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Road Rules Awareness Week - Roundabouts

Top 10 misunderstood road rules

Posted Friday 20 February 2015

Brush up on your road rules during Road Rules Awareness Week
23 – 27 February

All drivers and motorcyclists learn the road rules so they can get their licence initially, however they may not remain active in refreshing their knowledge of existing rules and learning the details of new or changed rules.

NSW has about 350 road rules. Currently the top 10 misunderstood road rules in NSW include:

1. Roundabouts

  • When approaching a roundabout to turn left, right or make a U-turn the driver must use their indicator
  • If the driver is entering a roundabout they must slow or stop to give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout
  • When turning left the driver must indicate left on approach, be travelling in the left-hand lane, stay in the left lane and exit in the left lane
  • If the driver is going straight there is no requirement to signal when approaching the roundabout
  • When turning right the driver must indicate right on approach and be travelling in the right-hand lane
  • When making a U-turn using a roundabout the driver must approach in the right lane and signal right
  • The driver may change lanes in a roundabout if they wish – the usual road rules for changing lanes apply
  • The driver must signal left when exiting a roundabout and stop indicating as soon as they have exited
Road Rules Awareness Week - Roundabouts

2. Giving way to pedestrians when turning

  • If the driver is turning left or right at an intersection, the driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing the road they are entering
  • This applies to intersections with and without traffic lights, however does not apply at roundabouts
Road Rules Awareness Week - Avoid Pedestrians

3. Mobile phones

A mobile phone may only be used while driving if:

  • it is secured by a commercially manufactured mounting which is fixed to the vehicle and does not obscure the drivers view of the road, or
  • if it it can be operated without touching any part of the phone e.g. via Bluetooth

While driving, a mobile phone cannot:

  • rest on the driver’s leg, between the shoulder and ear or any other part of the drivers body
  • be used for text messaging, emailing or similar
  • held in the driver’s hand other than to pass it to a passenger

  • Drivers can only use a hand-held mobile phone if their vehicle is parked in an authorised parking spot. They cannot use a hand-held mobile phone while stopped at traffic lights
  • Drivers may use the navigational or GPS function and audio functions of a phone while driving, provided the phone is secured in a fixed mounting
  • Learner and P1 drivers are not permitted to use any function of a phone while operating a vehicle
Road Rules Awareness Week - Mobile Phones

4. Merging

  • When a driver is travelling on a road without lane markings and the number of lanes or lines of traffic is reduced, they must merge by giving way to any vehicle that is ahead of them
  • When a driver is travelling in a marked lane which is ending and is required to cross a broken painted line to enter the adjacent lane, the driver must give way to the traffic travelling in the lane being entered
Road Rules Awareness Week - Merging

5. Keeping left

  • On multi-lane roads with a speed limit >80km/h, motorists must not drive in the right-hand lane unless they are overtaking, turning right or making a U-turn, avoiding an obstacle, driving in congested traffic, driving in a special purpose lane or if there is a Left Lane Must Turn Left or a left traffic arrow and driver is not turning left
Road Rules Awareness Week - Keeping Left

6. Using headlights and fog lights

  • A driver must not use their headlights on high beam if travelling <200m behind a vehicle travelling in the same direction or <200m 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 must not use any light fitted to their vehicle that may dazzle another road user
  • A driver is only permitted to use fog lights if driving in fog, mist or other atmospheric condition that restricts visibility
  • A driver may only use a spot or search light if the vehicle is stationary and the light is being used for making
    adjustments or repairs to a vehicle, or if it being used temporarily to read a house number or notice board
  • When driving at night, or in conditions where there is insufficient daylight to render a person dressed in dark clothing discernible at a distance of 100m, a driver’s vehicle must have clearly visible headlights, tail lights, number plate lights, clearance lights and side marker lights if they are fitted to the vehicle
Road Rules Awareness Week - Headlights

7. U-turns

  • When making a U-turn drivers must have a clear view of approaching traffic, be able to make the turn without obstructing the free movement of traffic, and give way to all vehicles and pedestrians
  • Drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn where a ‘no U-turn’ sign is displayed and across a single continuous dividing line, a single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line, and two parallel continuous dividing lines
  • Drivers are not permitted to make a U-turn at traffic lights unless there is a U-Turn Permitted sign or U-turn traffic light displayed
Road Rules Awareness Week - U-turns

8. Safe following distances

  • As a general rule, when following a vehicle, the driver should travel three seconds behind the vehicle in front to provide sufficient time to avoid a crash
Road Rules Awareness Week - Safe Distances

9. School zones

  • When driving between the School Zone and End School Zone drivers must always obey the 40km/h speed limit
  • School zone speed limit applies on NSW gazetted school days and during the times detailed on the school zone sign – usually 8:00am-9:30am and 2:30pm-4:00pm
Road Rules Awareness Week - School zones

10. Yellow traffic lights

  • A yellow (amber) traffic light or arrow means stop
Road Rules Awareness Week - Yellow traffic lights

Visit the Road Safety website for videos or check out the guide to help explain the 10 most misunderstood road rules.