A big part of being a safe driver is understanding how to share the road with others, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, emergency vehicles and heavy trucks. Each of these road users require our utmost consideration which is why we've put together this list of tips for how to share the road.
Sharing the road with cyclists
- Leave at least a 1M gap when passing a bicycle rider when the speed limit is 60km/h or under, and a 1.5M gap when the speed limit is over 60km/h.
- Where necessary, you can pass a cyclist by crossing centre lines (including double unbroken centre lines), crossing lane-lines and driving on painted islands so long as it's safe to do so.
- Always check your blind spots for cyclists before turning, changing lanes or opening your car door as cyclists are much smaller than cars so they're harder to see.
- Avoid overtaking or cutting off a cyclist. Waiting the extra few seconds could save the cyclists life.
Sharing the road with motorcyclists
- Give motorcyclists extra room as it's hard to estimate their speed and they can accelerate quickly.
- Always use your lights in low visibility so motorcyclists can easily see you.
- Be aware that motorcyclists are allowed to take up an entire lane and you must overtake them as you would any other vehicle.
- Always scan traffic for motorcyclists, particularly when you are changing lanes or at intersections.
Sharing the road with emergency vehicles (police, fire & ambulance)
- If an emergency vehicle is approaching with a sounding alarm or flashing blue or red lights, move out of its path as soon as it's safe to do so. Ideally, you should move to the left however if you are unable to do so safely, stay where you are and let the emergency vehicle overtake you.
- Where necessary and only when it's safe to do so, you may be able to drive on the wrong side of the road or through a red light to get out of the emergency vehicle's way.
Sharing the road with heavy trucks
- Allow a larger gap between your car and heavy vehicles, remembering that they take longer to slow down.
- If you can't see a larger vehicle's mirrors then you're in their blind spot. Slow down and leave more room so they can see you.
- Never try to overtake a heavy vehicle on a curve or hill as visibility is reduced.
- Always give a heavy vehicle extra room when they use their indicator, knowing that they require extra time and space to move.
Sharing the road at roundabouts
- Always give way to others who are already on the roundabout before you enter.
- If turning left, ensure you signal left as you approach the roundabout in the left lane. Continue to signal as you exit the roundabout and only turn your indicator off once you've completely left the roundabout.
- If driving straight you do not need to signal as you approach the roundabout, however you should signal left as you exit.
- If turning right, signal right as you approach the roundabout from the right lane, and then signal left before you exit.
Sharing the road while merging
- When merging on roads that have lane markings, you must give way to traffic that's already in the lane you're moving to.
- When merging on roads without lane markings, you must give way to any vehicles ahead of you as the lines of traffic merge.
- Plan your route ahead of time so you can anticipate when you'll need to start merging.
- Build up speed on the on-ramp so you enter the motorway in a safe gap while matching the flow of traffic.
- When driving on a motorway always look out for others coming off the on ramp and adjust your speed or move into the right lane to help them enter safely.
Want to learn more about road safety? Read up on driving distractions you didn't think were dangerous, and safety tips for driving with dogs.