Danielle McCarthy

Legal

When not to keep left: The road rules which may surprise many motorists

When not to keep left: The road rules which may surprise many motorists

A video released by Transport for NSW has revealed the handful of exceptions to the keep left rule on motorways.

According to Transport for NSW, drivers must stay in the left lane when the speed limit is 80km/h or more on NSW multi-lane roads.

“If a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign is displayed, the requirement to stay in the left lane applies regardless of the speed limit,” the video said.

Disobeying this rule when there is a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign can result in a hefty $337 fine in NSW.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

Drivers may leave the left lane when overtaking other cars or turning right.

Another exception to the rule is when drivers need to avoid an obstacle or there is congested traffic.

Vehicles in a special purpose lane are not required to keep left.

Drivers may also leave the left lane when it is a ‘must turn left’ lane or left traffic arrow, and the driver is not turning left.

Founder of road safety organisation the Sarah Group, Peter Frazer, said ignoring the important road rule can lead to disaster.

Mr Frazer started the organisation in memory of his 23-year-old daughter, Sarah Frazer, who was killed in a road accident in 2012.

“On a major highway, despite the fact that it may say keep left unless overtaking, people will often do as they please. That can cause aggression, and aggression can lead to incidents and crashes, the consequences of which can be serious injury and even death,” Mr Frazer said.

“People are aware of the rule, but behaviour tends to be a bit more selfish on the roads,” he said.

He urged motorists to not have a self-focused attitude while driving on the roads.

“One of the common effects of flouting this rule is road rage. We’ve lost the concept of ‘sharing’ the road – people believe that they own the road, and that’s the key attitude now,” he said.

“We have to educate people about road rules, then reinforce that. In many cases, it’s simply about common courtesy on the road,” he said.

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