By Lauren Ferrone
Last updated on: July 1, 2019 at 5:17 pm
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. That’s RAA’s warning for motorists changing lanes through intersections.
Fact: 19 out of last year’s 20 most common crash spots in South Australia were at intersections.
According to RAA’s Motoring Road Rules Consultant, Graeme O’Dea, there’s no law stating lane changes through intersections – including a roundabout – are illegal, but last-minute moves aren’t recommended.
“Last-minute moves like this near or through an intersection should be avoided as a matter of habit,” Mr O’Dea says.
In most cases, there are no marked lines through intersections to guide drivers from one lane to another, which makes changing lanes even more dangerous.
Motorists need to remember that the same rules apply when changing lanes through an intersection as they do with other lane-changes.
That is, a driver must give sufficient warning of their intention to change direction by using their left or right indicator.
Ignore this rule and you could be fined $333, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 2 demerit points. This penalty is just one of many which increased as of 1 July.
What’s more, if you change lanes without giving way to vehicles travelling in the lane you want to enter, you can expect a double whammy of consequences. Failure to give way will result in a $349 fine, a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points.
How to avoid last-minute lane changes
While it may not be illegal to change lanes through an intersection, it’s against the law to drive through a congested intersection.
The law states a driver mustn’t proceed unless they can see, with certainty, that there’s space for their car on the other side of the intersection.
Blocking an intersection
You’ll be fined this much, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 3 demerit points.
How to make a seamless lane-change
- Know where you’re headed. If you know you need to be in a certain lane, move into it ahead of time, if it’s safe to do so.
- Look ahead for hazards such as cyclists or slow or stationary traffic.
- Check your mirrors, flick your indicator on for long enough to inform other motorists of your intention. Don’t forget to check your blind spot before moving into the lane.
- Do another mirror check once you have changed lanes and make sure you have turned your indicator off otherwise you’ll be up for a $223 fine, $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 2 demerit points.
Don’t risk changing lanes if you’re not confident you can do so safely. It’s wiser to stay in the lane you’re in until another opportunity arises to make your move.