8 Frequently Asked Road Rules You Should Know

Written by Omid Karimi

A lot of new drivers feel that some road rules are complex and frightening. Some have uncertainty when it comes to a few road rules. It's understandable if you feel that way, too. And we've encountered a bunch of the same questions asking for more clarifications on some of the road rules. So we've put together a list of the most often asked road rules for you. Hopefully, this will help you learn more about the rules and be confident on the road. 

1. Changing lanes and merging. 

Most beginner drivers are terrified when it comes to changing lanes and merging into traffic. Most people think that the driver on the left must always give way to the right when merging. 

But there are two give way rules for this: 1) marked lanes on the road. if your lane comes to an end, you must give way to the vehicle already in the lane you're moving into. 2) unmarked lanes. You must give way to any vehicle that is ahead of you, no matter if you're on the right lane. 

Before making any lane change, you must always indicate far enough to give a warning to other road users. Then turn off your signal lights once you've changed lanes or merged into traffic.

Another thing to remember is to prepare to adjust your speed according to the speed limit. You might need to speed up and match your speed to the speed of the traffic, especially when merging into highways.

2. Giving way at intersections. 

At many intersections, there are areas where you can see the "Give Way" sign to give you a heads-up, like the photo shows below:

However, there are numerous situations where a "Give Way" sign is not present. And it can be quite confusing for a lot of people. You might only see a ‘broken line’ on the surface of the road, like the photo below: 

or even nothing at all, as you can see on the photo below:

At T-intersections, remember to ALWAYS give way. If your road is the one that comes to an end and you are entering a new road, you must give way to all the cars on the ongoing road. Even though there are no lines or signs, you should slow down and check if it's safe to proceed. This is the rule for T-intersections.

Remember the purpose of why you need to give way. It is for you to check if it's safe to proceed driving to prevent a crash from happening. And you can do that if you slow down before an intersection.

3. Keeping left and overtaking. 

This rule can be confusing at first for overseas drivers who are used to driving on the right side of the road. On a single-lane road, drivers must stay as close and as safe as possible to the left side of the road. 

If you're traveling on a multi-lane with a posted speed limit of 90km/h, you must keep the right-hand lane clear. You can only drive at the right-hand lane if you are:

  • overtaking 
  • turning right 
  • making a U-turn 
  • avoiding an obstruction 
  • driving in congested traffic 
  • using a special purpose lane that you are allowed to be in
You can only overtake another vehicle when you have a clear view of oncoming traffic. Make sure the road markings and signs allow you to overtake and determine if it is safe to do so.

However, you should not overtake if you are approaching a pedestrian or children's crossing to avoid accidents.

Of course, sometimes you have to speed up when overtaking but remember that it is illegal to exceed the posted speed limit. Make sure you have enough time to overtake so you don't make any violations and keep everyone out of harm.

4. Road markings. 

Drivers should always look at their surroundings when they travel and this includes road markings. Road markings include centre lines, painted islands, traffic lane arrows, dividing strips, and turning bays. They are painted on the road, with most being white, to guide road users.

For example, a single continuous line means drivers are not allowed to overtake or make a U-turn. But you are allowed to cross it if you're, entering or leaving a road. However, you are not allowed to enter or leave a road if you see a double line. Here's an example of what you should not do when you see these painted lines.

5. Roundabouts. 

Going on a roundabout can be a headache for drivers, especially beginners. And it is most confusing for overseas drivers. You should slow down or stop if needed. It doesn't matter if the car is on your left or right (for example on very small roundabouts). Drivers must give way to all vehicles that are already on the roundabout. Remember to travel clockwise when entering a roundabout. This way road users are able to keep the flow of traffic.

6. Safe following distance.

It is imperative for drivers to keep a safe following distance to the vehicles in front. Getting too close to another vehicle is considered tailgating. You should leave a safe distance to safely stop to avoid a collision. At the least, you should drive 2 seconds behind other vehicles but this varies depending on:

  • your speed 
  • driving conditions 
  • type of vehicle you're driving
If you're traveling with a trailer, make sure to add an extra 1 second for every 3 metres of trailer length.

7. Special purpose lanes. 

It is intended for certain types of vehicles. You could be fined if you travel in these lanes illegally. Here are the four types of special purpose lanes you should know.

  1. bus lanes 
  2. bike lanes 
  3.  tram lanes 
  4.  transit lanes
You should avoid travelling in these lanes unless your vehicle is specifically allowed or you need to:

  • avoid an obstruction 
  • obey traffic signs 
  • operating in the lane travel a permitted distance - which is up to 50 metres in a bike lane and 100 metres in any other special purpose lane. And only if you are to:
    • enter or leave a road 
    • move from one part of the road to another 
    • overtake to the left of a vehicle signalling to turn right 
    • enter a marked lane from the side of the road

8. Parking and Towing. 

Some people may have already experienced getting a ticket for parking their car on the side of the road. This is mainly due to not paying enough attention to road signs and road markings. There are signs which indicate where you can and cannot park, as well as their restrictions. This can be time limits, vehicle restrictions, exemptions, and no parking. It is also essential not to take up more than a single parking space if the parking spaces are marked on the road. So make sure you get some tips from your driving lessons on parking.

Your car will be towed if you violate regulated parking or park on private property. Make sure you pay attention to the signs and follow them to avoid getting a ticket.

Do your part and make it a habit to follow these rules when driving. If you do, you become a safe and responsible driver. Any hesitations about any signs, contact us or join our private Facebook group. You can bring up your questions there and someone will help you.

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