Performing turns can be tricky, especially in busy metropolitan cities like Melbourne. We’ve summarised the most common types of turns and their rules for you.
Filtered right turns
This happens at intersections where there’s no dedicated right-turn arrow. In these situations, you need to slowly move forward into the intersection, giving way to oncoming traffic. When there’s a break in traffic and it’s safe to do so, you complete your turn.
You need to give way to vehicles turning left and to any pedestrians.
If there are turn lines painted on the road, follow these line indicators.
Make sure you don’t obstruct traffic when you move into the intersection.
If you’re at an intersection with a red right-turn arrow but it doesn’t activate green, you proceed as above when the red right-arrow light flicks off, and the green straight light turns on.
What happens if you’ve entered the intersection but can’t make your turn?
If there are no safe gaps for you to complete your turn and the lights change from green to yellow or red, the road rules require you to leave the intersection as soon as you can safely do so. In this instance, you’ll need to make sure oncoming traffic will stop – it helps to try and make eye contact.
What to do at slip lanes
Slip lanes are dedicated road areas for vehicles turning left, usually separated from other parts of the road by a painted island or traffic island.
If there’s a slip lane and you’re turning left, you need to use it unless there’s an obstruction.
Cars turning right at an intersection don’t need to give way to vehicles turning left from a slip lane.
Conquering the hook turn
A right turn from the left-hand lane? It might sound crazy, but it’s not as scary as you think. They’re always clearly marked with a sign and the approach is very methodical. Here’s how it works:
Approach and enter the intersection from the far-left side of the road you’re leaving.
If there’s line marking, then follow the lines, otherwise move forward, keeping as far to the left of the intersection as possible and clear of any marked foot crossing, until you’re at the far side of the intersection.
Wait until the lights on the road you are entering turn green.
Turn right into that road.
Are you a cyclist wanting to perform a hook turn? Cyclists are also allowed to make hook turns at any intersection, unless signs specifically prohibit this. Find out how with our instructional video.
For more information see rules 33 to 36 of Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.
Indicating in a dedicated turn lane
Even in a dedicated turn lane, you must indicate a change of direction to the left or right, and continue indicating until the turn is complete. For more information see rules 28, 29 and 32 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.
Turning into a multi-lane road
When making a turn into a multi-lane road, pay close attention to the line-markings on the road, as these will show you if you have to turn into a specific lane. If there are no line markings, you can turn into any lane.
For more information, see rules 29 and 33 of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017.
Making a U-turn
In Victoria, you’re allowed to make a U-turn at intersections with or without traffic signals and at breaks in the median, unless there’s a ‘no U-turn’ sign. A ‘no right turn’ sign also prohibits a U-turn.
Here’s what to keep in mind when preparing to make a U-turn:
Make sure you have a clear view of approaching traffic
Only turn when you can do so safely and you’re not going to cause an obstruction to traffic
Give way to all other vehicles and pedestrians when making a U-turn.
This includes giving way to vehicles turning left from slip lane or a side street even if they have a a 'Give Way' or 'Stop' sign.
See rules 37 to 42 of Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017 for more information
Refresh your knowledge of the Victorian Road Rules.
The summaries RACV provide on Victorian road rules are based on the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2017. We make sure to reference the exact rule where possible. When reading, keep in mind that we’re providing general information, not legal advice. If you’re looking for specific questions on any legal matter, consult with a lawyer for help.