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View Full Version : The NZ Left hand turn rule, driving.


Loc-out
31st Mar 2004, 22:52
Not so long ago, was in NZ briefly. While there I hired a car and braved the NZ roads.

Within a few minutes I became painfully aware, there was this stupid rule in existance that goes something like this. They drive on the left there like the UK by the way. Upon reaching an interection and if you want to turn left, if there is nobody behind you, you must give way to oposite traffic, that is turning right.

Now I have driven on all continents except Australia. I have never seen anything quiet like this rule in all my life. Who was the retart that implimented such an imbasilic rule? It confused the hell out of me.

What was wrong with the old right hand rule? It used to work fine. If it aint broke, why fix it.

Ever heard of KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.

Buster Hyman
31st Mar 2004, 23:28
Up until recently...10-15 years ago...this rule was enforced in Victoria.

I didn't mind it, actually. I guess the idea behind it was to remove parked cars from the right hand lane. Cars that would wait forever, in a traditionally "faster" lane.

henry crun
31st Mar 2004, 23:43
As Buster says, the rule was originally introduced in Australia.

The rationale being that it was safer to have the left turning vehicle wait by the side of the road rather than have someone stopped in the middle of the road waiting to turn right.

New Zealand decided to follow Australia's lead and introduced the rule.
The other states in Oz decided not to change so eventually Victoria revoked the rule.

New Zealand, as you have found out, decided to stay with it but I understand a change back to the previous rule may be in the wind.

TheStormyPetrel
31st Mar 2004, 23:43
Loc-out my sympathy for your recent confusion with such an outrageous rule as one which operates in a way you are not used to. I do hope you managed to cope - specially if you have special needs (KISS-type needs).

I guess you are telling us, by saying "If it aint broke, way fix it" that they changed from what you call "the old right hand rule" to their rule of priority turning left. Are you sure? Perhaps they had that rule from the start.

It is not the only place to have such a rule, it is just in the minority. Consequently, like any rule that is different to one you are used to, a visitor will have to adapt. Surely that's no worse than having to drive on the other side, is it?

Actually, the rule is brilliant. You may have noticed that if you are trying to turn across oncoming traffic at an intersection, you have to give way to that oncoming traffic, therefore you are likely have more difficulty finding a clear moment to turn. However, if you are turning without crossing oncoming traffic, you get many more chances to turn. Therefore when it comes to a choice between cars in those two circumstances, who should give way to the other? Surely common sense would encourage a rule that the one having difficulty should get priority (remember, it's the one stuck in the middle of the road waiting to turn across the intersection which probably has cars caught up behind it). It should have priority just to keep the traffic moving more freely.

Of course to make that assessment requires an open mind and some ability for rational thought. It is much easier to assume that because a rule is different to what you are used to, it is therefore complicated and stupid.

By the way, I have never even been to New Zealand (though I do hope I will some day).

tinpis
1st Apr 2004, 00:10
There is another rule in NZ that will get you killed stone dead.
When turning right off a main hiway onto a side road you DONT indicate and pull over to the crown of the road and let traffic through on your left.Oh no you pull over to the LEFT and let traffic past.
Also it is a requirement in NZ to follow at a space of 30cms =30km/hr 70cms=70 km/hr etc.And it is a requirement to overtake no matter if you have to brake severely in front of the overtaken vehicle to turn off.
Have you noticed all the white crosses on the side of the highways there?

reynoldsno1
1st Apr 2004, 00:40
When turning right off a main hiway onto a side road you DONT indicate and pull over to the crown of the road and let traffic through on your left.Oh no you pull over to the LEFT and let traffic past.

Actually, this is much the safest way of doing things in various parts of NZ. There are few dual carriageways and even less motorways. Due to lack of congestion vehicles travel at high speed on these single lane roads. The shoulders are much wider than (say) the UK. It is far safer to pull over to the left, decelerate and wait for a safe gap before turning right.

BTW. I have passed driving tests in 5 different countries, driven on every continent (including Antarctica), so I'm not being parochial...., and you get used to the left turning rule, honestly.

BlueDiamond
1st Apr 2004, 01:03
While there I hired a car and braved the NZ roads.
Within a few minutes I became painfully aware, there was this stupid rule in existance ...

Did you really do things that way around? Get into the car first and then try to learn the local rules? I wouldn't recommend you try that stunt somewhere like Sydney ... you'd be dead in thirty seconds. Their taxi drivers don't take any prisoners.

And wait until you encounter the right turn rule in Melbourne (the one with regard to trams.)

But seriously, Loc-out if you find you are becoming irritated by the driving regulations of a particular area or country and find yourself comparing them to those of other countries then perhaps it might be wiser to let someone else do the driving who can take these things in their stride.

reynoldsno1
1st Apr 2004, 01:32
the right turn rule in Melbourne
I guess that would be the hook turns? Fascinating to watch, but they make sense!!

pigboat
1st Apr 2004, 02:24
Hah! You haven't driven until you've navigated the old Dorval Airport traffic circle in Montreal.
My late friend John Weston used to offer the following advice to the novice, "As a former Spitfire pilot I know a moving target is hard to hit, so close your eyes and floor the :mad: er." :p

reynoldsno1
1st Apr 2004, 02:51
The moving traffic circles (roundabouts) in Nepal are quite sporting, offering impromptu opportunities to devise off the cuff traffic codes....

they're called cows in other countries.

Buster Hyman
1st Apr 2004, 02:52
Ah yes, the hook turn! Much better than having 15 tons of tram up yer jetsy!!!:eek:

Local rules for local conditions. I think driving on the right hand side of the road is strange, but you either accept it & move on, or catch a bus.

I guess the idea behind these rules is to allow the traffic to flow, hence another local rule here that on multi lane roads where the speed limit is above 80 kph, you can only use the right lane if you are overtaking (or a taxi & above the rules!:hmm: ). The rule contributes to the traffic flow.

18-Wheeler
1st Apr 2004, 04:13
I lived in NZ for a year and it is without a doubt the stupidest & most dangerous rule they have there.
I worked out that it's roughly three times more dangerous than the conventional way of giving way, most likely even more so when you take into account people from other countries that have the sensible rule.

TheStormyPetrel
1st Apr 2004, 09:04
I worked out that it's roughly three times more dangerous than the conventional way of giving way

I love statistics, 18-Wheeler. Do tell us how you "worked it out."

Loc-out
1st Apr 2004, 10:41
Ahhhh, they copied the Australians, from the centre of the universe, downunder. Well that explains it, doesn't it "Let's reinvent the wheel."

I would be interested to know what happens when a driver that has been programmed, with this turn rule (a masterpiece of stupidity) comes to the US or Europe? Be stuck in the middle of the road giving way to nothing, then rammed in the rear.

There is a such a thing called standardisation. In the dictionary. Does wonders for road safety.

Sorry about my spelling. English not my being my mother tongue.

BD piont taken, not reading the rules before embarking on such a hazardous undertaking. Illustrates my point re standardisation.

TheStormyPetrel
1st Apr 2004, 12:38
Gee Loc-out such intelligent comments. So rational. And such a great attitude for travelling.

18-Wheeler
2nd Apr 2004, 18:20
I love statistics, 18-Wheeler. Do tell us how you "worked it out."

Easy.

It's fair enough to say that the more judgement that you allow people, the more mistakes will be made.
With a conventional turn-left, the driver turning left doesn't have to give way to anyone. Only the driver coming the opposite way may have to give way if they are turning right, into the same street as the left-turner.

With the NZ rule, the driver turning left has to confirm that no traffic is going to turn in front of them (as 'foreigners' would do without knowing the local rules). If there is a car turning in from the opposite direction then they have to judge whether they can make the turn in time or not.
The driver coming the other way also has to judge if the LH-turning car will make the corner before them, and also make sure that there is no other traffic coming in the opposite direction that will get in their way.

That's roughly three times the judgement required of the conventional rule, hence about three times more dangerous.

FWIW, the road deaths-per-thousand of NZ compared to Aus is nearly double.

BlueWolf
2nd Apr 2004, 23:56
I have to agree, it is a silly rule, but as henry crun mentions, it is going to be done away with in the near future. It may have it's advantages in certain traffic flows, but it's rule that doesn't make sense; after more than twenty years driving in NZ I still have to stop and consciously think about it when faced with the situation. Conversely the three years I spent driving in Britain posed no such problem.

What is probably more dangerous about driving in NZ are the poorly designed and badly constructed roads, coupled with the lack of basic driving skills and common courtesy on the part of a numerical majority of NZ drivers.

I spent numerous years making my living on the roads here, as both a sales rep and a truck driver, and I guesstimate that I've probably clocked more than two million kilometres in the past two decades. Every day I witnessed acts of imeasurable stupidity on the part of ordinary New Zealanders at the wheel.

Perhaps driving lessons in schools, incorporating both vehicle control skills and courteous use of the roads, as well as an understanding of the road rules, would go some way to improving things. Driving is after all a huge part of life in this large and sparsely populated country with little in the way of public transport. I believe we now have the second highest rate of motor vehicle ownership in the world, behind the US.

cloudcover
3rd Apr 2004, 00:32
Yes the rule is stupid, but so are the majority of NZ drivers (except a few like myself;) ) and changing it to the more logical
way would caus more mayhem than I care to imagine:eek:
The real danger is as follows: When you need to turn into a side street on the right off a main road. You sit there indicating waiting for a break in the traffic.....you finally see one....just after
this next car....alas, he/she starts indicating left, time for me to
go as they give way to me......but NO, they are pulling into the petrol station just past the road at about your 4o'clock position
BANG:ouch:

ZK-NSJ
3rd Apr 2004, 02:01
if i drive in your country i follow your rules, when i drive here in nz i follow our rules, the rules are the rules, if u dont like them or think they are stupid, TUFF

TheNightOwl
3rd Apr 2004, 02:41
Is it not equally valid, Loc-out, for your "standardisation" expectation to be applied so that YOU standardise to OUR standards when in our countries, or is that radical thought beyond your powers of comprehension?

Kind regards,

TheNightOwl.:ok:

Buster Hyman
3rd Apr 2004, 03:57
82% of "Liberace" accidents on the roads are caused by cars hitting parked/right hand turn vehicles in the right hand lane!

On a side note, 96% of road statistics are made up!:E

sprocket
3rd Apr 2004, 09:48
BlueWolf wrote:What is probably more dangerous about driving in NZ are the poorly designed and badly constructed roads,

Mate, you need to come to Queensland to see some mongrel roads. After driving in NZ in January I found the roads pretty good. But that left turn rule made me a nervous wreck! :ooh:

Loc-out
3rd Apr 2004, 12:22
Ok, lets try and satisfy the anti standardisation lobby for a second.

Let us play around with the rules of the air. Take the head on collision avoidance rule for example, that is learnt and remembered, and should be recalled automatically from day one. So every FIR has its own rules to suit themselves. Crews bone up on the rules before departure, which they should. How many Firís would you transit on an 11 hour flight?

Sounds silly doesn't it and it is. Same with the rules of the road.

Keep it simple, and you keep it safe. Saves lives you know.

TheStormyPetrel
3rd Apr 2004, 12:27
Loc-out if we were discussing rules of the air, the discussion would have been different. Is this the best you can do?

Buster Hyman
3rd Apr 2004, 12:54
I would be interested to know what happens when a driver that has been programmed, with this turn rule (a masterpiece of stupidity) comes to the US or Europe?
Condescention doesn't come any clearer than that. When I've driven in the US or EU, I've taken the time to check the local rules & seek clarification where I don't understand something.
Be stuck in the middle of the road giving way to nothing, then rammed in the rear.
Gee, you must be talking about a car doing a right hand turn here, because the left hand turning car would be on the side of the road, out of harms way, if he had to give way!:rolleyes:

Luke SkyToddler
3rd Apr 2004, 14:55
It's a GOOD rule and it should be enforced world wide

It totally eliminates the problem of drivers sitting in the middle of the road (i.e. the high speed lane) waiting for a break in the traffic so they can turn right, and therefore presenting their rear bumpers as a stationary target for any inattentive sods coming up behind them.

If a queue is going to form of vehicles waiting to turn, it's now going to form on the left, i.e. low speed / parked cars side of the road.

People who sit in the middle of high speed dual carriageways in the UK or Oz, waiting to turn right and flashing their indicators like dumbasses, allowing huge great queues to build up behind them until some considerate driver coming the other way lets them through, now THAT is a stupid rule and an accident waiting to happen if there ever was one.

What's so difficult about it?

Loc out is right, standardisation DOES do wonders for road safety, so why don't you muppets all follow the sensible kiwi lead and change YOUR rules ... or is it just a case of doing anything other than admit the kiwis' idea is a better one? :ok:

152wiseguy
3rd Apr 2004, 17:05
This rule is news to me. I drove the length and breadth of NZ for over a month in a camper van when I was there. Didnt even notice any difference in the rules between UK and NZ. Cant see what all the fuss is about.

Just dont hit anything:ok:

yachtno1
3rd Apr 2004, 19:12
" When In Rome " I think you must respect the rules of the road when you travel abroad no matter how silly they appear to your good self. BTW has anyone traversed the " Boulevard Phereferique " in Paris ? :ooh: