Thursday is 'Managing merging traffic'

FOCUS: Police target motorists who fail to properly merge in traffic as part of their monthly Thursday campaign.
FOCUS: Police target motorists who fail to properly merge in traffic as part of their monthly Thursday campaign.

The new police education initiative to highlight road rules that cause frustration for motorists, will concentrate on motorists merging lawfully and safely on Thursday.

Introduced in July, the ongoing Traffic Thursday campaign by SA Police is focused on driver education in a bid to make the roads safer for everyone.

Each month police highlight road rules linked with driver behaviour that causes frustration for other road users, or rules that appear to be widely misunderstood.

In addition to the Fatal Five, police know that driver frustration can lead to risky or dangerous behaviours that ultimately put all road users at risk.

“We are pleased with the impact of this campaign to date”, acting officer in charge of Traffic Support Branch, Detective Inspector Peter Dunstone said.

“This campaign is about creating community discussion and education to act as a ‘road rules refresher’ for all drivers.

“Education is a key component, but ultimately enforcement of the Road Rules is a factor too.”

This Traffic Thursday will see police focusing on lane behaviour by drivers – ensuring they know the obligations imposed upon each vehicle under the Australian Road Rules.

If you are on a road where the traffic is merging from two lines to one line, you must give way to a vehicle on your left or right if any part of that vehicle is ahead of your vehicle. This is commonly called the Zip Merge.

However, this doesn’t apply where lane lines are marked between the vehicles and one lane is ending such as at the end of overtaking lanes and when entering the freeway.

“SA Police are publishing information about the laws around lane behaviour this week, and I ask all drivers to reacquaint themselves with this information,” Detective Inspector Dunstone said.

“In addition to knowing the law, we ask all drivers to be courteous – to treat other drivers as they would want to be treated.”

While a range of offences relate to lane behaviour, those particularly focused on merging carry an expiation fee of $325, plus $60 Victims of Crime Levy and three demerit points.

Australian Road Rules:

ARR 148 —Giving way when moving from one marked lane or line of traffic to another marked lane or line of traffic

(1) A driver who is moving from one marked lane (whether or not the lane is ending) to another marked lane must give way to any vehicle travelling in the same direction as the driver in the marked lane to which the driver is moving

(2) A driver on a road with 2 or more lines of traffic travelling in the same direction as the driver, and who is moving from one line of traffic to another line of traffic, must give way to any vehicle travelling in the same direction as the driver in the line of traffic to which the driver is moving.

(3) Subrule (2) does not apply to a driver if the line of traffic in which the driver is driving is merging with the line of traffic to which the driver is moving.

ARR 148A—Giving way when moving within a single marked lane

If a driver diverges to the left or right within a marked lane, the driver must give way to any vehicle that is in the lane.

ARR 149—Giving way when lines of traffic merge into a single line of traffic

A driver in a line of traffic that is merging with one or more lines of traffic travelling in the same direction as the driver must give way to a vehicle in another line of traffic if any part of the vehicle is ahead of the driver's vehicle.

These road rules are policed as a matter of normal police business, but Traffic Thursday throws an additional spotlight on these offences.

Anyone witnessing dangerous driving is encouraged to report this behaviour to Traffic Watch by calling 131 444 as soon as it is safe to do so.