Simple road rule quiz divides opinion - so who has right of way?

Melissa Buttigieg
News Reporter

If you’ve ever played chicken while dodging traffic trying to cross the road, you might be surprised to learn who actually has right of way.

Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads shared a quiz to its Facebook page on Monday morning asking road users to nominate if a pedestrian or car must give way at a slip lane.

A slip lane is an area of road for vehicles turning left, separated at some point by a painted island or traffic island.

If a pedestrian is crossing the road at a slip lane, and the orange car is turning left using the slip lane, who has right of way? Source: Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland

Who has right of way at a slip lane?

“You know your road rules, and now's your chance to prove it,” the post began.

“A pedestrian is crossing the road at a slip lane, and the orange car is turning left using the slip lane.

“Who must give way?” the transport authority asked, sharing an image of a person waiting to cross the road at a slip lane without a zebra crossing or pedestrian light.

The answer was simple to one woman, who joked: “Depends if the driver has been to spec savers.”

Another woman thought the lack of a zebra crossing meant the pedestrian should give way to the car, but others argued that was not correct.

“The rules say the car but I'm not going to bet my life on it that's for sure. Look before you walk regardless,” one man urged.

“Well if there's no pedestrian crossing I always wait for cars to go and I've never had a car stop to give me right of way,” one woman commented.

“Obviously pedestrians shouldn't just walk out in front (sic) of cars.”

Road users are confused about who is legally required to wait at a slip lane. Source: Road Safety Advisory Council Tasmania

Giving way to pedestrians

According to the Queensland Government, road users driving or riding in the state must give way to pedestrians in a shared zone or slip lane.

“A pedestrian's allowed to cross if there's no crossing within 20m (and as long as they cross using the shortest and safest route),” the road authority added in the Facebook thread.

”As a pedestrian it’s obviously important to be aware of your surroundings and never assume a driver or rider has seen you. A pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver,” it advised.

Slip lane road rules in other states

Drivers and motorcycle riders must give way to any pedestrian or bicycle rider entering a slip lane in Victoria, South Australia, NSW and the ACT, into which they are turning.

Similarly, Tasmanian road rules specify: Before turning left using a slip lane, motorists must give way to any other traffic or pedestrians in the slip lane.

When turning at a NT intersection where there are no signs, drivers must give way to any pedestrians at or near the intersection on the road they are entering.

Australian motorists are also required to give way to pedestrians on or entering children’s, pedestrian or marked foot crossings. They must also give way to pedestrians on or entering a road they are turning into, according to the Queensland Government.

It’s a good idea to allow more time for a person with a disability, or a senior pedestrian to cross the road, and reduce speeds at night around entertainment venues where people gather, the road authority advised.

Last month drivers were also confused by a road rule quiz that asked who had right of way between a car stopped at a give way sign, and another at a red light.

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