Keeping left

In Australia, we drive on the left hand side of the road, with traffic travelling towards you in the opposite direction, will pass on your driver’s or right-hand side.

On single lane roads, you should drive as far to the left as practical.

On multi-lane roads, where the speed limit is 90 km/h or more, you must drive in the left lane. This also applies where there is a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign. In this situation, you can only drive in the right hand lane if:

  • You are turning right, or making a U-turn
  • You are overtaking
  • The left hand lane is a special purpose lane (buses, bicycles)
  • The left hand lane is turning left only and you are proceeding straight ahead
  • There is an obstruction in the left hand lane
  • The other lanes are congested with traffic

Overtaking other vehicles can be dangerous, and if you have any doubts, it is best not to overtake and to wait until it is safer to do so. The problem with overtaking is how to judge the space required to complete the manoeuvre safely.

You must overtake on the right unless there is a vehicle in the right hand lane that is turning right, is stationary or if you and the other vehicle are travelling in marked lanes – in these instances you can overtake on the left if safe to do so.

When you overtake, you should

  • Not exceed the speed limit
  • Ensure that the road ahead is clear, with enough space for you to overtake. Remember to check side streets and other lanes).
  • Check your mirrors
  • Give enough warning to other drivers by signalling in position for a suitable amount of time
  • Check your blindspots for motorcycles and other vehicles
  • Leave sufficient space between the vehicle that you are overtaking and your vehicle when you rejoin the left lane – you should be able to see the vehicle that you are overtaking in your rear view mirror before you move in front of it


Most regular drivers will say that drivers that clog up the right lane are one of the most annoying issues on the roads – don’t be one of these annoying drivers.