Ready, Set, Give Way

The Give Way rules are set to change…get ready for mayhem on the roads…though the beltway boffins in Wellington reckon that it will all go smoothly…they have clearly never driven in South Auckland.

The Transport Agency will spend $1.2 million on publicity in the 10 days preceding the rule change, which will bring NZ into line with the world by requiring vehicles turning right at intersections to give way to those turning left.

It plans a “short and sharp” campaign so drivers do not start practising too early for the change, causing extra mayhem on the roads.

Although right-turning vehicles have had the right of way since 1977, there is still considerable confusion among opposing drivers at intersections, and the agency has chosen what it hopes will be a quiet Sunday to revert to the previous regime.

Drivers turning right into uncontrolled intersections from “terminating” roads will also be required to give way to those crossing their paths from the left, also reversing an existing rule.

The publicity drive will include a leaflet drop to 1.73 million households and video updates to the website.

Auckland Transport has also allocated $76,000 for regional publicity and expects to spend about $500,000 on intersection modifications. Its website will include an interactive learning “tool” for drivers to practise the proposed changes.


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  • thor42

    Some people think the current rule is hard to understand.
    I disagree.
    The current rule is – if you are turning left, you give way.
    What is “hard” about that? 
    The new rule means that you have to think about whether you’re on a T-intersection and a few other things.  

    • I’ve always taught it more simply than even
      that thor42 – and in doing so it applies equally at roundabouts. Give way to
      any traffic approaching from your drivers side on all occasions. Most drivers
      treat roundabouts as intersections with an island in them so this
      “rule” makes it easier to understand and follow.  Not sure how
      the Kiwi brain (I use that term advisedly) is going to cope with a roundabout
      with four exits – i.e. that actually looks like an intersection.

  • Lindsay Addie


    Your right it ain’t rocket science to understand the changes, but as Whale says it will cause mayhem as there are plenty of morons who are allowed behind the wheel of a car in NZ.

    The NZTA page on the changes is here:

    Easy as ABC.

  • Ciaron_A

    God luck turning right now… it’s hard enough in some places, but it will be virtually impossible after this.

    (that is unless a shitload of cash is spent on right turning lanes and signals)

  • pdm

    `they have clearly never driven in South Auckland.’

    or in Havelock North where most drivers think indicators are for decoration only.

    •  The Kiwi favourite – “But officer I did indicate!”  “Yes sir. But you are supposed to do it for three seconds BEFORE you intend to turn, and continue to do so while you are turning. Not leave it until you are actually in the process of turning – your indicator is a warning device not a confirmation device”.

    • Steve (North Shore)

      In Auckland if your indicators work, it is a factory defect – return your vehical.
      Btw, get out of my fucking road (silent mantra to morons)

  • rouppe

    I actually think it will make things easier most of the time. I can’t remember how many times I try and pull out of a supermarket carpark, turning right, and cars come from my left, indicating to go into the supermarket, and pull in front of me when they are supposed to give way.

    That is, they already acting as if the new rules are in place because as others have said they are too stupid to understand the current rules.

    Remember too, that the vast majority of T-intersections are already controlled (have a give-way or stop sign) so the new rules don’t apply at the end of those ‘terminating’ roads.

    So really it comes down to cars opposing each other at intersections. About 6 times out of 10 I don’t give way turning left, because I have seen cars coming behind me that force the right turning vehicle to wait anyway.

    She’ll be right, mate. No worries!

    • jonno1

      I agree the T-intersection change is needed, not because there’s anything wrong with the existing rule, but because most drivers ignore it. I suspect that’s partly due to the majority of intersections being controlled.

      The funniest thing is the abuse one gets when turning right out of an uncontrolled T-intersection when the other fellow thinks he has the right of way. What will he think when he reads of the rule change? – oh wait, he doesn’t read the rules anyway.

      But I think changing the left-hand give-way rule is a recipe for disaster; I hope I’m wrong, but will just have to wait and see.

      I got a bit confused once driving in the US as to who had right of way in a particular situation, so asked a local. He looked puzzled, then said “whoever gets there first”. Not a bad rule, a bit like the one in China: where there’s an accident, the larger vehicle is at fault. End of story.

  • Daz

    I’ve always thought of it as “if they can possibly hit my door and hurt me, I give way”.  Now it’s the opposite – “If I can possibly hit their drivers door, I give way”.

  • Guestosterone

    old rule was fine

    give way to anyone who might drive into your drivers door and kill you

  • Onenine7

    Any one been to Melbourne, the hook turn to accommodate the trams is mind boggling. And so to is our insane but unique give way when left turning rule. The problem with the give way when turning left is like an old man with prostrate issues.. It’s all about flow….how many times have you seen Nana parked at an intersection on her Morry Minor giving way to the guy turning right.. But he is sitting there because the 5 kilometers of traffic that built up behind Nana is now passing her.. So they both sit and wait.. The current rule is nuts and at odds with international convention on this sort of stuff.. Let’s change it as soon as all the old people die, coz we know they can’t abide change

    • jay cee

      hook turn in melbourne? been there, done for the rule change i’m still getting my head around the current one other than turning left. yes like the above menioned nana i’m
      also worried that the other person on my right is going to give way,by which time my wife is telling me who gives way to whom.bless her.

  • Jimmie

    The rule change they should bring in – which they have in the US – is the right to turn on the short side on a red light if there is no through traffic. (Over there when you turn right, here it would be when you turn left)
    It saves heaps of time and keeps a lot more traffic flowing.

    I dunno if their 4 way Stop sign system would work here though – their rule that the first to the intersection has the right of way would be too scary to run in NZ methinks.

    • Joes

       “The rule change they should bring in – which they have in the US – is
      the right to turn on the short side on a red light if there is no
      through traffic.”

      It’s a great rule and there was a trial here on the North Shore – College Rd I believe it was.  The problem was too many people would look to the right to check for oncoming cars… when it was free they would start the turn but hit pedestrians (crossing the road) that they didn’t notice.

      The changes that they are making bring NZ into line with the rest of the world.  Or maybe the rest of the world is wrong about which is the better way of doing it and bring it into line with us?

  • mihalku

    The problem with the current left-turn rule is that it was never backed up  by a rule preventing other drivers from passing the left-turning car which has stopped to give way.

    Also I am worried by the new T-junction rule which will now be the exact opposite  of the rule that applies to uncontrolled crossroads (unchanged), where both cars are turning right. How many T-junctions have another road close-by that just might be considered a crossroads? Leaving such situations open to third party (police or Court) interpretation after the collision, is unacceptable.

  • Mr_Blobby

    What a load of hysterical rubbish.
    Most drivers on the road don’t know what the current road rules and a big percentage isn’t licensed.
    Drive like everyone else on the road is a complete moron.

  • Rule changes wont mean much down here in South Auckland – all drive like they are God any way or a few sandwiches short of a picnic. The current rules were fine – just not enough cops enforcing them which would of been a bigger revenue collector than speeding fines – although (looks at our boarder) 

  • titanuranus

    It`s gonna be fucking hilarious, I should have been a panelbeater.

    I remember them trialling the free left turn on a red light ,but they canned it cos` kiwi drivers could not cope with it. It has taken drivers the best part of 30 years to get their heads around this ridiculous give way when turning left rule,L o L, now they are changing it back .

  • Steve (North Shore)

    It is usualy the more intelligent with an expensive vehicle who are discombobulated.
    Then again maybe they just don’t give a shit – blame the other party

  • Lcmortensen

    I’m just waiting for the following:

    a) A crash to occur between a right-turning and left-turning vehicle at 5am on 25 March, because the clock in the right turning car read 4:59am and the clock in the left turning car read 5:01am.

    b) Numerous three car pile-ups resulting in straight through cars doing 100km/h rear-ending a right tuning vehicle waiting and pushing the right-turning car into the oncoming lane to be hit by oncoming traffic (no-one follows that Road Code recommendation to keep you wheels straight until you begin to turn)

    c) Phil Twyford grilling Gerry Brownlee in question time over the spate on increased crashes as a result of the rule change.