Speed Limits

What are the speed limits?

There are 3 major types of speed limits:

2-school-zone-speed-limit

Speed limits shown on signs

These vary from 10km/h up to 110km/h. Times when limits apply can be shown on signs (e.g. school zones), or the signs can apply for an area (e.g. area speed limits).

Speed limits that apply when there are no speed limit signs

Called ‘default’ limits, there is a ‘Built-Up’ Area limit and a maximum State Speed limit.

In ‘Built-Up’ Areas

In a ‘built-up’ area, the ‘default’ speed limit is 50 km/h unless signed otherwise.

A ‘built-up’ area is any road:

  • on which street lighting is at intervals not over 100m for 500m or more
  • which is ‘built up’ with structures devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses at intervals of less than 100m for a distance of 500m or more
3-maximum-state-speed-limit Outside ‘Built-Up’ areas

The limit that applies in unsigned areas outside ‘built-up’ areas is 110km/h. This limit starts beyond signs such as a ‘derestriction sign’ or a speed limit sign with ‘END’ on it.

Temporary speed limits

For speed limits lower than normal, a temporary speed limit sign may be installed for reasons such as poor conditions, work or events being undertaken. These temporary limits are for the safety of drivers and people participating in work or an event.

Do not exceed temporary speed limits shown on a sign.

Speed limits that apply for certain vehicles and drivers

There are limits placed on certain vehicles and drivers even when a higher limit applies:

Speed limits are the maximum allowed under the best conditions. Drive slower when conditions dictate (e.g. the road is wet, winding, visibility is poor or traffic requires).

Driver / Vehicle type Max Limit
Learner drivers 100km/h
Vehicles towing caravans or trailers 100km/h
Buses and coaches over 5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) 100km/h
Vehicles with a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) over 12 tonnes 100km/h

x

Provisional drivers can drive up to 110km/h (where this is the limit), but should remember they are still gaining experience and need to take extra care.

Following Distances

Maintain distance behind a vehicle to enable safe stopping in an emergency without hitting the vehicle in front. Most rear end collisions are caused by following too closely.

The space or ‘cushion’ in front of you is called following distance. To determine required following distance, consider the speed of traffic and condition of the road.

The ‘2 Second’ rule

The ‘2 second’ rule can estimate an adequate following distance.

While driving look at an object by the roadside (tree or pole), that the vehicle ahead will pass. When the vehicle passes the object, count, ‘1001, 1002’. You should take the full 2 seconds it takes to say this to reach the object. If you get there before, you are too close. Slow down until you are at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle ahead.

Remember that this ‘2 second rule’ is a guide for good road, traffic and weather conditions. If they are not good, increase your following distance to 4 or 5 seconds.

Always allow a ‘cushion of space’ at the front, rear and on both sides of your vehicle. This is the margin for error you have in an emergency. The easiest ‘cushion of space’ to control is the one in front– make sure you always maintain a safe following distance.

How long does it take to stop your car?

The time it takes to stop a car depends on:

  • reaction distance – the distance travelled from the time you realise you need to until you apply the brakes. An alert driver takes at least 1.5 seconds to react. At 60km/h you will travel 25m in this time. If you aren’t concentrating, your reaction time may be 3 or 4 seconds, and in some instances you may not react at all.
  • braking distance – the distance travelled from braking until stopping. At 60km/h you will cover another 20m before this happens (on a dry road in a modern car with good tyres and brakes). When the road is wet, the braking distance will increase because braking hard on a wet road may cause you to skid. The distance will also increase if your tyres and/or brakes are not in good condition.
  • stopping distance –total of reaction distance plus braking distance. Distance travelled once you react, brake, and stop. If you are doing 60km/h, add 25m to 20m (the best case reaction and braking distances) = 45m.
  • road conditions – drive carefully over road surfaces covered with loose material or in poor condition. Adverse conditions increase stopping distances.

Remember, the main factors that can influence stopping distance are your vehicle’s speed, the condition of your brakes and tyres and the road and weather conditions.

On a dry day, in a new car with good tyres and brakes, you are driving when a child runs onto the road 45m ahead. The graph shows what happens at different speeds.

4_dry_conditions_braking

How long does it take to stop a heavy vehicle?

Heavy vehicles likely require more stopping distance. If you cut in front of a heavy vehicle and then brake suddenly (e.g. at traffic lights), you could cause a crash resulting in damage to your vehicle and injury to yourself and your passengers.

Driving in Different Conditions

Driving at night

The distance you see ahead and to the side is reduced after dark meaning it will take you longer to respond to hazards. About 1/3 of serious crashes occur after dark, so use extra caution to allow for the reduced visibility.

Switch on your headlights

Use your headlights between sunset and sunrise or when conditions require. You need good visibility to drive safely and it is equally important for others to be able to see you.

Be aware of reduced vision

Drive so you can stop within the area lit by your headlights. Your headlights light ahead, not around corners. When entering curves at night, slow down and drive carefully.

Use of high beam

High beams increase visibility but may dazzle oncoming drivers, dip your lights when:

  • an approaching vehicle’s lights are dipped
  • within 200m of an approaching vehicle
  • less than 200m behind another vehicle

If a vehicle comes towards you with lights on high beam:

  • slow down
  • look to the left of the road
  • keep to the left of the road
  • if you cannot see, stop

To alert a driver you are about to overtake you are able to briefly switch your headlights to high beam when approaching another vehicle from behind.

Tips for driving at night

  • keep your windscreen and headlights clean
  • do not wear tinted glasses, except under the advice of an eye specialist
  • turn your headlights on when it begins to get dark so others can see you
  • do not use fog lamps except where visibility is very poor
  • stop and rest if sleepy

Driving in wet or hazardous weather

It is difficult to see clearly in the rain. To improve safety when driving in wet weather:

  • be sure your wipers are in good condition and your windscreen is clean
  • turn your headlights on to low beam
  • use your air conditioner to prevent your windscreen from ‘misting up’
  • if you do not have an aircon, use the heater demister and/or open the windows

Be especially observant while in the rain as pedestrians and cyclists can be hard to see.

Keeping your distance

It takes longer to stop in the wet, so you should at least double the following distance to the vehicle in front when the road is wet or visibility is poor.

Driving in fog or smoke

It is difficult to see clearly in fog/smoke. Don’t use high beams as this only lights up the fog/smoke and makes the road more difficult to see. In fog/smoke:

  • drive slowly
  • use fog lights if you have them
  • not follow closely behind another vehicle
  • dip your headlights so you can see more easily

Using fog lights incorrectly is illegal. If you have fog lights (front or rear) you must:

  • only use them in fog or other hazardous weather conditions that reduce visibility
  • not have front fog lamps and headlights on at the same time

Country driving

  • consider other road users and be patient
  • watch out for animals on roads particularly at sunrise and after sunset
  • watch out for tractors, especially during seeding and harvest times
  • plan to ensure you have enough fuel and water to get to the next town
  • don’t stop on or near bridges, floodways or on narrow sections of roadway
  • park at the forward end of roadside parking bays to allow others to enter/leave
  • don’t pull out when you see a vehicle approaching. Wait until they have passed

Keeping to the Left

Roads without marked lanes

The ‘keep left’ rule on these roads means you must keep as far left as practical, especially when turning left or going up a hill. (Motorcycle riders are exempt from this requirement and may ride away from the left side but left of the road centre).

If driving a slow moving vehicle, pull well over to the left to allow traffic to overtake.

Roads with 2 or more lanes

If the speed limit is 90km/h or higher or there are ‘KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING’ signs, you are not permitted to drive in the right lane unless:

  • you are turning right or making a ‘U’ turn and giving a right turn signal
  • you are overtaking a vehicle
  • the adjacent left lane is a special purpose lane (e.g. bus or bicycle lane)
  • the left lane is a left turning lane and you are travelling straight ahead
  • the other lanes are congested with traffic

Railway Crossings

5_railway_crossing_16_railway_crossing_2 Railway crossings are dangerous, especially if no flashing lights or boom gates.Trains cannot stop quickly even under emergency brakes. A train can take over 1km to stop and cannot swerve to avoid a vehicle.

Always look for railway crossing signs. If there are no lights or boom gates, look and listen and be prepared to slow down, give way or stop. In country areas, always look as trains are not always on schedule. Obey all the traffic rules stated on any crossing signs.

When you must stop

You must stop before a rail crossing when:

  • you are directed by a railway employee, police officer or authorised person and you may only proceed when told
  • you can see or hear a train coming and there is any possibility of a collision
  • there is a ‘STOP’ sign near the crossing. (If there is a ‘STOP’ line you must stop before it. If there is no ‘STOP’ line, you must stop before the ‘STOP’ sign)
  • warning bells or flashing red lights are operating
  • boom gates are down
  • there is traffic ahead that prevents you from clearing the crossing safely

If there is no ‘STOP’ line or sign, stop well clear of the crossing (at least 3m from the nearest rail). Remember the train can be up to 1m wider than the tracks on both sides.

You must not:

  • stop or park at any rail crossing within 20m of the nearest rail (either before or after) unless parking signs allow
  • drive through/around/under any gate/boom/barrier, when it is down or being raised/lowered

When can you drive on

You can drive on when:

  • the lights and bell have stopped flashing and ringing
  • you are certain (after checking both directions) no more trains are coming
  • you are sure you can safely clear the crossing
  • you are directed by a railway employee, police officer or authorised person

Buses and Taxis

7-bus-give-wayGive way to a bus moving out from a bus stop in a ‘built-up’ area if the bus is indicating and has a ‘GIVE WAY’ sign displayed on the back.

Bus lanes are reserved for public buses. In some instances taxis are also permitted. Do not drive in a bus lane or a bus/taxi lane unless leaving or entering a road, passing a turning vehicle or an obstruction. Give way to vehicles already in these lanes before you cross or enter them.

Crossing Water on Roadways

Floodways and river crossings are dangerous. Do not cross if water is too deep or fast.

Inexperienced drivers should use an alternative route if available. If no alternative, before crossing water (e.g. floodways, streams or rivers) always check the depth by getting out and walking the intended crossing if safe. If the water is not flowing, the water level should be no higher than the bottom of the vehicle on conventional 2 wheel drives and no higher than the average adult’s knee (when standing) on higher 4 wheel drives. If the water is flowing and deeper than the bottom of the vehicle, do not cross.

Traffic Signs

Signs make roads safer for all. There are a number of sign categories:

Regulatory signs

Regulatory signs control traffic and must be obeyed.

 8-give-way-sign  9-stop-sign 10-roundabout-sign
11-60kmh-speed-limit-sign 12-no-right-turn-sign 16-no-u-turn-sign
 13-pedestrain-crossing-sign
Pedestrian crossing
17-hand-held-stop-sign
Hand-held stop sign
 14-no-overtaking-sign
 18-keep-left-sign 19-bridge-load-limit-sign 20-no-entry-sign
21-one-way-sign 22-two-way-sign  15-school-zone-sign

Warning signs

Alert you to possible danger. Generally yellow with black lines, writing or numbers. Pedestrian warning signs are usually red-orange. Slow down when you see one. Advisory speed signs can accompany warning signs (e.g. approaching curves/bends). You should slow down to at least the signed speed (even slower in wet weather).

23-merging-trafficMerging traffic 24-steep-descentSteep descent 25-stock-crossingStock crossing
26-truck-crossingTruck crossing 27-children-crossingChildren crossing 28-cross-roadsCross roads
29-t-junctionT-junction 30-side-road-junction Side road junction 31-y-junction Y-junction
32-curveCurve 33-roundaboutRoundabout 34-traffic-signals-aheadSignals ahead
35-reverse-turn-rightReverse turn right 36-turn-rightTurn right 37-road-narrowsRoad narrows
38-hairpin-bend-rightHairpin bend right 39-winding-roadWinding road 40-revese-curve-rightReverse curve right
41-slippery-roadSlippery road 42-narrow-bridgeNarrow bridge   

Guide signs

Guide signs help you find your way around. They give directions, distances, routes, and information on road user services and points of interest.

43-guide-signs

Signs and devices for road works and special purposes

These signs warn about temporary hazards. They are used where road works are in progress. They protect people working and driving, guarding against vehicle damage and protecting the road. Pay particular attention to changed speed limits attached.

44-work-and-special-purpose-signs

Road Markings

Broken lines

Broken lines mark lanes for traffic in the same direction or dividing lines on roads. A broken white line means you may cross to overtake or change lanes, provided it is safe.

Single continuous (unbroken) white lines

Single unbroken lines mark edge lines, lane lines or dividing lines (centre lines).

Where single continuous line is a centre line, do not cross except to leave/enter the road, turn at an intersection or ‘U’ turn. Where the line is a lane line, do not cross the line to change lanes. Where the line is an edge line, you may cross to stop, enter or leave a road, or pass on the left side of a vehicle turning right.

Double continuous (unbroken) lines

These lines are used as dividing lines (centre lines). Do not cross these lines to overtake but you can cross them to turn right at an intersection, ‘U’ turn or enter/leave a road.

Continuous line and broken line combinations

Combinations of these lines mark dividing lines where it may be dangerous to overtake. A continuous line on your side of the road and a broken line on the other side means you must stay to the left of both lines. If the broken line is on your side, you may cross the lines to overtake, turn right, ‘U’ turn or enter or leave the road if it is safe.

Merging lanes

When two lanes merge into one (might also be indicated by signs such as ‘LANE ENDS MERGE LEFT‘ or ‘LANE ENDS MERGE RIGHT’ or ‘FORM ONE LANE’, or symbolic warning signs) you must give way to vehicles in any way ahead of you.

Indicate you are merging by using your indicator or hand signal.

Keep a safe distance between vehicles and take turns to merge in long lines of traffic.

Arrows on the road

You must drive in the direction of arrow markings unless you are able to change to another lane where another direction can be followed.

Children’s crossing

When the children’s crossing guard extends the flags, you must stop before the stop line if there is one and wait until the flags are removed before driving on. Do not enter a children’s crossing if the road beyond is blocked by traffic.

Pedestrian crossing

You must give way to all pedestrians on a pedestrian crossing. Painted zigzag lines can indicate you are approaching a pedestrian crossing.

KEEP CLEAR area

Do not stop your vehicle on road that has the words ‘KEEP CLEAR’ written on it.

Single yellow line

A ‘NO STOPPING’ area may be marked with a single yellow line on the road edge.

Do not stop a car next to or on a single yellow line unless you are held up by traffic.

Traffic Control Signals

Traffic control signals regulate intersection traffic by deciding who goes and who stops.

It is an offence to disobey signals. When nearing signals, be prepared to stop.

Do not do a ‘U’ turn at a traffic light unless a ‘U TURN PERMITTED’ sign allows.

Intersection traffic control signals

  • Traffic control signals always have the coloured lights in the same order.
  • Red means STOP.
  • When the light is red, wait behind the stop line marked near the signal.
  • If there is a traffic sign facing you with the words ‘LEFT TURN ON RED PERMITTED AFTER STOPPING’, you may turn left, if safe. Give way to pedestrians and other traffic. Remember, always stop at the red light first.
  • A yellow light warns the signal is about to change to red. If the light is yellow as you approach you must STOP, IF YOU CAN DO SO SAFELY.
  • When the light is green, proceed through provided it is safe. Watch out for vehicles disobeying signals as vehicles driving through red lights cause crashes.
  • Watch out for pedestrians who may still be crossing the road.

A flashing yellow light indicates the signals are not working properly. Do not confuse these with Pelican Lights that provide safe crossing for pedestrians. If there is a flashing yellow light, treat the intersection as if you have a ‘GIVE WAY’ sign facing you. The same should be done if no light is displayed at all - slow down and be prepare to stop.

Intersection traffic control arrows

Some traffic control signals have arrows in addition to circular lights. Arrows control the movement of turning traffic. If turning, obey arrows pointed in your intended direction.

Red light with green arrow

Do not go straight ahead. You may turn in the direction of the arrow, if safe.

Always give way to all pedestrians crossing at the intersection.

Green light with green arrow

You may go straight ahead or turn in the arrow’s direction, if safe. If the green arrow disappears and no red light or arrow appears, you may proceed – only if safe.

Green light with red arrow

You may go straight ahead, if safe. You may not turn in the arrow’s direction.

Pelican signals

A pelican crossing works like normal traffic control signals, except there is an extra phase – a flashing yellow light (not to be confused with lights that are not working).

The flashing yellow light at a pelican crossing means ‘PROCEED WITH CAUTION’.

You may proceed, unless pedestrians are crossing. If there are, you must give way.

Officer directing traffic

During unusual traffic flows, or if the power is cut, police or authorised persons may be on duty to ease traffic flow. Get into the correct lane and indicate clearly.

Comply with all directions of police or authorised persons. Their directions overrule:

  • traffic control signals
  • ‘STOP’ and ‘GIVE WAY’ signs
  • the ‘give way to the right’ rule
  • arrows or other markings on the road

INDICATORS and HAND Signals

Indicators and hand signals are an effective way to communicate. Stopping, changing lanes or turning without letting others know can cause problems. Be consistent and considerate by using indicators/signals at the appropriate times.

When must you indicate/signal?

You must indicate/signal your intention before:

  • turning left/right
  • changing lanes
  • pulling out from a stationary position
  • moving to the left/right
  • making a ‘U’ turn
  • pulling out to overtake
  • moving back after overtaking
  • slowing down or stopping

Types of indicators/signals

Brake lights

You must signal your intention to stop using brake lights to warn other road you are slowing down. Brake lights must be clearly visible at all times up to 60m.

Flashing indicators

You must give sufficient warning of your intention to turn, diverge, change lanes or overtake. ‘Sufficient warning’ depends on circumstance but should be enough so other road users can take appropriate safety precautions.

On high speed roads, ‘sufficient warning’ may be necessary for several hundred metres, while on low speed roads much less may be sufficient.

If starting from a stationary position at the roadside you must indicate for at least 5 seconds prior to moving. You must also give way to following or overtaking traffic.

Do not drive until it is safe and turn the indicator off after the movement is complete.

Hand signals

Must be used if a vehicle is not equipped with stop light or flashing indicators.

You must indicate out the driver window with a bent arm (hand up to the sky) when:

  • slowing down
  • stopping
  • turning left

You must indicate out the driver window with a straight arm when:

  • turning right
  • overtaking another vehicle

Indicators/signals at roundabouts

Roundabouts have several exit points. Enter only when there is a safe gap in traffic.

When turning left at a roundabout, approach from the left lane, indicate left, stay in the left lane and exit in the left lane.

45-roundabout-left-single-lane 46-roundabout-left-multi-lane
 Turning left - single lane  Turning left - two or more lanes

When turning right at a roundabout, approach from the right lane, indicate right and stay in the right lane. Indicate left, if practical, as you are passing the exit before the one you wish to use. When leaving the roundabout, exit in the right lane.

47-roundabout-right-single-lane 48-roundabout-right-multi-lane
 Turning right - single lane  Turning right - two or more lanes

You do not need to indicate when you are approaching a roundabout if going straight ahead.

Unless the road markings show otherwise, approach from either the left or right lane and drive in that lane throughout.

Indicate left if practical, as you are passing the exit before the one you wish to use. Exit in the same lane in which you entered (exit in the left lane if you entered in the left lane or the right lane if you entered the roundabout in the right lane).

49-roundabout-straight-single-lane 50-roundabout-straight-multi-lane
 Going straight ahead - single lane  Going straight ahead - two or more lanes

If you are using the roundabout to make a full turn (‘U’ turn), follow the instructions for turning right.

Generally, take care when you drive in a roundabout, especially when changing lanes and leaving. Watch out for vehicles leaving the roundabout, vehicles making a full turn, and bicycles, long vehicles and motorcycles.

51-roundabout-full-turn-single-lane 52-roundabout-full-turn-multi-lane
 Full turn - single lane  Full turn - two or more lanes

Freeway Driving

Basic freeway rules

Before you drive on a freeway, make sure you are confident drive at freeway speeds.

As freeway speeds are higher than normal roads, be aware of your surroundings:

  • check your mirrors frequently and your blind spots before changing lanes.
  • indicate/signal well before you change lanes, enter/leave the freeway. Give way to traffic in the lane you are moving into and move smoothly.
  • be smooth and courteous when merging. Give way to vehicles with any part ahead of you. Maintain a safe distance in front.
  • lookout for directional signs so you are prepared to get into the correct lane. Move into the lane when practical but remember not to use the right lane unless overtaking or lanes are congested (where freeway limit is 90km/h or higher).
  • in reduced visibility (rain, fog or smoke) reduce speed and increase following distance. Turn your headlights on to low so others can see you.
  • if your vehicle breaks down on a freeway, pull into the emergency stopping lane or nature strip. Use your hazard lights, stay away from traffic. Be careful when you re-enter traffic. Give way and indicate for at least 5 seconds before moving.

Entering a freeway

Before getting on the freeway:

  • be sure your vehicle is roadworthy, has enough fuel, and any load is secure.
  • plan your journey – know your entry/exit points.
  • adjust your speed as you drive along the entry ramp.
  • make sure you are not entering the freeway at a sharp angle.
  • drive so you merge smoothly with traffic.
  • clearly signal your intentions. Indicate before and while merging. Turn off your indicator when the merge is complete.

Appropriate speeds for freeway driving

Freeways are designed for higher speed traffic flow than standard roads.

Driving too slowly can cause dangerous situations, so to travel at a speed no more than 20km/h below the posted limit (unless conditions prevent you from doing so).

Leaving the freeway

Select the correct lane and indicate your intention to leave in advance of the exit. When safe, move gradually but positively into the exit lane. Slow down when entering the exit ramp and adjust your speed to be prepared for driving in suburban or city conditions.

What you must not do on a freeway

When driving on a freeway, you must not:

  • stop unnecessarily
  • carry an oversize load
  • ride a moped, bicycle or animal
  • reverse your vehicle, or make a ‘U’ turn
  • drive a tractor (other than a prime mover
  • enter a Bus/Taxi lane (unless authorised)
  • stop on the median/nature strip or emergency lane (except in emergencies or to help another disabled vehicle)

Pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed on freeways except on paths.

Intersections

The rules for the different types of intersections help to reduce their danger.

Controlled intersections

A controlled intersection can be controlled by:

  • traffic control signals
  • ‘STOP’/‘GIVE WAY’ sign
  • a roundabout
  • a police officer or authorised person directing traffic

Traffic control signals - be prepared to stop if the light changes to yellow or red.

‘GIVE WAY’ sign - give way to traffic on or turning from the intersecting road.

‘STOP’ sign - stop and give way to traffic on or turning from the intersecting road.

Stop at the line marked across the road before ‘STOP’ signs. If you have to stop back from the line, stop again as close to the line as you can when you move forward.

If there is no line, stop as close to the intersection as practical but before entering it.

Give way to all traffic coming from the left or right, including turning vehicles.

In the image, YOU must give way to Car A and Car C. Car B must give way to YOU, Car A and Car C.

53-stop-aign-intersection

 

When a Police officer or authorised person is directing traffic, take direction from them as their directions overrule traffic control signals and signs. If their back is towards you, stop your vehicle and wait for instructions before driving.

Uncontrolled intersections

Uncontrolled intersections are all others apart from those mentioned above.

The rules for uncontrolled intersections that make them safer are:

  • at a 4-way intersection, give way to cars on your right, whether turning or going straight ahead
54-give-way 55-give-way 56-give-way 57-give-way
  • at a three way intersection, give way to Car A and Car B that are on or turning from the continuing road

58-give-way-3-way-intersection

  • If you are turning right at any uncontrolled intersection, give way to oncoming traffic travelling towards you or turning left.

Roundabouts

At a roundabout, YOU must:

  • give way to all traffic already on the roundabout
  • enter only when there is an adequate and safe gap in the traffic
  • always travel in a clockwise direction.
59-roundabout-give-way

Keep intersections clear

Do not enter an intersection when a queue of traffic prevents you from fully exiting on the other side.

Stop before you enter the intersection so that you do not block crossing traffic.

In the diagram, YOU must stop before the intersection. This allows vehicles such as Car A to cross the road.

60-keep-intersections-clear

Turning

Ensure that a turn can be made without interfering with the progress of oncoming vehicles. While waiting to turn, keep the wheels in the ‘straight ahead’ position because if you’re struck from behind, you will not be pushed into the path of oncoming traffic.

When to indicate/signal your intention to turn?

Indicate for sufficient distance before turning/diverging to warn others of your intentions

Give as much warning as possible. ‘Sufficient distance’ depends on the circumstances. If travelling at high speed, a sufficient distance may be several hundred metres.

Turning

The rules when making a turn are as follows:

  • turning vehicles must give way to pedestrians
  • when turning left you must:
    • indicate/signal before you turn and move to the left side of the road
    • when ‘turning lanes’ are marked, move into the lane marked for left turns
    • look out for and give way to cyclists if crossing a bicycle lane or shoulder
    • give way to pedestrians and turn only when safe
    • keep close to the left of the road after turning
  • when turning right you must:
    • indicate/signal before you turn
    • when lanes are not marked, move as close as possible to the left of the centre of the road and turn to the right of the centre of the intersection
    • when turning right into a multi-lane carriageway (no turning lanes marked) you can enter the carriageway in any lane to the left of the centre of that carriageway, provided it can be done without interfering other traffic
    • on a one-way street, turn from the right side of the road unless marked turning lanes allow alternate turning
    • give way to pedestrians and turn only when it is safe

‘U’ turns

You must not make a ‘U’ turn:

  • if there is a ‘NO U TURN’ sign
  • on a freeway
  • unless it can be made safely and without interfering with other traffic
  • at traffic control signals (unless there is a ‘U TURN PERMITTED’ sign)

Correct ‘U’ turn procedure is to:

  1. look in your rear view mirror
  2. indicate/signal your intention
  3. head check for traffic
  4. turn only if it is safe

Turning at a multi-lane intersection

  • move into the correct lane early (not at the last moment)
  • do not cross unbroken lane lines (unless you cannot turn from a single lane because you are a vehicle 7.5m long or longer)
  • be in the correct position on the roadway before the intersection
  • if you are in an arrow marked lane, go in the direction of the arrow

Turn only when you can see clearly – large vehicles may block approaching traffic.

Changing Lanes

A lot of crashes occur when vehicles change lanes because drivers are not aware another vehicle is already in the lane into which they move. To safely change lanes:

  • check your internal and external mirrors
  • indicate for a sufficient distance to warn of your intentions before beginning your manoeuvre (the higher the speed, the greater the required indicator distance)
  • glance over your shoulder to make sure another vehicle is not in your blind spot
  • check for other drivers who may also be moving into the lane
  • give way to vehicles already in the lane you are entering
  • never change lanes while going through, or approaching an intersection
  • never change lanes where the line between lanes is a continuous line

If someone you indicates they wish to change into your lane be polite and let them in.

Overtaking

Overtaking is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres. Overtake if safe, wait if unsure.

Do not exceed the speed limit or cross continuous line/s to overtake.

When can you overtake?

You can overtake a vehicle on the left only when:

  • directed to do so by a police officer or authorised person
  • on a multi-lane road and it is safe
  • a vehicle indicating to turn right (you can also pass stationary vehicles behind it)

You can overtake on the right when travelling in the same direction and it is safe/legal.

When you must not overtake

You must not overtake another vehicle when:

  • it has slowed down or stopped at a railway, pedestrian or children’s crossing
  • it is stopped at an intersection (unless they signal they are turning) and it is safe
  • there is a ‘NO OVERTAKING’ sign
  • you are nearing a blind bend or hill crest, or you do not have a good view ahead

Do not cross continuous dividing line/s to overtake another vehicle (Car A):

61-continuous-line-do-not-overtake 62-continuous-line-do-not-overtake

How to overtake

To overtake safely you must:

  • get a good view of the road ahead to make sure you have plenty of time/space to return safely to the correct side of the road
  • look behind and to the side of you before overtaking, check your mirrors and head check your blind spots as another vehicle may be overtaking you
  • indicate/signal for a sufficient distance before you pull out to overtake
  • keep to the speed limit when overtaking another vehicle
  • move back into line when safely clear of the vehicle(s) you have overtaken, having indicated your intention to do so before moving back

What to do when you are being overtaken

Move to the left to allow plenty of clearance for the overtaking vehicle. You must not:

  • increase your speed until the overtaking vehicle has completely passed
  • drive in a way that prevents a vehicle from overtaking you

Large and oversize vehicles

Be careful when travelling near vehicles 7.5m long (or longer) turning or negotiating a roundabout. Before and during turns, they are allowed to cross continuous line/s. Do not overtake after they have signalled to turn. Tips for encounters with large vehicles:

  • they need more space to stop so do not overtake and then cut in at locations where traffic queues occur (e.g. traffic signals, roundabouts)
  • be patient they accelerate slowly (they have to move through many gears)
  • when a large vehicle is turning onto the road you are on, keep back from the intersection as it will require more space to make the turn

Reversing is difficult for drivers of large vehicles, so give them plenty of room.

REMEMBER: If you can’t see the driver’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you.

A guide to overtaking large vehicles:

  • be patient and stay back several car lengths without crossing the road centre.
  • when safe - indicate, move out, accelerate and overtake quickly and positively, keeping in mind the road, visibility, weather conditions and speed limit.
  • use your left indicator when you are about to return to the left.
  • after overtaking, maintain your speed. Do not overtake and slow down.
  • allow for oncoming vehicles that may be travelling faster than you think. Only overtake when the road clear - waiting could save your life.
  • never attempt to overtake a large vehicle on a curve/hill where visibility is limited, even when the vehicle is moving slowly.
  • make good use of overtaking lanes to overtake large vehicles.
  • be ready for the wind buffeting you as you pass.
  • be extra careful after dark.

Letting an oncoming oversize vehicle accompanied by a pilot vehicle pass:

  • many oversize vehicles are accompanied by a pilot vehicle with two rotating yellow lights and warning signs on its roof that usually travels in front.
  • pilot vehicles warn approaching drivers. Slow down until the oversize vehicle passes or stop if directed by the pilot vehicle driver.
  • cooperate with the pilot vehicle driver when they signal you to move over as the oversize vehicle may need to be in the centre of the road.
  • if you move off the bitumen, slow down and watch for guide posts that indicate a deep culvert. Use extra care if the road’s edge is wet.

Overtaking an oversize vehicle accompanied by a pilot vehicle from behind:

  • passing an oversize vehicle is dangerous. If there is only one pilot vehicle, it will be in front and will not be able to see you. Be patient and wait for a safe time to pass. Usually the oversize vehicle will periodically pull over to allow traffic to pass
  • if there is also a rear escort vehicle, take directions from this driver. Drivers of pilot vehicles are ‘authorised traffic wardens’ whose directions must be obeyed
  • CB radio (UHF channel 40) can be used to discuss overtaking with pilot drivers

Stopping

There are places where stopping can be dangerous to road users. You must not stop:

  • in intersections or within 10m of an intersection (unless signs allow)
  • between another stopped or parked vehicle and the centre of a road
  • within 20m (approach side) and 10m (leaving side) of a pedestrian/children’s crossing or bus stop63-no-stopping-sign
  • on a bridge or in a tunnel
  • within 3m of a letter box
  • on a median strip or path
  • within 20m of a railway crossing
  • within 1m of a fire hydrant or fire plug
  • in bus lanes, bus/taxi lanes or bicycle lanes
  • in CLEARWAYS during the times shown on signs
  • on Freeways (except in the emergency stopping lane or on nature strip if in an emergency, broken down or helping someone who’s broken down)
  • where there are ‘NO STOPPING’ or ‘NO STANDING’ signs or a single yellow line along the edge of the road. (‘NO STANDING’ = ‘NO STOPPING’)
  • on the road on crests or curves where the vehicle is not visible to an overtaking driver for at least 50m in a ‘built-up’ area or 150m outside a ‘built-up’ area

Parking

To ‘park’ means to remain stationary whether the vehicle is attended or not - except for the purpose of avoiding conflict with traffic, complying with another law, or picking up or setting down passengers or 64-parking-signsgoods (for a maximum of 2 minutes).

Before you park your vehicle, ask yourself:

  • is it safe to park here
  • is it legal
  • will it cause trouble to others

Where you must not park

You must not park part of your vehicle where stopping is not permitted (above) or:65-no-parking-disability-signs

  • in front of a right-of-way, passage or private driveway
  • in a ‘NO PARKING’ area (except for up to 2 minutes to pick up or put down goods or passengers)
  • in parking bays for people with disabilities (misuse can result in a fine). Bays marked with the symbol shown are reserved for holders of a current ACROD parking permit.

How to park

Before you move into a parking place:

  • check for traffic behind
  • slow down
  • give correct signals

When you leave, apply the park brake, remove the ignition key and lock the doors.

When parking in a two-way street, park close to, and parallel with, the left boundary of the street. Unless signs say otherwise, you may park on either side in a one-way street.

When parking in a confined space (reverse parallel park):

  • pull alongside, and parallel to, the car you wish to park behind
  • reverse very slowly
  • steer sharply to the left, until your car is nearly 45° to the kerb with your left front door opposite the rear bumper of the car in front
  • when your front bumper is clear of the rear bumper of the car ahead, turn your steering wheel fully to the right and continue reversing
  • straighten your wheels and move forward to the correct position

Before reversing:

  • use caution and reverse no further than necessary. Remember, it is an offence to reverse when unsafe, or for a greater distance than is reasonable
  • make sure that all is clear behind you

When parking on a hill:

  • apply the park brake, if you are driving a vehicle with:
    • automatic transmission, select ‘PARK’ (P)
    • manual transmission, select the gear which is opposite to the hill slope (if facing uphill, select ‘first’ gear, if facing downhill, select ‘reverse’ gear)

A good idea is to turn your wheels towards the kerb so that the kerb will help stop the vehicle if it does move. After you park, look out for traffic, especially cyclists, and wait until it is safe before opening the door. If there is too much traffic, it may be safer to get out on the side of the vehicle away from the traffic.

Before pulling out from a parking spot:

  • make sure you are in the correct gear
  • do not allow the vehicle to roll back
  • check for traffic, indicate for at least 5 seconds and drive off into a safe gap

Clearways

Clearways are sections of roads where vehicles cannot stop during certain times. Clearways allow the traffic to flow more easily during peak traffic periods.

How do you know which roads are clearways?66-clearway-sign

Clearways are marked by a sign with a large white ‘C’ on a red shield or on a parking meter.

When can you park?

The times stated on signs tell you when you cannot park. This is usually during the morning and/or evening peak traffic periods.67-end-clearway-sign

What happens if you park when you are not supposed to?

Parking your vehicle in a clearway will slow down traffic flow. Penalties are high and can include heavy fines or your vehicle being towed away.

 

Continue reading the Drive Safe: A Handbook for WA Road Users Summary:

1. Safe Driving

2. How to Obtain a WA Driver's Licence

3. Major Road Rules and Additional Safety Advice

4. Emergencies and Crashes

5. The Law and You

6. Cycle Safe


Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Learner's Test WA and get your learner permit (L plates):

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