Lanes

You should keep in the middle of the lane in which you are driving. If there are no lanes marked on the road, drive near the left side of the road.

Before changing lane, signal in plenty of time and check for other vehicles by looking in your mirrors and your blind spot (look over your shoulder).

You must give way to vehicles in the lane you are moving into.

Merging lanes

Sometimes the lane line ends before the lanes merge, as shown below. When merging, the trailing vehicle gives way to the vehicle ahead. Use caution when merging.

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.

Diagram: Merging - lane line ends before merge - Car B (blue) gives way to Car A (green)
Lane line ends before merge - Car B (blue) gives way to Car A (green)
Diagram: Merging - lane ends and you have to cross lane lines - Car A (blue) gives way to Car B (green)
Lane ends and you have to cross lane lines - Car A (blue) gives way to Car B (green)

Slip lanes

These lanes are used to improve safety and traffic flow for vehicles turning left. Unless there are signs to indicate parking, you should not stop in a Slip Lane. Slip Lanes can be marked by a painted island or traffic island. You must use a Slip Lane where one is provided.

Diagram: Slip lane - car A (blue) must give way to the vehicle turning right at the intersection
Car A (blue) must give way to the vehicle turning right at the intersection

Breakdown safety and breakdown lanes

To reduce the risk of a breakdown, it is always best to plan ahead and check you have enough fuel before your trip. Also, keep your vehicle serviced and maintained.

It is important to ensure your own safety and that of other road users in the event of a breakdown or flat tyre.

Only stop if you absolutely have to and if possible, find a safe spot to pull off the road, such as an emergency breakdown area.

Park your vehicle as far to the left as possible and if it is not safe to exit the vehicle, remain in your seat with your seatbelt on and call roadside assistance.

Always activate your hazard lights in the event of a breakdown, even if you have removed your car from the roadway.

Assess the road and surrounds for hazards and risks, when you have broken down and are deciding what to do. Remember it is difficult for large vehicles and vehicles travelling at high speed to stop or slow down quickly.

If it is safe to do so, you can exit your car – preferably from the passenger side – and stand well clear of the road, behind a safety barrier if one is present and the area behind the barrier is safe.

If you break down in poor light conditions, also activate your parking lights.

It is recommended you carry a high-visibility vest and safety markers inside your vehicle, so you can easily and safely access them if you break down.

Transit lanes

These may be used by vehicles containing a certain number of people. These lanes may also be used by buses, taxis, hire cars, motorcycles, bicycles and emergency vehicles regardless of the number of people in them.

The two types of transit lanes are: 

  • Transit (T2) lane: You can drive in this lane when there are two or more people in your vehicle including the driver.
  • Transit (T3) lane: You can drive in this lane when there are three or more people in your vehicle including the driver.
Example signs - T2 and T3 transit lanes.

Without the required number of passengers you can only enter a Transit T2 or Transit T3 lane for a maximum of 100 metres when entering or leaving the road at a driveway or intersection. Penalties apply for driving in transit lanes illegally.

Special purpose lanes

Some roads have lanes set aside for special vehicles such as trucks, buses and bicycles. Signs at the start and end of these lanes indicate their purpose.

Example of median turning lane sign.

Median turning lanes

Vehicles travelling in either direction may use this lane to enter or leave the road at a driveway, property access or intersection. These lanes have signposts or markings on the road and are a shared part of the road.

Vehicles using median turning lanes must give way to all other vehicles.

Diagram: Median turning lane - vehicles using the median turning lane must be way to all other vehicles.
Truck lane sign.

Truck lanes

These lanes must not be used by vehicles other than trucks over 4.5 tonnes GVM.

Trucks use left lane sign.

Truck use left lane

Where a TRUCKS USE LEFT LANE sign appears, trucks must use the left lane until a sign indicates otherwise. All other vehicles may also use this lane. (This also applies if the sign refers to BUSES or TRUCKS & BUSES).

Bicycle rider using a marked bike lane.

Bicycle lanes

When a bicycle lane is marked on the road, cyclists must use it.

These lanes may only be used by bicycles, but you may drive in these lanes for not more than 50 metres to enter or leave the road at a driveway or intersection.

S lanes

S lanes make a right turn lane at intersections by merging the kerb-side lane and making the other lanes follow an S shape. A single unbroken (continuous) white line separates the S shaped lanes. You must not cross this line.

Diagram: S-lane - you must not cross an unbroken line.
Example of a light rail only sign.

Light rail lanes

Only light rail vehicles are allowed to travel in lanes marked with these signs. Be careful not to obstruct the path of a light rail vehicle. At an intersection where a light rail vehicle is already inside, or about to enter the intersection, you should wait until it is clear before proceeding.

Example of a bus lane sign

Bus lanes

These lanes are for buses, but also can be used by:

  • Taxis.
  • Hire cars.
  • Vehicles operated by or under direction of RMS.
  • Bicycles and motorcycles.

Other vehicles may only drive in bus lanes for a maximum of 100 metres to enter or leave the road at a driveway or intersection.

The only vehicles allowed to stop in a bus lane are buses at a bus stop or taxis and hire cars when picking up or setting down passengers.

What to do when turning left:

Drivers turning left to enter a street, property or intersection can enter a bus lane up to 100 metres from where they intend to turn.  This also applies when entering a road with a bus lane.

Turning left from the traffic lane next to the bus lane is NOT permitted and could result in your vehicle being hit by a bus travelling in the bus lane.

Example of a bus only lane sign.

Buses only lanes

When the words BUSES ONLY appear on the BUS LANE sign, or lane markings indicate a bus only Lane, only buses are allowed to drive in these lanes.

What to do when turning left

  • Vehicles turning left must turn from the traffic lane next to the bus-only lane.
  • Vehicle left turn movements are NOT permitted from bus only lanes.
  • Example of a T-way lane sign.

    T-way lanes

    These are special lanes which can only be used by authorised buses and service vehicles.

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