The pedestrian traffic rule which is sure to surprise many motorists

It’s common knowledge that pedestrians have right of way when using a zebra crossing.

But it might come as a surprise to motorists that they must give way to those crossing a side street if they plan to turn into it.

According to VicRoads, drivers “turning at any intersection except at a roundabout must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road” that they are entering. 

This rule applies to intersections with or without traffic lights, however, if pedestrian lights are present, they must be obeyed.

While the same rule applies for drivers across all states in Australia, a director at Australian Driver Training Association, Peter Hales, told Yahoo7 News the rule was not one drivers were fully aware of.

Drivers must give way to pedestrians at intersections if they are crossing the road. Source: Transport for NSW

“I would say it’s not really well known,” he said.

And research from Victoria Walks indicates that. Their 2016 report suggests drivers should have given way in 42 per cent of crashes involving older Australians.

“In practice most people do the right thing. If someone has stepped on the road, you need to stop,” Mr Hales said.

“The definition of ‘give way’ means avoiding the chance of collision.”

While Mr Hales said the law must be respected by all motorists, the rule doesn’t mean pedestrians can come and go as they please.

“It’s not as if it’s a zebra crossing where you are offering the road but if you do have a situation where someone has stepped onto the road before you turn you have to give way,” he said.

Mr Hales advised all drivers to extra cautious when making turns and to check for pedestrians as well as cyclists.

This rule applies to intersections with or without traffic lights however if pedestrian lights are present, they must be obeyed. Source: AAP

“Before you commit to taking a turn, check if there is a pedestrian as well as checking blind spots as lets face it, not all pedestrians know the rules as well,” he said.

NRMA spokeswoman Bridget Ahern told Yahoo7 News they regularly briefed drivers on misunderstood road rules, including giving way to pedestrians.

“We want all road users to be safe and this means drivers need to be alert and aware of pedestrians at all times,” she said.

Breaking the road rule can result in a hefty fine for offending motorists.

For those caught failing to give way to pedestrians in NSW, a fine of $337 can be issued along with three demerit points.

Drivers in Victoria can also receive three demerit points and a fine of $277 if stopped by police for the offence.

Motorists in Queensland will want to avoid falling foul of the law, with a fine of $391 imposed along with three demerit points if caught.

In WA, drivers will cop a $300 fine and again three demerit points for the offence.