Changing lanes and merging | Transport and motoring | Queensland Government
Changing lanes and merging
When you change lanes, you must give way to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into. This rule applies even if your lane is ending and you have to cross a lane line.
Don’t take risks when changing lanes. Before you change lanes, you must indicate for long enough to give warning to other road users
You must turn off your indicator after you have changed lanes or merged.
There are 2 different give way rules for merging.
Merging on roads that have lane markings
1. On roads where there are lanes marked on the road—if your lane comes to an end, you must give way to traffic already in the lane you are moving to. In this example, Vehicle A (white) must give way to Vehicle B (yellow).
Merging on roads that don’t have lane markings
2. On roads where there are no lanes marked on the road—when lines of traffic merge, you must give way to any vehicle that is ahead of you. In this example, Vehicle B (yellow) must give way to Vehicle A (white).
Lines of traffic refers to adjacent rows of vehicles that do not have a lane separation line between them.
Video of merging
Watch the video to better understand the right way to merge depending on your situation.
View transcript ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lanes/index.html#trans1 )
A lot of people believe you must give way to the right when merging.
But that’s not the rule. There are actually two different merging rules to remember, depending on the situation.
Let’s look at merging situation number one, when one marked lane comes to an end. If it’s your lane that’s ending, it’s just like any other lane change, you must give way to any traffic already in the lane you’re moving into. So here, vehicle A needs to give way to vehicle B. When the lane is clear, vehicle A is free to move across.
The other merging situation arises when there are no marked lanes, but different lines of traffic merging together into one. In this situation, you must give way to any vehicle that’s in front of you. So vehicle B needs to give way to vehicle A.
Doing it the right way is easy when you know how.
Merging safely on motorways
- Plan your route before you enter a motorway.
- Build up speed to match that of the traffic already on the motorway—this can help you to find a safe gap in the traffic.
- Look for a gap between the vehicles in the closest lane and safely build up speed on the on-ramp so you enter at the motorway traffic’s speed.
- When driving on a motorway, watch for other vehicles entering from an on-ramp and adjust your speed and/or lane to allow them to enter safely.
- Be ready and in the correct lane as your exit approaches.
If you miss your exit, continue to the next exit.
Who gives way at a roundabout?
When approaching a roundabout you must give way to all vehicles already on the roundabout.
In some cases on a multi-lane roundabout, it may be necessary to change lanes before exiting. If you are changing lanes you must give way to vehicles in the lane you are moving to.
Some people think you should give way to vehicles approaching from the right on a roundabout.
But, that’s not the rule.
You must give way to any vehicles already on the roundabout before you enter.
So if a car already on a roundabout just happens to be on your right, you must give way to it. Here, car A must give way to car B.
And if a car already on a roundabout happens to be directly in front of you or on your left, you must give way to it too. So, once again, car A must give way to car B.
It doesn’t matter if a car is on your left or on your right, if it’s already on the roundabout, you must give way to it before you enter.
Giving way on roundabouts is straightforward, when you know the rules.
When to turn off a multi-lane roundabout
You can position your car to be in the correct lane at a roundabout by looking for signs, lane markings and arrows when approaching the roundabout.
Unless traffic lane arrows indicate otherwise, if you want to:
- turn left, use the left lane
- turn right, use the right lane
- go straight ahead, use either lane.
Keeping left and overtaking | Transport and motoring | Queensland Government
Keeping left and overtaking
On single-lane roads, you must stay as close as practical to the left side of the road.
On multi-lane roads, if the speed limit is 90km/h or more, or if the road has a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign, you must not drive in the right-hand lane unless you are:
- turning right
- making a U-turn
- avoiding an obstruction
- driving in congested traffic
- using a special purpose lane that you are allowed to be in.
Drivers are allowed to overtake on the left on all multi-lane roads.
Video of keeping left
Watch this short video to learn more about keeping left and overtaking.
View transcript ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/left/index.html#trans1 )
Is it okay to drive in the right hand lane if there isn’t a keep left unless overtaking sign?
Well, no, that’s not the rule.
If the speed limit on a multi-lane road is 90 kilometres per hour or more, there’s no need for a KEEP LESS UNLESS OVERTAKING sign.
You must keep the right hand lane free, unless:
- you are overtaking,
- avoiding an obstruction,
- or if the traffic in the left hand lanes is congested.
It’s all about keeping the traffic moving.
So remember the rule, if the speed limit is 90 kilometres per hour or more, you must keep left so the right lane is always free.
You can only overtake another vehicle if you have a clear view of any approaching traffic and you can do so safely. Make sure all road markings and signs allow you to overtake.
You can only overtake to the left of a vehicle if it is safe to do so and:
- you are driving on a multi-lane road and the vehicle can be overtaken in a marked lane to the left of the vehicle
- the vehicle is turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road and is indicating right
- the vehicle is stationary
- you are lane filtering on a motorcycle.
It is never legal to exceed the speed limit to overtake another vehicle.
Overtaking at a pedestrian or children’s crossing
If you’re approaching a pedestrian or children’s crossing, you cannot overtake or pass a vehicle that is travelling in the same direction and has stopped, or is stopping at the crossing.
Motorists passing cyclists
Check the rules for motorists when passing cyclists ( http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/other/cyclists/index.html ).
Overtaking while cycling
While cycling, you can overtake vehicles on the left but must give way to any vehicle in front of you that is turning left and signalling to turn left.
Read more about cycling road rules and safety ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/wheeled-devices/bicycle/index.html ).
Road markings | Transport and motoring | Queensland Government
Road markings in Queensland include lines, painted islands, traffic lane arrows, dividing strips, and turning bays—with most being painted white.
Lines are painted on the road to guide you when driving.
Painted lines include:
- continuous centre lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#centre )
- broken centre lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#broken )
- continuous lane lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#lane )
- continuous edge lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#edge )
- painted traffic islands ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#painted )
- stop and give way lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#stop )
- wide centre lines ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#wide ).
Single continuous line
Crossing a single continuous line
You can cross a single continuous centre line to enter or leave a road, including entering or leaving a property, and to safely pass cyclists.
You cannot cross a single continuous centre line to overtake or do a U-turn.
Single continuous centre line left of a broken line
Crossing a single continuous line left of a broken line
You can enter or leave a property or road by crossing a single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line. You can also cross the line to pass a cyclist, provided it is safe to do so.
If you are on the same side of the road as the continuous line you cannot cross the line to overtake or do a U-turn.
Double continuous centre lines
Double continuous centre lines
You must not cross a double continuous centre line except to safely pass a cyclist.
Video of continuous centre lines
Watch the video to learn more about continuous centre lines.
View transcript ( https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/road/lines/index.html#trans1 )
A lot of people believe you must never cross a continuous centre line.
But that’s not the rule.
You certainly can’t overtake when there’s a continuous centre line and you can’t do a U-turn across one.
But you are allowed to cross a continuous centre line if you are entering a road or leaving a road.
Even if there’s a broken line on the other side, you’re still permitted to cross the continuous centre line if you are entering or leaving a road.
But remember, if there’s a double continuous centre line, you’re not permitted to cross it at all.
Similar rules apply to painted traffic islands. If the island’s surrounded by one continuous line, you can drive on or over it for up to 50 metres in order to enter or leave the road, or to enter a turning lane that begins immediately after the island.
But if the island’s surrounded by double continuous lines, or if it separates traffic flowing in the same direction, like where an onramp merges on to a motorway, you must stay off it, unless you need to avoid an obstruction.
Doing it the right way is easy when you know how.
Overtaking across a broken centre line
You can overtake across a broken single centre line, or broken centre line to the left of a continuous centre line. You can also turn or do a U-turn across this type of line.
Double broken lines
Double broken centre lines have the same legal standing as a single broken centre line.
You must not cross a continuous line separating 2 lanes unless the lane you are moving to or from is a special purpose lane, such as a transit lane, and the driver is allowed to use the special purpose lane.
Edge lines mark the edge of the road. The area to the left of the edge line is called the shoulder of the road and is not an extra lane for vehicles to travel. Cyclists may travel on the road shoulder.
Motorcyclists—with an open licence for the type of motorcycle they are riding—can also use the road shoulder on roads with a speed limit of 90km/h or over, to pass stationary or slow moving traffic providing they’re not travelling over 30km/h.
You must not cross the continuous white line at the edge of the road unless you are:
- overtaking to the left of a vehicle that is turning right or making a U-turn
- driving a slow-moving vehicle—to allow other vehicles to overtake or pass.
You can cross a continuous white edge line and travel for up to 100m when you are:
- entering or leaving a single lane road
- turning at an intersection from a single lane road
- stopping at the side of a road—unless signs or markings say not to.
If you are on a multi-lane road you should not cross any edge line before turning.
If the edge line is yellow, stopping and parking is prohibited where the line is marked.
Crossing a painted traffic island with a single continuous line
You can drive on a painted traffic island that is surrounded by a single continuous line for up to 50m to:
- enter or leave the road
- enter a turning lane that begins immediately after the island.
You can also drive on a painted island to safely overtake a cyclist.
You must not drive on a painted traffic island if the island:
- is surrounded by double continuous lines
- separates traffic flowing in the same direction—like where an onramp merges onto a motorway.
Stop and give way lines have the same meaning and authority as stop and give way signs.
If you approach a stop line or give way line, where there is no corresponding sign installed, you must obey the road markings as if there was a sign in place.
A road with wide centre lines
A wide centre line or strip replaces the existing centre lines with 2 new lines that are up to 1m apart—but the road rules remain the same.
It is illegal to overtake or do a U-turn across a single or double continuous centre line, or a continuous centre line to the left of a broken line.
You can overtake or do a U-turn across a double broken centre line or a continuous centre line with a broken line to the left of it.