How hard can it be?


The changes to the road rules, which happen at 5am tomorrow morning, are worrying some people, but how hard can it be?

Jim Hopkins, with tongue in cheek says it could be tricky:

It’s going to be chaos. There’s no two ways about it. The very best place for any of us come 5am on Sunday will be between the sheets, not on the streets. Better bed than dead is the advice, unless, of course, we’re happy to let chaos reign and the scuppers run with gore.

Because that’s what will happen, sure as eggs. We’ll be like Lamborghinis to the slaughter out there; dithering, dallying and desperately trying to remember what we’re supposed to do and when we’re supposed to turn. . . .

But seriously, it isn’t that hard: give way to the right except when turning left; and give way when turning right unless you’re moving from a through road covers the main changes.

The effect of this is that left turning vehicles will no longer have to yield to those turning right and those turning right from the terminating leg of a T intersection will have to give way to anyone turning right form the through road.


5/5 and 14/14


5/5 in the Herald’s quiz on Sunday’s change to the give-way rules.

14/14 in the eDrive interactive test on the rules (hat tip: Kiwiblog).

Old rules give way to common sense with proposed rule changes


The public is being consulted on proposed changes to give way rules.

Proposed changes to New Zealand’s give way rules released for public comment today are expected to reduce intersection crashes and improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the NZ Transport Agency says.

New Zealand’s current give-way rules place complex demands on road users, and changes were identified last year as a road safety priority in the Government’s 10 year Safer Journeys road safety strategy.

Intersection crashes currently account for 17 percent of fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, and over 80 percent of intersection crashes causing injuries occur in urban areas. In the ten years to 2009, the number of crashes involving pedestrians and turning vehicles at intersections doubled.

It is expected that the proposed changes to the give-way rules will reduce intersection crashes and improve safety, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, as the proposed changes will result in less complex decision-making at intersections.

When in doubt give way to the right generally applies on our roads so in theory a vehicle turning left at an intersection should give way to an on-coming one turning right.

But it doesn’t work well in practice. It requires the driver of the left turning vehicle to check mirrors to ensure there’s no vehicle approaching from behind to which the on-coming one would have to give way; and the right turning vehicle has to be certain the left turning one is going to yield. This leads to hesitation and confusion.

Giving the left turning vehicle right of way is merely applying the guiding principle of right turning vehicles gives way to all other traffic.

The other change applies to who gives way at T-intersections. At the moment a vehicle on the through road turning right gives way to one turning right from the trunk road which often leads to congestion as it holds up traffic behind.

Both changes ought to make traffic flow more easily after the initial inevitable period of confusion, when most drivers will hesitate because  either they won’t be sure whether or not they have the right of way or  whether or not the other driver will yield to them.

If you want to check your knowledge of current give way rules, the NZ Transport agency has activity cards here. I got all but # 11 right.

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