed.

    3 No matter how easy the corner you are approaching, always brake or at least slow down as you approach it.

    4 If you are driving a large 4WD and towing a large caravan, horse float etc., always use your headlights to make sure oncoming traffic can see you coming.
    Make sure you have not adjusted your lights so that the weight of your load tips them up directly into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

    5 When you are being followed by numbers of other vehicles and passing a slower vehicle on a short length of double lane road, always pass at no more than the posted speed limit, or at least stop travelling faster than the slow vehicle, once you have pulled alongside the other vehicle.
    This will ensure that all those other drivers the slow vehicle has been holding up till now are not able to pass it with you.

    6 When turning onto a major road from a side road or driveway pull out in front of any approaching vehicle and travel at least 20kph less than the speed limit.
    This only applies if you are going to turn off in the next half to one kilometre down the road.

    7 When travelling on a double lane road and passing a slower vehicle, always drive right up behind them and pull out to overtake at the last moment to make sure your vehicle has filled their mirrors.
    Cut back in as soon as possible, especially if it is raining and you are able to douse them in your spray.

    • Here here, Lee. I agree with every point you have made. Don’t you hate it when the majority of drivers speed up when getting to overtaking lanes on single lane roads, only to slow down again at the end of the overtaking lanes. Northern rivers Pacific highway comes to mind…

    • too true on all points Lee

      pity the police cant police the idiots who drive by these rules

      i’ve had trucks pull out from side streets.
      am i invisible or do they need their eyes tested ?

    • And just for fun,
      1 A new that requires ANY vehicle to stop and let traffic caught behind it to pass if it is travelling at less than 85% of the speed limit. Further, all cars that have more than 10 cars behind it must stop and let them pass.
      2 All vehicles that have traffic behind them at the beginning of a “passing lane” must slow by 50% to let the traffic pass.
      3 Overtaking lanes to have a distance to the reduction to single lane and the slow lane to have right of way at end of overtaking lane (150m).
      4 On an overtaking lane the fast lane (No2 lane) overtaking cars allowed an extra 20kmph to complete the overtaking maneuver, ie on an overtaking lane the speed limit in lane 2 would be 120 if conditions permit.
      5 Tourists must be mindful of local traffic commuting to work and get out of the way. It is not safe to drive at 85kmph on a road where commuters drive at 100kmph every day to work. Overtaking is the greatest danger to everybody.
      6 Every car to have a GPS to obtain a more accurate indication of actual speed.
      7 Every car to have a cruise control for those boring long drives so every car will travel at the same speed
      8 Absolutely no overtaking where there are or there has been road works. This is easy to know because there will be the sound of stones hitting the underside of the car.
      9 If you are unlucky and hit a kangaroo (or other animal) stop and remove the animal from the road or call for help to do so. DO NOT leave the animal on the road because it may cause a head on collision as drivers dodge and weave around it.
      10 Leave 10 minutes early and be patient with the car in front because you don’t know what is happening inside it and it may need to overtake you soon after you overtake it.

      • How about forget “give way to the right” this was out what 30 years ago and people still sit at roundabouts an s wait for a car that is 15 metres away from the roundabout on their right to then enter and cross before they enter themselves. SO dumb!


        btw I learnt nothing in this revelatory articles but it sure has been fund reading some of the retarded and some of the funny comments.

  16. I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but no one is ever going to get booked for failing to indicate left when leaving a roundabout. Why not? Because the policeman who books you has to prove that it was practicable for you to do so – you do not have to prove it wasn’t. How would they do that?

  17. I really have difficulty with some of these rules, or at least the way they are explained in the article above.
    Rule 2 -Giving Way to pedestrians when turning at an intersection: This implies, but does not state, that there is an authorised pedestrian crossing place at the intersection! Most times, if the intersection is controlled by traffic lights, there is such a crossing and giving way to pedestrians is required (even those who start off after the red “don’t cross” light is on!).
    Rule 10 – Yellow traffic lights – who determines when it is safe to stop? Taking a clue from Rule 8, if you are within 2 seconds’ travel time (at the local max legal road speed) and the green light changes to amber, then you should proceed through the amber. Even at or just beyond 2 seconds, if you have 40 or 50 tonnes of semi-trailer close behind (and, yes, that happens too often for comfort!), it is a good idea to keep going through the amber! T o stay safe, you should always drive within the limits imposed by traffic rules, within your own capabilities, the capabilities of the vehicle you are driving and the prevailing weather/road/day/night conditions. All this, and consider and allow for every other driver and pedestrian to be a complete idiot!!

    • The whole point of the rule being re-explained (it has existed for years – see below) is that pedestrians have right of way even if there is NO crossing:

      Road Rules 2008 Rule 67
      Part 7 Giving way

      (4) If the driver is turning left or right or making a U-turn, the driver must also give way to any pedestrian at or near the intersection on the road, or part of the road, the driver is entering.

  18. 3 seconds – what a joke. At 60km/h that’s 50 metres. Leave that much space and 5 cars will pull in front. Then what? Are you supposed to slow and drop back another 50 metres so 5 more can pull in? In a busy 60km zone, you may as well just pull over and stop.
    I was taught 1 car length for every 10mph ie 16km/h. That means at 60k, it’s about 4 car lengths which is around 20 metres.

  19. Totally missing from the list is the rule about intersections becoming four-way stops if the traffic lights don’t work. Australians don’t seem to understand the concept of a 4-way stop, and hardly slow down, let alone STOP.

  20. Item 5 – The wording does not address those ignorants who occupy the centre lane of the Freeways and drive at less than the speed limit. Keep Left means left not centre.

    • As usual there is an EXCEPT. What about SLOW Lanes for trucks. I would hate to catch up with a truck doing 20kmph when I am doing100. I should be in lane 2.

  21. From the comments about it is perfectly clear that the Road Rules are anything but clear. A great job for the NRMA to get its teeth into to rectify the problem.

  22. I think the title shouldn’t be “Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules” – it should be changed to “Top 10 Most Broken Road Rules Which Police Do Not Care To Enforce / Book You For”…

    oh, and btw, I think those big RMS signs should just read “POLICE NOW TARGETING YOU” …see how that changes people’s driving habits.

    • Greg, I am a NSW Highway Patrol officer of some 20 plus years experience and so I can comment on what police choose to enforce and what not to. Some are difficult to enforce like correct roundabout use and so prevalent its amost a case of not knowing with which vehicle to start with. Its unfortunate that much of the public see HWP police quite the other way-as people who book motorists for anything they can find but in the main we do exercise a lot of discretion. Sometimes leniency can be counter productive, such as in the case of foglight use where it was not enforced and now every man and his dog drives around with them permanently on, even as a replacement for headlights at night, blinding everyone, yet not sufficiently illuminating the road ahead. Roundabouts are treated as some sort of high speed chicane by many and I go a long time between seeing anyone make correct use of indicators in one, but would be the worst person in the world if I pulled someone up for it. Sadly, roundabouts only function properly when care, and importantly courtesy is used and mostly thats a thing of the past on the roads. To clarify, keep left when speed limits are ABOVE 80 km/h OR Keep left unless overtaking signs are displayed, indicate left when leaving a roundabout when able to, leave or try to leave a 2 second gap (3 is ridiculously impractical), and respect the driver in front-tailgating is dangerous and disrespectful, an amber light means you must stop if you can safely and if you turn your foglights on in reduced visibility you have the responsibility to turn them off when things clear (and if you cant see without them maybe you need to see an optometrist, and no your car does not look cooler with them on)

      • David, why do they put warning signs on speed cameras?

        The only conceivable reason I can think of is that withuot them too many politicians and officials would get lumbered.

        They render the speed cameras a waste of money.

        • Ted the speed cameras make a motza regardless. If someone is so unaware as to read a sign then they certainly aren’t aware enough to drive safely a little over the speed limit even for a couple of seconds. So they deserve to go down.

  23. Years ago I did an Advanced Driving Course and i was taught to count ‘ one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus( es) . That is the safe distance between you and the car in front.

  24. 4 MERGING – Could someone please explain how , if you are travelling on a road without lane markings, the number of lanes can be reduced.

  25. It is quite clear from the comments made that this “clarification” has not clarified the road rules at all! I am appalled at the way the media, the NRMA, and even the RMS paraphrase the “Road Rules”, and in the process, alter the meaning.

  26. What are the rules regarding the use of the driving lights now installed at bumper bar level for using them during daylight time. ( I know they call them all fancy names but they are driving lights and as such must be off when approaching another vehicle, the same as headlights need to be dimmed). Can anything be done against those who instal stronger globes in these driving lights? These driving lights are never switched off when approaching another vehicle especially at night. I find no use whatsoever to even switch them on except maybe on a dark country road at night, but must switch off when approaching another vehicle. DO NOT bother saying they are a safety device to have them on during the day! They are a pain in the eyes!

  27. Firstly, let me start by saying, that these oversized silent cops they call round-a-bouts, they put in at back street intersections, should never have been built. They cause more confusion then they’re worth and it is virtually impossible to indicate your intentions because, you are either to busy turning your steering wheel, unless you are turning left at the first (so called) exit or 9 times out of 10, you simply haven’t got time to indicate because the size of the insection doesn’t allow it. (For the young ones out there; Silent cops were those little round raised yellow dics that were onced placed in the dead center of an intersection and they measured approx. 12″ to 18″ [300mm to 450mm] in diameter) that they used to control traffic behaviour at some intersections.
    Secondly: Round-a-bouts are built (or rather designed) wrongly. They are currently designed (and built) in most cases (where room permits) with slip lane style approaches and exits. While this is to (supposedly) allow free flow around/through the round-a-bout, it also incites some motorists to race through the intersection(s) of the round-a-bout at all cost. This means that the motorists doing this are NOT slowing down enough (or in some cases, not at all) when approaching the round-a-bout. This senario has happened to me several times and has caused so many near misses (and I would asume most of the collisions) that it would be impssible to count. The law states that you must give way to any vehicle IN the round-a-bout (if there is danger of a collision). It does not say give way to any vehicle approaching the round-a-bout, But, if you don’t keep an extra eye out for the hoons, speedsters and lazy drivers who don’t want to slow down (and give way where nessecary), you could become one of the statistics.
    I have mentioned all this because, if the powers that be design these things correctly, it would virtually eliminate the chance of anyone racing through the round-about. They (the hirarchy) simply need to eliminate the slip lane policy on the approach to a round-a-bout and design the approach so that the street butts to the round-a-bout, forcing drivers slow down and turn left, not veer left to enter the round-a-bout.
    P.S. One never turns right into a round-a-bout (unless you are in a left hand drive country) you only travel in a right direction once you are in the round-a-bout. This is why I never use a right hand indicator unless it is one of those confusing/ dangerous oversized silent cops.

    And one last thing. Except for those stupid oversized silent cops they call round-a-bouts, round-a-bouts are not an interesection. The interesection is the area where a street/road meets (or buts to) a round-a-bout. In other words, where two (or more) roads meet, that is an intersection. In the case of two roads meeting, that is a four way intersection, but if they then covert that intersection into a round-a-bout, it now becomes four (4) intersections. So all you people that park across the round-a-bout, stopping drivers from proceding through, are blocking the insection and therefor are subject for a fine, as blocking an intersection is illegal and is punishable by a fine and the gaining of demerit points.

    • Franz you are an idiot … if you are turning right on a roundabout or doing a u turn on it you STILL indicate right, even though you need to turn slightly left first. If your indicator gets bumped off by teh slight left turn you just re-engage it.

      Roundabouts are built fine you need to learn to drive or get off teh road.
      If a silent cop causes you confusion this give even more reason for you to take a taxi.

      Why did the blonde stare at the orange juice can for three hours? Because the tin said Concentrate!

  28. In #2 in the article above – agree with Paul Bowler’s point. Also, does this include the exit points of roundabouts? I go through a number of roundabouts that have these pedestrian islands where I see pedestrians waiting to cross the second half of the road at the point where vehicles are exiting the roundabout. If I were to give way, I would have to stop *in* the roundabout. #3 (mobile use): people now use the mobile to send text messages while it is mounted in the holder – even worse! #8 (safe distan e): try keeping a 3 second gap on the M2 motorway, at 20 kph! You’ll never reach your destination and enrage the driver behind you! I thought the rule was 80 kph and above, keep left unless overtaking. This article hasn’t made things any more clear! What about those cars that switch to the left lane, which they *know* ends, only so that they can get ahead? Shouldn’t they be giving way when attempting to merge back when the lane ends? Are cars in the inside lane obliged to let them in?

    • It’s doesn’t really matter if you agree or not. It is the rule that you must give way to pedestrians when turning into a road, regardless of designated crossing.

      This does not apply at roundabouts, where pedestrians must give way.

  29. most of the road rules are COMMON SENSE, but I think the rule of giving way to pedestrians when turning right can be dangerous especially if you are half way across oncoming traffic and the pedestrian then decides to cross in front of you… Wouldn’t it be more sensible if the pedestrian gave way to traffic? I also think the new law for roundabouts having to indicate even when going straight ahead is stupid. I indicate only when turning left, right or doing a u turn as I’m busy trying to negotiate the roundabout, without having to remember to keep changing the direction of my indicators. . Isn’t it time people NOT INDICATING when changing lanes on multi lane roads were booked? It really annoys me when a vehicle comes up beside me and then suddenly cuts across in front of me and continues across to the the other lane not indicating at any time where he/she is going!

    • Merging translates to “pushing in”. So many self absorbed drivers zoom up the inside lane whilst the rest of us wait our turn in traffic queues. They then proceed to push you out of your lane so they can get back in to the traffic. This I thought was illegal. It is actually “overtaking on the left”, not “merging” . Often the offender is also breaking the law by using the bus lane as their own private lane. If someone in the supermarket pushed in front of 20 people in a queue, all hell would break loose. No wonder we have road rage…

      • Which may be why the signs recently seem to be changing to “change lanes”, not merge. So merging now really only applies once the lines separating the lanes end. If someone on the left has to change lanes they are obliged to give way, but as you say, they just push in. And, I have noticed, you can’t stop someone doing it in stop-start traffic – it is impossible to keep them out!

      • Re Merging: The road rules states in section 5, page 121:
        “Where the lane you are driving in ends and you have to cross lane lines to merge with the traffic in another lane, give way to traffic in the other lane.” There is also a diagram that indicates that even if you are in the lane that ends and you are in front, that you should give way to the vehicle that is in the outer lane.
        Re Roundabouts” In section 5, page 96, there is a diagram showing when you should signal when negotiating a two lane roundabout.
        Another dangerous habit in driving, is driving with your arm hanging out the window of the car. Section 3, page 49 states “KeePINg INSIDe A vehICLe
        A person must not travel with any part of their body outside a window or door of
        the vehicle, unless the person is the driver and is giving a hand signal for changing
        direction, stopping or slowing.
        The driver must not drive with a passenger on the vehicle or with any part of the
        passenger’s body outside the vehicle.” This also applies to animals.

        • There is also a law which says that it is an offence to overtake when it is unsafe to do so.
          In some jurisdictions (eg Queensland), the practice of speeding up to cut someone off at the end of a merging lane is being looked at from the point of view of unsafe overtaking.
          The responsibility to ensure a safe outcome does not rest solely on the vehicle crossing the broken line, and drivers who purposefully cut people off in dangerous situations should be aware of the offences of dangerous driving, culpable driving and manslaughter, all of which might apply.

    • Absolutely agree with Irene regarding the “giving way to pedestrians” rule. Isn’t it easier for a pedestrian to stop quickly than it is for a car? Yes! Do pedestrians have someone tailgating them ready to run into their back? No!! Make pedestrians responsible for their own actions to stop and look and check the traffic situation before stopping off the kerb. I believe most pedestrians who are also drivers are more aware of the traffic and more willing to stop and let a car pass, even at a pedestrian crossing. It’s the non-drivers who blindly cross the road without a consideration for the poor driver who has to slam on his brakes and risk a rear-end collision. Take off those headphones, stop looking down at your phone and be aware of the traffic.

      • This is very interesting. Before the National Road Rules the NSW road rule was that pedestrians always had right of way. However, some of you are now complaining because you need to give way to pedestrians only at certain occasions.

        Only those people who have shown that they are responsible enough to drive a potential murder weapon (a vehicle) are given a license to drive. Not all pedestrains are as responsible as those lucky drivers. Some are children or have a physical or mental disability and can’t make the responsible decisions whether it is safe to cross the road or not.

        A driver is in control of a deadly weapon and that driver should drive safely for the conditions in his or her vacinity. The allocation of your licene has supposedly proven that you are responsible enough to drive a vehicle. Have some consideration, compassion and respect and stop winging about being inconvenienced by other road users. Next you’ll be complaining that you have to stop at red lights because it’s too hard to stop the car.

      • If every car indicated 100m before turning pedestrians would not leave the kerb. In fact if every car obeyed the same law the same way this column would not exist. As long as so many drivers have their own interpretation of the law we will be debating simple things like roundabouts forever.

  30. so no U turns across any continuous unbroken line. But what about people who make a right hand turn across a continuous unbroken line. I always thought the continuous unbroken line meant you can’t cross it all. It’s not the U turn that people misunderstand its the crossing of the line surely.

    • Turning right is not a U-turn. You are allowed to turn right across unbroken lines but can’t cross them for any other reason. How else would you get into your driveway if you couldn’t turn right, drive up the road a few kilometres & do a u-turn when the lines are broken or go around a block or 2 until you are on the right side of the road to turn left into your driveway?

      • You cannot turn right over unbroken line(s) except to entre a driveway. This means do not turn right into a side street over unbroken line !

  31. You also can not make ‘U’ Turns at Traffic Control Lights unless authorized by a sign.
    This they did not mention regarding ‘U’ Turns.

  32. A bit of common sense, a bit of courtesy towards all other drivers and being less selfish would go a long way to make driving a pleasure for all.
    What happen to the happy Aussie, why so much complaining and so little tolerance.

  33. This is hilarious! The next roundabout I come to I’m going to close my eyes, put on my emergency blinkers, fog lights AND high beam, blast my horn all the way through. Then after exiting the roundabout, and only then, I’ll open my eyes to see how I went.

  34. Regarding Roundabout, I am totally confused with so many different views.
    What I would like is specific examples from the RTA with clear diagrams for:
    (1) 1 lane roundabout
    (2) 2 lane roundabout
    (3) 3 lane roundabout (if they exist at all)
    (4) Multi-exit roundabouts (I have seen some roundabouts in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney having more than 4 exits re: from Anzac Parade).

    The diagrams should clearly show when cars can EXIT, when they CANNOT exit

    To me , it seems best if there are painted arrows on approaching the roundabout lane(s) as well as well as inside the round about lanes (especially if it is big roundabout and/or has multiple exits), which shows what you are allowed to do. For example, we all know if there is a straight arrow, you can only go straight and CANNOT turn. I

  35. Aren’t we supposed to indicate left when we exit the roundabout too?

    Also, when we are in the very left lane & need to merge into the right lane & we are safely ahead of the car on the right to make the merge, we have the right of way?
    But I have experiences, as I’m sure others have had, where the car in the right lane purposes speeds up. If I find that the margin between us, in terms of speed & distance, is safe, I’ll speed up too to make that merge. But sometimes the car speeds up even more! Whats the hurry?!

  36. Having read the comments, firstly out of curiosity, then slack-jawed amazement, I now completely understand why it’s such a nightmare to drive on Australian roads…

    • and keep a copy on your Smartphone or Tablet for handy reference for when you are walking across the road at the intersection & a driver runs you over or you are on the roundabout first & get t-boned by the bloke entering from the right at double the speed limit etc etc

  37. I feel that after driving continuously for 53 years as a rep, in both city and country, and looking outside the square, a simple rule which should be introduced and enforced is, ” If there’s a car behind you,you must do the speed limit or keep left if there is more than 2 lanes” This will reduce frustration which leads to road rage!!!! Amen.

  38. Guys,

    I have some rules that seem to work for me and my family:
    1. Keep left
    2. Give way to your right, it just seems smart to…
    3. Be courteous. it does get repaid to you by others if you do it long enough
    4. Leave plenty of room from the car in front to allow a safe stop gap

    I do about 47000km pa. I tend to try and travel as close to the posted limit as I can on trips too, subject to conditions. I don’t have a clean driving record either, having bought more than my share of tickets to the secret policemans ball over the years.

    Did you know that the average driver considers themselves an above average driver? Every time I muck up a Reverse Parallel Park I reset my ego

  39. The silliest rule is the one allowing motorists to drive over painted traffic islands (p105 of the NSW road users handbook, 2nd picture). If car B is doing approx 80 km/h over the traffic island it is not going to easily be able to give way to car A turning left in front of it.

  40. The ‘Keep left rule’ on roads with a limit of above 80 kmph should read ‘from 80 and above’. This rule should also be a compulsory question for L and P plate drivers on the tests as they all seem to have no idea of this requirement that is so frustrating for other drivers.

    • I disagree. If a driver is travelling in an 80kph speed limit zone then he or she doesn’t have to keep left. However, if they are travelling in a speed limit zone of more than 80kph, eg. 90, 100, 110, 120, then the driver must keep to the left unless overtaking.

      I seems very clear to me.


  41. I know and obey all of these rules. As Irene mentioned, they are common sense. The main problem is that not every Australian driver knows or obeys the Australian National Road Rules (NRR).

    When I was a child there used to be animated ads on TV that started with an Owl saying “So you think you’re a good driver. Try this quick quiz.” and then one would be questioned about a road rule (the black car was always in the wrong). They were very short but I knew the road rules before I was old enough to drive because of these ads.

    Now that the NRR are supposed to be similar thoughout all states and territories (except maybe one?), by pooling their resources, it would be much cheaper for the motoring associations and traffic authorities to produce and air ads similar to theose previously mentioned. There would only have to be one ad for all states and territories. In this way, no-one could claim ignorance of the road rules as these previous posts have demonstrated.

    Come on NRMA. Do something that is useful for all Australian drivers, even if it is seen as saving the NRMA members lives and frustrations. Produce yourself, or lobby for all the motoring associations and traffic authorities to produce and air NRR educations ads. Starting with these top 10 misunderstood road rules would be a good start.

  42. Why are these rules misunderstood ?
    They have been that way since the year dot.
    All it means is that most of the current crop of drivers shouldn’t be driving.
    Full stop.
    End of story.

    • Forgot to add that there should have been an extra rule added to this list……………..
      4a. When a driver is travelling on a road WITH lane markings, the
      number of lanes is reduced, and they have to cross a broken line,
      they MUST merge by giving way to any vehicle that is ALREADY IN
      the lane they are merging eith

  43. I see roundabouts as an opportunity for users to use as much bluff as possible. Who wants to damage their cars to comply with the first on the roudabout rule. BRING BACK THE GIVE WAY TO THE RIGHT

  44. what is the law concering those who drive really slow, then move in to the left lane when overtaking lanes come up-THEN speed up as fast as they can in the left lane #*&$@*#@ !!!

  45. Surely the purpose of the ‘keep left unless overtaking’ rule on multi-lane 80+kph roads is to stop slow cars from impeding the flow of faster ones. One thing that doesn’t seem to make sense, however – if that is truly the reason for the rule – is why someone should be booked if travelling in the ‘overtaking’ lane at the speed limit. After all, the only person that vehicle would be impeding is someone who was breaking the law by travelling over the speed-limit. This means that while the LAW states that we must obey the speed limit, it is also designed to encourage drivers to exceed the speed limit, by punishing a driver for driving at the limit and impeding the speeder.

    Anyone else see this as inconsistent?

    I will accept the argument that preventing these faster vehicles from exceeding the speed limit will actually slow down all the traffic and increase frustration, but in that case, perhaps there needs to be consideration given to:
    a) allowing for an increase in speed (to say 20% above the limit) purely for the purpose of overtaking.
    b) a variable speed limit, where the left-hand lane is limited to vehicles travelling (say) below 90 kph on a 110kph road, the middle lane 90 – 100 kph and the right lane 100 – 110 kph.

    Whatever model you choose, the fact is, to book someone in the right lane for travelling at the speed limit (overtaking, or not) makes no sense, unless you are tacitly accepting that at least 60% of the driving population are going to break the law – and expect to be encouraged to do so.

    • The law asks you to drive in the left lane partially so as to not encourage you to be a police officer, dear little Law enforcer you are. Besides, better the speeding idiot is in front of you where you can see him, than behind you and making a decision to begin stalking you.

      Comprehende Amigo?

      • Further, keeping left allows emergency vehicles to use the right hand lane where available. In high traffic areas the infrastructure is not sufficient to support the idea of leaving a lane for emergency vehicles.

        Further, you statement that 60% of people are going to break the law seems to be unsupported. Personally, I would rather maintain “keep left” and add point-to-point speed cameras at EVERY entry to, and exit from, the freeway/motorway*. Sure, it may be “revenue raising” but no more so than pokies, lotteries and the taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. Voluntary contributions to the state in such a situation seems reasonable. Further it could reduce traffic as those individuals who have no regard for the legal privilege of having a driver licence find that privilege revoked.

        *the rego number of each vehicle would be recorded on entering the freeway, and transmitted to, and stored at, each exit. At the expiry of a time equal to the minimum legal time required to reach a given exit, your rego number is deleted from the record of that exit. Each car that exits is scanned and compared to the “list”. The information is ONLY retained if a breach is identified.

  46. Roundabouts – people need to live in Canberra to really understand how these things work. We use them as traffic calming devices – never their intended use.
    School Zones – borne on us by lazy parents who wait for their child to cross the road rather than go get them. Walked to and from school along a major road every day. Was taught by my parents to respect traffic – we didn’t have a car.
    Slip Roads – just putting your indicator on doesn’t give you carte-blanch to barge into a 100kph road doing 60kph. And blasting your horn at me because I refused to slow down, being unable to change lanes, doesn’t help.

  47. WARNING to all the people that think roundabouts are Grand Prix circuits. On a roundabout there is no give way to your RIGHT, the car who is in the roundabout 1st before you has right of way, too many drivers accelerate madly to force a fictitious “I am on your right ” attitude, just hit the other car and see who pays the bills and fines.

  48. Its all well and good to have these rules, but what good do they do when the police dont enforce them? Then road rage happens usually out of frustration when the ignorants don’t bother indicating or keeping left, and its the rager that gets crucified?

  49. Superfail!
    Rule one is a fail. The law is you must indicate ‘WHERE PRACTICLE’

    When i did my licence 3 years ago (after a cancellation over debt) I almost failed my test for NOT INDICATING ON A ROUNDABOUT GOING STRAIGHT AHEAD.

    NRMA fail!

    kids will fail tests if they read this rubbish

    • Hi Paul, the information in this blog is taken directly from the RTA’s Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules pamphlet which was published earlier this year: You will see that this is the rule as described by the RMS below.

      Roundabouts: Going straight ahead:
      “There is no requirement for drivers to signal when approaching the roundabout, if they are going straight ahead. Drivers may approach the roundabout from either the left or right lane (unless there are road markings with other instructions).”

      However, to avoid any confusion, we have added the phrase below, about exiting a roundabout, to point number 1 above.

      “When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or even going straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so.”

      Thanks for your input,
      Best wishes,
      Daniel, NRMA M=S Social Media Community Manager

  50. Why even build roundabouts? Australian drivers use them like intersections anyway – a steady stream of traffic runs along one axis until there is a break in traffic. At a true, european style, roundabout all traffic has to give way and the first car to arrive gets priority.

  51. Am I the only one who is still confused by the section on Merging. I read it that if a car is merging from your left (as is very often the case) then they should give way to you in the right lane. Well hell, that never happens. Drivers simply run out of road and cut into the right lane with one blink of their indicators. The right hand lane driver has to pull back to let the idiots in because nobody ever told them about safe merging, or about blind spots. “Me not got more road, me just push in your way…”

    • Simple, if the lane finishes and it’s marked and it’s your lane that ends, give way. If both lanes end with no line marking, car in front has right of way, simple. Always be carful of the drop kick behind, because like roundabout users, they will barge at you because they don’t know the rules.

    • I really am of the opinion that things should not be this way. Too many times I am on the freeway on the way to work doing 110km/h then having to come to a grinding halt where the traffic is merging from on-ramps. If the vehicles already on the freeway had to give way or move over for the vehicles attempting to merge, things would go a lot more smoothly. Instead of which we have the traffic snarls that we currently have.

  52. Wollongong drivers are the worst in Australia. They never move to the left lane no matter what the speed.
    At a round about, they either give way to anything within a 1 kilometre radius, or barge at you when you are already on the round about, expecting that you have to give way to the right. Rule is first on, approach with caution.
    As for the blinker when exiting while going straight ahead, the law was just changed to make the law uniform across the country. You use your blinker whenever you leave the round about, simple. As for small roundabouts , I use my blinker as I go off, last moment, then covered by any painful police. There are a few small roundabouts in Wollongong, if you were to use your left blinker to soon, you would hit a car who thinks your are turning left. So common sense,I can’t see what all the drama is. You sure you lot aren’t all from the Gong?

    • I am from the Gong, while it is gods country, the drivers there.. oi yo yo. Nothing like being stuck behind Camry (its always a Camry) on picton rd doing 60 in 90 zone.

      That said I think ACT drivers are even worst! Every time I see ACT plate on NSW roads, I park jump out of my car and hide in nearby woods until it has gone away.

      • Yep, it is always a Camry, as I know that road well.I share your pain.

        P.S. watch out for the young lady in the black hatchback that reads her mobile from Campbelltown to the Picton turnoff.

  53. Can someone please explain the right of way within a roundabout.

    i.e. when entering your immediate closest lane, and another party changes lanes to make a rapid exit!
    Thus cutting you off !

    • depends if you are entering the roundabout or already in it. If you are entering you have to give way to vehicles already in the roundabout.

      If you are already in the roundabout you can only change lanes if you are already on the inside lane and are using the roundabout to go straight ahead or take any exit after that.

      You cannot change lanes if you are in the outside lane, and you can only turn left or go straight ahead.

      It’s all explained in simple terms on page 95 of

  54. It could be worse, look at the French: it USED to be that in France traffic on a roundabout had to give way to traffic entering the roundabout….. I will never forget driving around the Arc de Triomphe at peak hour and being part of a total shambles. That has been changed over the last decade or so; entering traffic now faces “yield” signs like “give way” signs in Australia. But it’s not 100% the case throughout the country yet! So as to what rules apply on a roundabout without such “yield” signs, well….. Proceed with extreme care is probably rule #1 !

    • That old rule was a nightmare for everyone and continually caused endless jams and accidents. That it lingered so long was due mostly to French intransigence and the refusal on the bureaucracy to submit to common sense.

  55. Re indicating left when leaving a roundabout,even when going straight ahead – It is lucky that there is the proviso “unless it is not practical to do so” is inserted in this rule as very often it is not practical to do so.
    Many roundabouts in NSW,especially those in tight suburban streets are not worthy of the name.They are not roundabouts as such,but very tight intersections with a large concrete circle in the middle.Often this circle is so large,in comparison with the size of the intersection,that it is impossible to negotiate without actually driving onto the concrete circle itself!In other words,there is not enough room on the actual road surface for a veh to pass thru without a radical and rapid change of direction.What’s more,by the time your vehicle has passed the street on the left you are already on your way out of the roundabout leaving no time for any meaningful indication of intention on the part of the driver.
    I have never been,nor do I know anyone who has ever been booked for failing to indicate when leaving a roundabout of this description when going straight ahead.

    • There’s a roundabout at the top of my street where I will sometimes wait for a car entering on the right. They aren’t indicating, so I wait for them to go straight ahead. But instead they turn off to the left, so I could have gone anyway. Pisses me off no end.

  56. Indicate/ers…this is another big issue in itself.
    Lazy people who cannot be bothered to use their indicators. May I remind you it is the stick at the side of the steering wheel whether it be on the left or the right.
    Yes I know we are suppose to assume that all drivers are making a turn even if they are not indicating to do so. But can you please have a bit of courtesy and indicate your intentions of where you are going.
    Is that to hard.

    • European cars are the bane of the road re indicating, two lane hogging and speed. The indicators are on the wrong side of the steering wheel and they don’t want to make a fool of themselves by indicating with the wipers! They hog two lanes or slow right down in the fast lane when on their phones. And when I as a pedestrian see one coming they are usually speeding up til they brake at the last minute, so I step back on the kerb.

  57. Tell the “Keep Left” to the idiots and foreigners I attempt to overtake on the Southern Expressway.

    Mind numbing morons , I high beam them when passing the “keep left” sign. Do they listen, no.

  58. I haven’t seen a NSW or Qld police car use an indicator since last century. When I asked the local police why he doesn’t book people for doing U-turns across double lines to park, he responded “it’s not illegal”. Police don’t seem to be trained in road rules at the academy. I approach round a bouts with trepidation as drivers exit with the left indicator, the right indicator & no indicator, some with the left indicator on end up exiting a further exit. so indicators cannot be taken at face value at any round a bout.

  59. It shocks me at the number of drivers who come through “T-intersections” from a side street into a main road without slowing or stopping to ensure that traffic is clear and safe, cutting in front of other car drivers and zooming off as though they have a million banshees after them. I have had a friend who was severely injured by a car driver who ignored a stop sign from a side street and collided into him and another friend who was killed by a driver who emerged from a side street in just the same manner – without stopping to ensure that the road is safe. The friend who was killed left behind a grieving widow and two young children. A third case recently involved an elderly friend who had her car demolished by yet another driver who simply shot out of a side street in a “T-intersection” – again, “no look, no see, no care” – and collected her car which was on the main street. She was hospitalised with a broken arm and leg. So, people, why is it so terribly, terribly hard to stop at an intersection and check that the traffic is clear and safe before proceeding? What is it that is wrong with your accelerator that simply MUST be stomped on as you approach an intersection? Why must two people I have known be injured and another killed through no fault of their own, by YOUR indiscretion in an act that I see and witness every morning as I drive to and from work?

  60. Regarding “Keeping left unless overtaking” on a road with a speed limit of over 80 km/hour. This can be difficult on a tollway with cash lanes if you have a tag as the tag lanes are invariably on the rightmost lanes.

    • well not really,
      all tag lanes are on the right but, if you are a slower vehicle and stay on the left side as you are supposed to an extra tag lane will eventually open up and they you have 2.

      it’s impatient drivers that gets me. everyone needs to chill and exercise common sense if you have any.
      i keep left regardless of the speed limit. because no matter how fast you think you are driving there will always be some person driving faster than you.

  61. RE U-turns … why is there no inclusions about u-turns being illegal at traffic lights? There is obviously some confusion for QLD drivers in NSW because at some lights up north, u-turns are allowed. However most of the illegal u-turns I see are NSW drivers breaking the law.

    Rule #2 “giving way to pedestrians” must be one of the most ill-conceived rules I know of. It is a nice idea in theory but it is the pedestrians that need to be fully aware and alert before crossing at an intersection and not dependent on cars stopping for them and whilst that’s always been the case, pedestrians should be prepared give way to cars where there is no marked crossing.

  62. I have the most trouble when two lanes are merging into one.
    I have taught seven or eight Kids to drive and tell them that they should merge right at the end od the lane they are travelling in becomes broken lines.
    Although you see it all the time entering freeways especially people don’t even try to run as far as they can in the lane provided before pulling accros to the next lane.
    I have also had a number of near misses with the lane ending completely and some clown even though I am in front of them not giving way to me.
    This is one rule that needs to be advertised more often so that all drivers are aware of what they have to do when they are merging at the end of broken lines.

  63. What is the point of having different road rules in different states, do the people in Australia really think they’re special in each state to warrant the cost of running a seperate system in each. Should we not rather save the tax payers money, confusion when driving between states (The U-Turn rule for example) and the stupid need to issue different drivers licences in each state. Have one system, one rule. Now that would make common sense

    • How about Tasmania having different rules from all other states, probably not a big deal as it is not connected by road to other states?

    Clowns with fog lights… seems fog lights are now the ‘in thing’
    Clowns with fog lights on (when there is NO fog).
    Fog lights blazing away, emitting 50% more light than necessary, quite often mis-adjusted and overly bright, affecting the vision of oncoming traffic.
    Time to start flashing high beam at the Clowns with fog lights on when there is NO fog.
    Just realised, the clowns with fog lights probably won’t read this…

  65. I didn’t realise until I got booked a few months back that it’s illegal to do a U-Turn at traffic lights regardless of whether any other traffic is around or not or if there is no sign restricting the manoeuvre. I went down the wrong road at the Easter Show and a police car hiding in bushes popped out. Got to admit I was pretty annoyed but what can you do? :(

    • Its illegal to U-turn at intersections controlled by traffic lights, unless your in QLD and a sign may say “U-turn permitted” or in VIC where a sign says “No U-turn”

  66. Try driving on many of the roundabouts in UK.It’s a nightmare when they are busy as you are required to drive in the inside lane until your exit is coming up.It is very difficult indeed [often impossible] to get over in the outside lane when youtr exit is coming up on roundabouts that have up to six exits.
    Some of these roundabouts now have traffic lights for busy periods which helps.

  67. Regarding merging lanes , on ramps to motorways. These merging lanes have broken white lines but a failure to merge into traffic and give way means you have to stop. Most motorways have 100km/hr speed limit, thus creating a possible dangerous situation when from a standing start – 100kms/hr can take some time, more than we are used to take to merge into traffic. To wait for a gap wide enough you may wait there all day. So, I think most Sydney siders use the “push in” method, its the only way to get where your going.

  68. A roundabout story, I was at Nowra on NSW South Coast on a friday afternoon, the only time people are in a hurry there. Four cars all steaming ahead for the roundabout, all four cars reached the roundabout at the same time, hence all had right of way. There was nearly a four car pile up but all four cars stopped on the roundabout without incident. I was one of the four cars.

    • Tim

      I live in Liverpool and have to drive through a roundabout on the way home. I have been the first on the roundabout but have a car on my right keep coming, I have stopped saving myself from being wiped out only then to have to wait for about another six cars + who followed him, What has happened to the rule first on the roundabout has right of way?, has anyone else had this happened,

  69. I wish authorities would start using some decent wording for round abouts and by this I mean get rid of the left, right or straight and replace it with first exit, second exit etc.. there are so many round abouts where “straight” can easily be misinterpreted…

    First exit means you need to indicate left, second exit no need to indicate, and any exit after this requires a right indicator perhaps followed by a left indicator as you exit the round about is possible.

  70. If the brain dead of the world moved their GPS unit from right in front of their face, over to the side of the windscreen, they might actually be able to see the cars in the roundabout, or on any road for that matter. That action alone would reduce traffic congestion and accidents by 50%. Oh, and dont forget to indicate left when you exit the roundabout.

  71. I agree that we should all, unless overtaking or turning right soon, keep left. In fact one reason undertaking (passing on the left) on multilane freeways is dangerous, is that it prevents me moving left!

    From time to time I decide I need to move left, for example after overtaking a truck on its right. However someone following me has decided to undertake, because I wasn’t moving left fast enough. Now I have to stay in the right lane to allow the undertaker to pass on my left as they pursue more urgent business than any I might have. If the driver behind this undertaker has the same urgency, he or she will also undertake me. I will have to wait again. Because of the undertaker’s impatience, it can be quite a while before it is safe for me to return to the left lane.

  72. Whoever wrote this piece below, obviously has not updated themselves to the current road rules.

    7. U-TURNS: When making a U-turn a driver must have a clear view of any approaching traffic and give way to all vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn across: a) a single continuous dividing line; b) a single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line; c) two parallel continuous dividing lines.

    What a load of hogwash!!

    See Road Rules 2008, found in NSW Consolidated Regulsations, then specifically look at sections 37 to 42, all about U turns.. No mention anywhere about solid, broken or any other type of line.

    NSW swapped over to the Australian Road Rules way back in 2001, I think.
    And when Road Rules 2008 came into being, it made sense that if you pull to the left side of the roadway, gave way to all traffic, you could lawfully and safely make a U turn..

    Whoever wrote this bit 7. above, needs to have a look at the Road Rules, 2008.

  73. Absence of enforcement = absence of care. No doubt NSW tax payers will see millions spent researching road rage and consuming court time, instead of having regular highway patrol on major routes. While there’s no excuse for violent “road rage”, the lack of enforcement means seeing the effect of these rules not being followed on almost any trip across Sydney, creating plenty of fury, luckily internalised by most of us. Until there’s change, hello left lane, that’s the best place to overtake in Sydney… it’s illegal, but hey, who cares!

  74. Having read all the above comments not one person mentioned the fool proof method of using roundabouts. It is: by all means use your blinkers but when deciding to enter the roundabout just take note of the tyres & when they turn left you know they are exiting & you have lots of safe time to enter the roundabout. This method keeps the traffic flowing.

  75. The traffic rules are elementary and should be learnt by all drivers who have obtained their licenses. I don’t see how they are misunderstood.

  76. The basic and most important rule about roundabouts: “approach roundabout with caution” should be strictly enforced, and many drivers should be “re-educated”. Many drivers speed into roundabout presuming that they have right of way (relying on caution of drivers who are often already with front wheels in the roundabout). It is becoming a custom to yield way to the traffic approaching from right side of roundabout no matter how far they are; speedsters are having an upper hand.

  77. just to confuse everybody, guess what, the roundabout rules don’t say give way to vehicles on your right either, its says give way to vehicles already on the roundabout,

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  79. There is a very dangerous practice that continues even though there is a specific rule.
    It is NO overtaking or passing at a pedestrian crossing. I see many vehicles do this but mainly bikes and cyclists. When a vehicle is stopped at a pedestrian crossing allowing a pedestrian to cross, no vehicle should pass the stationery vehicle the pedestrian usually has no vision as it is obscured by the stopped vehicle. It is then a bike or cycle comes up the inside almost hitting the pedestrian. This is something that needs to be cracked down on and a media campaign highlighting the dangers of this practice.

  80. Currently, in relation to roundabouts of which the rules are very clear as discussed by many, the problem that is becoming more obvious and will be a serious matter, is the increasing number of ‘drivers’ (I use the word loosely) who think and insist that the old ‘give way to the right rule’ still exists and many, bad drivers that they are, will physically insist and exert their poor knowledge by driving onto a roundabout, even though you might already have entered because you are on their left and a second or two perhaps in front of them. This offence is as prevalent as the incidence of the so commonly observed U Turns at traffic lights. Wish I still had my book….or my revolver.

  81. What happens if you are merging right, into another lane and the driver was behind me and at a safe distance – to make a merge; 20 mtrs.
    Ofcourse, indicated for 5 seconds, allowed for enough space. I was riding a motorcycle and had done two head checks, he was at a safe distance to make the merge. However, in the accident I had, the man accelerated and cut me off after my second head check – so I missed his as I was looking forward and leaning to merge.
    I had to do an emergency stop, to avoid his car as it was next to me at the last point of the merge; I was within 30 cm of his door!
    The problem that is concerning me here was there was no actual contact with the other vehicle, but he caused me to emergency stop!
    A witness agreed and said that he, ‘sped up and cut the motorcycle off, and when I approached him, the driver said that it was the motorcycles fault and then drove off leaving no details’.

    I know this situation sucks, as I have a broken leg. I also understand I need to give way, however, to what extent?
    Where does the fault lie? Does the other drive not have soime responsibility to keep at a constant speed so I can merge?
    Is it negligent driving on his behalf if he does speed up and cut me off, even though you can not prove his actual speed?

    If i had hit him I would have been dead, this is what sucks, and I think the law does not simply care.

    Please help

  82. “2. GIVING WAY TO PEDESTRIANS: If a driver is turning left or right at an intersection, the driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing the road the driver is entering. This applies to intersections with and without traffic lights.”

    Does this also apply when the car turns left/right following a dedicated green traffic light, while the pedestrian has a dedicated red traffic light? Seems odd to me… (full disclosure: I got yelled at by a pedestrian who apparently believed to have the right of way, but he was not actually crossing yet, why I yelled back he should watch for his traffic light turning green… was I wrong?)

  83. BTW. On two-lane, inner-city streets there is always the phenomenon (in Sydney at very least) that there appears to be great confusion among drivers about which car of several cars should go first when there is a blockage (stopping car, turning car or whatever) on one lane but the other lane is, or becomes, free… For example: Assuming there are 20 cars blocked behind a car that stops on the right lane (it would like to turn right but cannot for a few minutes because of oncoming traffic). Now, all blocked cars would like to move to the free left lane to avoid the blockage. Which car has the right of way? Car one (the car in the front, closest to the blockage) or car 20 (the car in the back, furthest away from the blockage) or “whatever car pulls over most rapidly and makes it to the other lane first”? From the actual behaviour of Sydney drivers it appears that this is not clear at all…

  84. It seems to me that many drivers DO NOT know Rule #2. As someone who walks a lot, RARELY do drivers give me right of way when I am crossing at an intersection, even if I am there first – many times they do not even LOOK. Very frustrating (and dangerous). Does anyone else notice this?????

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  86. Pingback: The most misunderstood road rules in country areas | Official NRMA Blog

  87. Dont tell me these road rules here. Put it on TV like the other courteous driver ads. When you get two or more people together there is always a non-understanding discussion of how to drive in a roundabout.

  88. Keep left unless overtaking means keep left not the middle lane but the left lane. Too often on three lanes roads 80% of the cars are in the middle lane.

  89. Way more unmarked police cars are needed in the ACT, especially during peak hour traffic. Driving to work every day I see speeders, tailgaters, nasty angry drivers and dangerous driving going unabated. Those and drivers that unfortunately for one reason or another, whether it’s because they have forgotten the road rules, or even have some sort of medical condition, or don’t have the capacity for understanding danger, these drivers just don’t have a clue. Just this morning I encountered a woman who had no idea what right of way meant, almost side swiping my car three times from the left lane. No wonder people die on our roads, uneducated, unregistered, ignorant and apathetic, heavy pedal drivers with no community spirit go unchecked causing and being part of those fatalities, and are unfortunately the ones that every else finds themselves paying high rates of compulsory insurance for. We need a system that periodically checks drivers ability to drive, instead of cleaning up after those unpredictable accidents from unpredictable, uncertain, unacceptably dangerous drivers that were just waiting to happen. Do the speed limit, allow a three second space in peak hour traffic, and you can guarantee most of your journey will have other drivers (who all tailgate each other in the right hand lane) cutting into that space you leave for safety by indicating for a split second or not at all, forcing a slow down to increase your safety space each time. I can’t speak for all ACT drivers, or all Australians, it’s probably fair to say that most drivers are actually pretty good, but *every day* I see multiple examples of dangerous driving. Traffic police – where are you? NRMA sending out road rule tips – guys an excellent thing to do for everyone, hats off to you.

  90. All regulations are pretty straight forward, logical & safe. Can’t see how anybody can be confused if you actually think about what is being stated in the regulations. Unfortunately you can’t factor out the good old fashioned idiot factor such as those morons that cut across the front of your car when overtaking, leaving you no where to break safely and damaging your duco with stones & other road rubbish. More prevalent on expressways. Sign of the times, total ignorance of road regulations or city drivers not adapting to higher speeds on expressways?

  91. Just remember, people. Driving on our roads is a privilege, not a right. Break the rules, or act like an idiot, and the privileges may be taken away.

  92. Is there a rule saying how high the beam of normal headlights should be? I was told that if your lights hit the rear window of the car ahead at any time, they are set too high. This applies whether your car is low-slung or a truck or a 4WD. I can remember my father checking his lights didn’t go over a line he had drawn on the garage door. If there isn’t such a rule, maybe there should be!

  93. A few rules that most Sydney motorists seem to understand perfectly:

    1. The horn should be employed wherever possible. When approaching a pedestrian who is crossing the road, regardless of the status of traffic lights or signage, the horn should be supplemented by application of the accelerator. Shouting abuse is encouraged where possible but not compulsory.

    2. Indicators should be used to signal achievement rather than intention.

    3. Drivers are legally required to ensure that no gap greater than three metres should exist between vehicles travelling more slowly than 80km/h.

    4. Traffic lights designate advice only. A light that has just changed from green to orange or from orange to red requires all drivers who are about to pass through an intersection to accelerate as rapidly as possible and adhere to rule (1) should any pedestrian present an obstacle.

    5. Speed limits are simply suggestions, excepting on motorways, where limits represent the lower limit and the recommended speed is approximately 15km/h greater than the one poster. Rule (1) should be adhered to if any vehicle is travelling at the signposted speed.

    6. Indicators are not required prior to parking on a busy thoroughfare. A sudden stop and rapid change into reverse gear is sufficient. Should any following vehicle be too close to allow a reverse parking manoeuvre to occur, refer to rule (1).

    7. It is permissible (and, indeed, desirable) to stop in the middle of a controlled intersection when the lights are red. If there is congestion in front of the intersection and the lights are turning orange, it is mandatory to make one’s way into the middle of the intersection if at all possible.

  94. When travelling on a road with the sign ‘Keep left unless overtaking’ and you wish to turn right, how far from the right turn are you allowed to be in the right lane?

  95. How many drivers aren’t aware of these rules regarding bike racks in the ACT?
    I’m sure that other states have similar laws!

    It is an offence (and the monetary/points loss penalties are very expensive) to have a bike rack fitted to the rear of the vehicle if:
    1- There is not a clearly visible rear registration plate (I have a bike rack plate fitted securely to the rack)
    2- The tail lights are not clearly visible (I put a portable trailer light assembly on the bikes after fitting the bikes and connect it to the trailer light socket on my car)
    3- To drive a vehicle without a bike on it!
    Many drivers are ignorant of these rules, or disobey them and when they’re caught and penalised it gets expensive!

  96. I’ve lived in Ballina for the last 15 years and when it comes to round abouts I think we have some of the most confused drivers on the road. I myself believe you should treat a round about like is if it’s a cross road, only indicate if turning left or right unless it’s a big multi exit round about, then I use my left indicator for the exit I’m taking . Here in Ballina we get people who are going straight ahead indicating left, then right, and left again, which is totally confusing when you are trying to gauge what they are doing (I feel like putting my hazard lights on for these people to know what it’s like). Then you get the people who don’t indicate at all and turn in front of you or then there’s the people (90%) who think the lines on the roads are there to just brighten up the road and use both lanes to go straight ahead and cut you off. Hell I’ve even seen drivers going around the round about the wrong way to make a right turn, they just take a short cut across….scary isn’t it! Then these people drive on our country roads doing 100Km/h or more. I think most driver have forgotten that driving is a privilege not a right and once they have that licence they don’t care about honing there skills and further.

  97. My only question relates to roundabouts.
    If I am sitting at a roundabout (a four road intersection) waiting to proceed through it, whether I am going left, right or straight ahead,and there is a car on my right going through the roundabout, and there are 10 cars behind that car, why do all the other cars think that they have “right of way”? They are not in the intersection so they do not have right of way, only the car that was there before I arrived at the intersection has right of way.
    Is this correct and can I presume that I have right of way after that car on my right has exited the roundabout? I realise that the majority of drivers just sit there and don’t “take on” the other cars, preferring to just let them all go through.
    This circumstance does not seem to have been raised by anyone and I would love to hear your comments.

  98. This roundabout thing seems to have many confused.
    It’s easy.
    Make up some signs; LEFT, RIGHT, EXITING NOW, I HAVE NO IDEA.
    Get the passenger to sit on the windowsill and hold up the signs for all to see. Being in this position they are able to see any idiots close by and and alert you of impending danger.

  99. I am not sure whether people are confused or deliberately ignore the rules. Where I live there are some wide streets that have a painted median strip – two big fat white lines about 1m apart, all the way along. People regularly do U-turns over these double centre lines. It has to be illegal.

    Also, one some other local busy roads, the Council has put down normal type double centre lines without a break for very long distances. People living along this road regularly do U-turns. In some of these cases I come upon people doing so just around a blind corner or crest, surely they must realise this is silly and illegal?

  100. I’d add two items to the list of misunderstood road rules:

    1. BUSES ONLY lanes. Many drivers seem to ignore the “ONLY” part. The rules for using Buses Only lanes are very different to the rules for using Bus Lanes. See:

    2. Flashing lights on the back of buses. “You must not drive past the bus in the same direction at more than 40 km/h while the lights are flashing” ( I regularly drive on a 3-lane road with bus bays and even when I’m in the third lane (i.e. furthest from the bus bays) and a bus has its 40 km/h lights flashing I mustn’t pass the bus at more than 40 km/h. Drivers behind me don’t always agree …

  101. Also, in congested times it is highly appropriate to enter the right lane over 1km before your planned right turn, rather then trying to merge at the last moment, which can be catastrophic. This overrides the keep right unless overtaking rule.

  102. I always used to think that, while, the first word meant a person who blogs, the second word stood for a blog hosting site! Now, I am utterly confused because my uncle tells me, that both of them are the same hosting site for those who blog with Google using blogger/blogspot! Can somebody with authentic knowledge please help me resolve my doubt? Please take my question seriously and “I earnestly request” Y!A members to respond with discreet academic answers, following community guidelines..

  103. hi, i have a question about merging. I am driving on a two lane ave. lots of cars parking on the left side. i am about to turn left at next cross so i merge to left lane .However the first car parking on the left side start without any signal. It hit my left side back door. Is that my fault or the third party’s problem? Thank you for the help.

    • Hi Terry,

      The rule appropriate in the situation appears to be Road Rule 87, see below. As to who is at fault in the circumstances mentioned is a question for the insurance company involved.

      87 Giving way when moving from a side of a road or a median strip parking area
      (1) A driver entering a marked lane, or a line of traffic, from the far left or right side of a road must give way to any vehicle travelling in the lane or line of traffic…

      Cheers, Paul- NRMA Community Manager

  104. Pingback: The 50 most insane driving laws from around the world | The NRMA Blog

  105. Good afternoon,

    Could you please explain how red traffic signal camera work in Gold coast,Australia.If ithere is an intersection which has four roads and traffic is coming and going in each direction but the camera is only at one signal.So do this camera take picture of only that side or opposite side as well?

    Talking about a red signal traffic camera at intersection of Napper road and Olsen avenue, Gold coast, Queensland?If any one knows that camera at that particular intersection take picture of cars coming from Olsen avenue or it took picutre of all 4 intersection sides especially the opposite too?

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