Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Road Rules From Tomorrow

By now you know two of our 'give way' road rules are changing.
We're actually the last country in the world to get rid of these ones! Every motorist, cyclist and even pedestrian needs to know them: they kick in from 5am tomorrow (Sunday March 25).
These changes only apply when a vehicle turning right is facing a vehicle turning left, or at intersections. The 'give way' rules at roundabouts and in all other situations are not changing.
Change 1: The left-turn vs right-turn rule
The new rule requires all traffic turning right to give way to a vehicle coming from the opposite direction and turning left. This applies at crossroads, T-intersections and driveways where two vehicles are facing each other with no signs or signals, or both are at the same sign or signal (eg: both at a 'give way' or stop sign, or both with a green light).
Change 2: At T-intersections without signs or signals
At uncontrolled T-intersections, traffic coming from the road that ends at the T-intersection (ie: the bottom of the T) must give way to traffic on the continuing road (ie: the top of the T). This also applies to uncontrolled driveways like supermarket entrances, and means vehicles exiting a driveway must give way to all.

These departing rules were introduced in 1977. We copied the Oz state of Victoria which introduced them to assist Melbourne trams (so why did we follow them???) They scrapped this in 1993 (crashes at intersections dropped by 7%) and we were left holding the baby. The AA says the current law's partly to blame for more than 2500 prangs a year. Of those, 73 involve injuries, with one or two deaths, and cost $22m.
We'll all need to be a lot more cautious as everyone adjusts - after all, we have generations of drivers who know nothing but the old rules! But it's a safe bet the local panelbeaters will do ok!

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