It’s safe to assume that almost all drivers will know road signs such as ‘Stop’ and ‘Give Way’. However, there are some signs which can still baffle us, and because safety always comes first, it’s important to clear up what these are and what they mean. Here is our list of most commonly misunderstood road signs. 

Traffic lights 

When approaching a yellow light, there can be a feeling of ‘could I make it if I hit the accelerator?’ A yellow light is a warning indicating you should slow down to a stop, therefore the answer in this instance is ‘no’, do not try and speed up to make it. However, if you feel you would be stopping too suddenly and may cause a crash with the vehicle behind you, it will be important to calculate your risks quickly. To avoid this scenario, you should allow yourself plenty of distance and time to stop safely should a yellow light turn. 

Pedestrian crossings 

Pedestrians have a right of way in a number of instances. If you are approaching a pedestrian crossing which is empty, you may drive through. However, if there is a person about to cross or in the act of crossing then you must stop and allow them to cross. The law also indicates that turning drivers must give way to pedestrians crossing at any intersection, with or without lights. 

U-turn signs 

It might seem safe to perform a U-turn in some areas; however, except in Victoria, these are not permitted at traffic lights unless there is a sign letting you know that U-turns are permitted. It’s also illegal to perform a U-turn over a continuous white dividing line. 

Form one lane 

Merging has been a hotly debated topic for some time. The rules indicate that the vehicle which is travelling ahead has the right of way when it comes to forming one lane and merging. Keep in mind though, if the lane ends and you have to merge across lane lines, this is considered the same as changing lanes, and you’ll need to give way.

Hook turns

Hook turns are most common in Melbourne’s CBD and in South Australia. A hook turn means the driver is turning right from the left lane. If you’ve ever witnessed a hook turn, it may look a little tricky and out of place, however there is good reasoning behind it. Hook turns are performed to allow a space for trams to pass, and to allow drivers to turn without having to wait for a long time. 

Regardless if you’ve been driving for a number of years or are new to the roads, you may not realise you have been misunderstanding some common road signs. This is why it’s important to stay fresh in your knowledge of the road rules and signs. By staying aware and checking anything you are not sure about, you’ll ensure you stay safe on the roads. 

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