By Andrew Rasch
Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
They say time is money, but have you ever earned $468 for five seconds of your day? Unless you’re Bill Gates or Richard Branson, probably not. On the other hand, five seconds could cost you that much behind the wheel if you fail to do one simple thing. Read on to find out how.
Car indicators: They’re not for decoration
Indicators exist so drivers can give sufficient warning of a change of direction. In years gone by, we had to stick our arm out the window to let other road users know our intentions. It’s a lot easier these days, so there’s no excuse not to indicate.
Even so, think back to when you last drove on a multi-lane road. How many times did you see another driver change lanes or turn without indicating? Two, four, ten times? Unfortunately, failing to indicate adequately is common on our roads, yet it’s dangerous and illegal.
What are the rules for leaving the kerb?
When you were learning to drive, the instructor probably made you practise this manoeuvre several times, so it should have become second nature. However many drivers seem to have forgotten, or they simply ignore the rule around indicating, so here’s a reminder.
If you’re about to move from a stationary position at the side of the road or in a median strip parking area, you’re legally required to indicate for at least five seconds and give way to all traffic, including cyclists and pedestrians, before pulling away.
If you’re caught failing to give a five-second signal before moving from a stationary position, you could be fined $369, plus a $99 Victims of Crime Levy and two demerit points.
What about changing lanes?
If you need to change lanes while moving, Rule 46 of the Australian Road Rules says you must give sufficient warning to other road users of your intentions. Remember, when you give a signal, it doesn’t mean other road users must give way to you, or that you can automatically change direction without taking care and giving way.
Don’t forget that a driver must stop giving the change of direction signal as soon as they complete the manoeuvre. In other words, turn your indicator off as soon as you’ve changed lanes. Be particularly careful if you’re listening to music that may drown out the sound of your indicator.
The cost of failing to give a five-second signal before leaving the kerb.
When are indicators required?
You must signal your intention using your indicators to:
- Move to the left or right
- Turn left or right, including leaving the continuing road at a modified T-intersection when you intend to travel straight ahead
- Change lanes or merge
- Move left or right into or out of a stationary position (g. to or from a kerb or side of the road)
- Make a U-turn or three-point turn
- Leave a roundabout (if practicable)
- Turn left or right when driving in a car park, including when moving into a car park space.