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Merging on and off the Monaro Highway – the back door manoeuvre

By FarrerGirl 15 April 2013 60

Being a bit of a Costco addicit, I travel along the Monaro Highway quite often (coming on and off at the Hindmarsh Dr junction.

What I have noticed is the increasing use of what I like to call the ‘back door’ manoeuvre, where people, who really can not wait two seconds, merge on and off from behind – merging before the lane markings indicate you can legally do so – i.e they cross over the thick white line.

Please note, I merge with the speed of the traffic and I am competent in the use of my indicators, so this is not a case of someone merging at a ‘nanna’ speed / not indicating their intention. I have issues with this as I end up feeling ‘bullied’ into merging illegally by crossing over a thick white line – lest I risk having to slow down to merge behind the car who has snuck up from behind.  So, should I continue obeying the law and merge when the line change to dashes, or do I go against my very core, and merge as soon as possible, even if that requires me to cross a thick white line!

What’s Your opinion?


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Merging on and off the Monaro Highway – the back door manoeuvre
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sarahblaec 3:18 pm 17 Apr 13

KB1971 said :

It happens more on this roundabout than any other that I travel through with the exception of the two near Erindale. They seem to have the same issue.

Is one of the Erindale roundabouts you’re talking about the one near the shops with the silly hill in the middle? I rarely drive that way but every time I go through that roundabout it makes me nervous as the hill obstructs visibility of the vehicles coming from other directions. I’ve seen a few near-misses there with people pulling out at inappropriate times, and I’m certain these wouldn’t happen as often if people could actually see the rest of the traffic around them.
This is all a bit off topic, but what the hell is with planting big bushes or constructing mini mountains in the middle of roundabouts? It seems many people have enough issues getting safely around roundabouts without adding the extra challenge of limited visibility. Similar issue with those reflective arrow signs that remind you that you need to negotiate the roundabout in a clockwise direction – often they’re at JUST the right height to block your view of the front of oncoming cars, so you can’t tell until they enter the roundabout whether or not they are indicating to turn right in front of you or going straight through.
OK, sorry, rant over.

KB1971 2:03 pm 17 Apr 13

watto23 said :

In this scenario the danger is not because a car turning is on the inside land and a car going straight is on the outside lane. The car on the outside/left lane should give way to the car on the inside/right lane, but giving way also allows them to enter the roundabout when its safe to do so, thus enter the left lane. However as stated they speed up and overtake etc to get into the merging area first.
Normal drivers would however adjust thir speed to merge behind the car in the right lane that they gave way to rather than speeding past them.

Although that sometimes fails, because the car in front feels the need to slow down because they are merging ahead of another car, which is also dangerous.

There are a lot of issues with driving in Canberra and often those that complain are just as guilty as others and just don’t realise it.

This is axactly what I am saying, except for the slowing down bit. I turn, if I dont need to be in the right hand lane I try to head left as soon as I can, usually while accellarating because I have now entered an 80 zone. I also usually turn my indicator on early enough so other drivers know what I want to do.

If someone pulls onto the roundabout behind me, that is no issue, left ot right lane. We can then do all our road positioning on the straight bit rather than on a corner where all drivers are thinking of othe rthings.

JC 1:59 pm 17 Apr 13

Felix the Cat said :

JC said :

By the same token to, I won’t enter a roundabout if a car is approaching me from the right at high speed. Under the law if I am on first the other car needs to give way even if I am on their left, but again in MY judgement the risk of someone just ploughing on through is too high, so I will wait.

Very basic stuff actually and all about sharing the road, something that in Canberra, with traffic increasing we need to do.

Looks like you need to brush up on the rules too.

“A driver entering a roundabout must give way to any vehicle in the roundabout.”

http://www.rego.act.gov.au/assets/PDFs/ACT_Road_Rules_Handbook.pdf

Not sure why I need to brush up on the rules, as what I said is the same as what you said just different words. The word I used was first on the roundabout. Clearly being first in means I am on the oundabout, so any other vehicle, even from the right must giveway (refer to the definition of give way in relation to roundabouts of course) if I am already in the roundabout.

But as I said even if I may be in the right I won’t do that if a car is coming fast from my right as many incorrectly think the rule is give way to the right, which it isn’t so not worth the risk.

watto23 1:50 pm 17 Apr 13

KB1971 said :

JC said :

That is indeed the rule, but take a close look at note two that defines give way: That is a driver must slow down and stop to avoid a collision. Now if my understanding is right you are turning right they are turning left from opposite directions. Now because you are in the middle lane and the cars, as I follow it are turning in the left from the left lane there is no risk of collision, hence no need to give way to you even if you are already on the roundabout.

Now if it was a roundabout where cars can turn right from both left and right lanes (and there are a few around) and you were in the left lane then yes there would be a risk of collision so they would have to give way in the case. What happens after the roundabout is a separate issue.

Now if you took give way to any vehicle already on the roundabout in isolation then you would only ever have one vehicle on the roundabou. For example it would be against the law for cars travelling straight through in opposite directions to both enter even though there is zero risk of collision. But when read with the note that defines giveway as stop if there is a risk of collision then it makes sense.

No the other vehicles are not turning left, I dont really have an issue with that. Its the ones that continue straight through and follow the same direction as I am once we are out of the roundabout. They are coming from my immediate left as I am turning right.

Take this morning for example, I am in a line of three cars, there was no traffic built up from the south towards Banks but the one car that was there sailed through at about 60km/h in the left lane despite someone trurning right at the same time.

That car is putting both drivers at risk.

I agree with you on the judgement call on the give way thing, it is impractical to give way to all cars on any position of the roundabout, especially where there is no affect on the other vehicles but where there is the potential to be an affect then people need to take more care.

Anyway, its academic, it wont stop & there have been no real accidents from it surprisingly.

In this scenario the danger is not because a car turning is on the inside land and a car going straight is on the outside lane. The car on the outside/left lane should give way to the car on the inside/right lane, but giving way also allows them to enter the roundabout when its safe to do so, thus enter the left lane. However as stated they speed up and overtake etc to get into the merging area first.
Normal drivers would however adjust thir speed to merge behind the car in the right lane that they gave way to rather than speeding past them.

Although that sometimes fails, because the car in front feels the need to slow down because they are merging ahead of another car, which is also dangerous.

There are a lot of issues with driving in Canberra and often those that complain are just as guilty as others and just don’t realise it.

NoImRight 1:28 pm 17 Apr 13

KB if Ive got this right you are saying two lanes of traffic on your left should stop for you while you turn right? I use that same roundabout every day from the same direction as I think you do. Frankly I just dont see the issue. Its a busy road on your left and to expect them to stop for the one lane turning right would create chaos. Theres a regular stream from the right and people on, what is really the main road, would be there until 10 am at least. What is the point in having two lanes if both have to stop when a car occupies one lane in front?

The “danger” you seem worried about is virtually teh same at any point on the road. Its part of sharing the road. theres going to be a risk attached. If a car next to you makes you nervous how do you get anywhere?What if a black hole opens up and sucks you into a parallel universe?

I suspect the real issue is you want to move left after the roundabout and if both lanes havent stopped you might have to merge with other traffic.

Felix the Cat 12:42 pm 17 Apr 13

JC said :

By the same token to, I won’t enter a roundabout if a car is approaching me from the right at high speed. Under the law if I am on first the other car needs to give way even if I am on their left, but again in MY judgement the risk of someone just ploughing on through is too high, so I will wait.

Very basic stuff actually and all about sharing the road, something that in Canberra, with traffic increasing we need to do.

Looks like you need to brush up on the rules too.

“A driver entering a roundabout must give way to any vehicle in the roundabout.”

http://www.rego.act.gov.au/assets/PDFs/ACT_Road_Rules_Handbook.pdf

KB1971 12:23 pm 17 Apr 13

JC said :

Actually I said PROVIDED there is no risk of collision, I did not say that there is NO risk of collision. That risk all comes down to judgement, something that we use every time we drive and something that varies from person to person. But judgment is not and cannot be mandated in law.

If you look above you will see that I said I never do what I am saying is legal because the risk of collision is high in MY judgment. The reason being I don’t trust that someone indicating right is going to turn right, often I see them doing that and then go straight. I used to live in the UK where drivers are much more disciplined than here when it comes to indicating etc and not only did I do it, I was expected to do it or cop a blast of the horn from behind. But as everyone indicated properly I could trust them, but not here I am afraid.

By the same token to, I won’t enter a roundabout if a car is approaching me from the right at high speed. Under the law if I am on first the other car needs to give way even if I am on their left, but again in MY judgement the risk of someone just ploughing on through is too high, so I will wait.

As for your other issues such as blind spot and tyres blowing, that is any issue everywhere not just roundabouts and all comes down to road craft, and your own ability to sense the situation and adjust accordingly. In the example you give there is no reason why you couldn’t see the other car coming, so even if they ended up in your blind spot you should have seen them anyway. You should also be able to control your vehicle to remain within your lane and if a tyre blows deal with it.

Very basic stuff actually and all about sharing the road, something that in Canberra, with traffic increasing we need to do.

You are right, its all basic stuff. While my description of the manouver has been simple enough, I have not described every near miss I have had there.

I have been coming from that direction for 8 years. In that time I have been nearly sidswiped, t boned, rear ended & abused for turning right or wanting to merge to the left after I have left the roundabout. All because of the impatience of other drivers & the speeds some of them have been doing.

It happens more on this roundabout than any other that I travel through with the exception of the two near Erindale. They seem to have the same issue.

One thing I have noticed though, the drivers that do give way allow me to complety my turn & them to change lanes if they are not happy with my progress (I am not a driver who floors my car to the speed limit nor am I a dawdler) do so with plenty of room & no angst.

Pretty well the reason for my whinge.

It has been a pretty good debate JC, thank you for not turning it into a slanging match as too often happens here on RA 😛

JC 11:33 am 17 Apr 13

KB1971 said :

See you are the second person who has said there is no risk of a collision, I disagree with that, it is the highest risk for a collision on a roundabout for any number of reasons that collisions occur.

There is little to no risk if the cars are going straight through in opposite directions. There is less risk if the vehicles are travelling together & then either go straight through or turn in different directions.

But when two cars are going in different directions, one going straight & one coming from the right (regardless of the intention of the dirver) then that is the most risk. The car turning could blow a tyre , lose it brakes or even be indicating incirrectly or using the wrong lane. That is the reason to give way. OK these are mittigating circumstances but the perfect world of cars staing within their lanes doesnt exist all the time.

The there is the blind spot issue.

I come back to the intent, the roudnabout rules give a number of circumstances where cars can negotiate a roundabout together, the circumstance I describe is not one of them.

Anyway, I dont do it and I am not about to start doing it because it might save me 2.5 seconds on a trip. I let the people merge into the left lane after they have negotiated the roundabout & then decide if I want to get past them on the right hand side.

All this & I drive a 4WD too…. 😛

Actually I said PROVIDED there is no risk of collision, I did not say that there is NO risk of collision. That risk all comes down to judgement, something that we use every time we drive and something that varies from person to person. But judgment is not and cannot be mandated in law.

If you look above you will see that I said I never do what I am saying is legal because the risk of collision is high in MY judgment. The reason being I don’t trust that someone indicating right is going to turn right, often I see them doing that and then go straight. I used to live in the UK where drivers are much more disciplined than here when it comes to indicating etc and not only did I do it, I was expected to do it or cop a blast of the horn from behind. But as everyone indicated properly I could trust them, but not here I am afraid.

By the same token to, I won’t enter a roundabout if a car is approaching me from the right at high speed. Under the law if I am on first the other car needs to give way even if I am on their left, but again in MY judgement the risk of someone just ploughing on through is too high, so I will wait.

As for your other issues such as blind spot and tyres blowing, that is any issue everywhere not just roundabouts and all comes down to road craft, and your own ability to sense the situation and adjust accordingly. In the example you give there is no reason why you couldn’t see the other car coming, so even if they ended up in your blind spot you should have seen them anyway. You should also be able to control your vehicle to remain within your lane and if a tyre blows deal with it.

Very basic stuff actually and all about sharing the road, something that in Canberra, with traffic increasing we need to do.

KB1971 10:24 am 17 Apr 13

JC said :

No the rule doesn’t say they can do it, neither does it say the cannot. What the rules state is you must give way to traffic on the roundabout, with a very nice description of what give way means in this case, which is stop if there is a risk of collision. Again in the situation you describe you will be in the centre lane turning right, meaning the left lane will be free. Now provided there is no risk of collision there is nothing stopping a vehicle from using the left lane as you complete your turn. Now if you want to change lanes in the roundabout or after the exit then you are now the one who must give way to traffic in the other lane. Roundabouts are not for the exclusive use of one car.

As for changing lanes in a roundabout, generally speaking that isn’t done. The rules are there because there are some roundabouts that for example may have two lanes in from one direction, but 3 or 1 lane out on another, in these you are generally guided by the lines on the road, but should indicate to change lanes, but this doesn’t apply in the situation you describe as it is two lanes in, two out on all approaches.

See you are the second person who has said there is no risk of a collision, I disagree with that, it is the highest risk for a collision on a roundabout for any number of reasons that collisions occur.

There is little to no risk if the cars are going straight through in opposite directions. There is less risk if the vehicles are travelling together & then either go straight through or turn in different directions.

But when two cars are going in different directions, one going straight & one coming from the right (regardless of the intention of the dirver) then that is the most risk. The car turning could blow a tyre , lose it brakes or even be indicating incirrectly or using the wrong lane. That is the reason to give way. OK these are mittigating circumstances but the perfect world of cars staing within their lanes doesnt exist all the time.

The there is the blind spot issue.

I come back to the intent, the roudnabout rules give a number of circumstances where cars can negotiate a roundabout together, the circumstance I describe is not one of them.

Anyway, I dont do it and I am not about to start doing it because it might save me 2.5 seconds on a trip. I let the people merge into the left lane after they have negotiated the roundabout & then decide if I want to get past them on the right hand side.

All this & I drive a 4WD too…. 😛

JC 7:30 am 17 Apr 13

KB1971 said :

That is correct (about the position of the cars) but the rule doesn’t actually say they can do it because the other car is in another lane but it does say you must give way.

Earlier in the rules about roundabouts it talks about being able to change lanes within that roundabout provided there is a broken line. To me (& I deal with legislation on a daily basis) it looks like the intent of the rule is for a car negotiating the roundabout to have the right of way.

It would be interesting to get a lawmakers view, I wonder if there is anything in the RIS or the parliamentary documents that show intent.

No the rule doesn’t say they can do it, neither does it say the cannot. What the rules state is you must give way to traffic on the roundabout, with a very nice description of what give way means in this case, which is stop if there is a risk of collision. Again in the situation you describe you will be in the centre lane turning right, meaning the left lane will be free. Now provided there is no risk of collision there is nothing stopping a vehicle from using the left lane as you complete your turn. Now if you want to change lanes in the roundabout or after the exit then you are now the one who must give way to traffic in the other lane. Roundabouts are not for the exclusive use of one car.

As for changing lanes in a roundabout, generally speaking that isn’t done. The rules are there because there are some roundabouts that for example may have two lanes in from one direction, but 3 or 1 lane out on another, in these you are generally guided by the lines on the road, but should indicate to change lanes, but this doesn’t apply in the situation you describe as it is two lanes in, two out on all approaches.

bundah 11:15 pm 16 Apr 13

JC said :

bundah said :

Personally i would wait for the unbroken white line before i merged but if someone wanted to perform the backdoor manoeuvre on me i’d just flatten it and pull out in front of them even if that meant exceeding the speed limit which i would normally never ever do.. 🙂

Sometimes that is hard to do. Just the other day I was joining the Monaro highway city bound from Fyshwick. As I get to near the merge a B-double was coming along the highway. I couldn’t safely get in front so had to back off the juice to pull in behind. As the wheels of the rear trailer were passing me two cars from behind me pulled in behind the truck and left me basically stranded. No where to speed up and no where to pull in, so had to stop. Basically very inconsiderate of the dicks behind.

The only time i would have a problem with a B-Double in that situation would be if there were other vehicles in front of me preventing me from rapidly accelerating in front of the monstrosity.But even in your situation i would undoubtedly manoeuvre my vehicle in front of the arseholes for attempting to squeeze me out while merging!

KB1971 9:39 pm 16 Apr 13

JC said :

Masquara said :

JC said :

See this all the time unfortunately. Where I see it a lot is Parkes Way onto Commonwealth Ave, Woden bound where traffic from the City shouldn’t go to the left lane until after the Parkes Way on ramp (from the Fyshwick direction). Often I see cars doing that then making it hard for cars to join Commonwealth Ave. Another at the same intersection is cars coming off Parkes Way from the tunnel end then trying to move to the middle/left lanes straight away, this has got worse since they put in the form one lane there.
.

Yep. I always break the law and cross the thick white line there into the middle lane straight away when coming off London Circuit onto the bridge (heading south), so the people queuing to get onto Commonwealth Ave from Parkes Way (coming from Fyshwick direction) can do so and not have to wait for me to go past in the left lane. Actually it is altruism, because it can disadvantage me as I need to get back into that left lane to turn left off the bridge at the National Library.

Whilst that is most courtesy of you, have you ever stopped to think why they paint that nice thick white line on the road? Yep it is because they want you to stay in your lane, for what ever reason. Though in this case I do know why, far too many lines of traffic and merges all at once, so the line is a way of trying to cut out one extra permutation of cars fighting for the finite road space, giving time for the traffic to settle and the road to become simpler before allowing the two separate lines of cars to change lanes.

Every few weeks I see a near miss caused by someone doing what your doing, especially now there is an extra form one lane on the London Cct and Parkes way on-ramp to Commonwealth Ave.

This is one area that, as a cyclist, I love cars. People scream up that on/off ramp off Parkes way, its a tricky one to see what is going on hence the give way but people being people are impatient and just spear out in front of you as a cyclist.

Having a car there coming up behind you gives the drivers something bigger and easier to see & usually makes them stop.

Works a treat.

KB1971 9:32 pm 16 Apr 13

MS1710 said :

I am one of the drivers who does exactly what you complain about. I come from Banks, northbound, along Tharwa Drive, and go straight ahead in the left lane of the Tharwa Dr/Box Hill Ave roundabout while traffic coming out of Box Hill turns right to go north along Tharwa Drive.

There is no risk to either you, or I, as long as neither of us wanders out of our lane.

If we both stay in our lanes then there cannot possibly be a collision as at no point are either of us going to be occupying the same space at the same time. I will be in the left lane of the roundabout the whole time. You will be in the right lane the whole time. Frankly if either of us can’t negotiate the roundabout without wandering out of our lane then we should hand our licences in.

The alternative, for me, is that I have to wait for a gap in the right-turning traffic before I go straight ahead. This will needlessly delay me, and any traffic queuing up behind me.

The only real risk at play here is to me, if someone in the right lane indicating right in fact decides to go straight ahead (therefore crossing my path). This can happen; but it’s easy enough to spot as someone going straight will be travelling faster than someone who intends to go right and has to make a tighter, slower turn.

The only exception I make to this practice is when I am driving one of my cars which is 41 years old and several orders of magnitude less safe than any modern car. In that case it’s in the interests of my own personal safety that I wait for other traffic to clear as someone else’s mistake could cost me dearly. But I don’t drive that car in peak hour either for exactly that reason and people are pretty accommodating of a classic car being driven cautiously on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Did you intentionally contradict yourself? 😛

Your old car may be less safe but if you don’t have side airbags in your newer car you are just as likely to be killed if someone plows into the side of you. Side airbags are not the be all to end all either, they just reduce the balance of probability.

KB1971 9:29 pm 16 Apr 13

JC said :

Oh so they are coming from your left going straight through but going to the same exit as you? The end result is the same though, they CAN do that provided they are in the left lane. Your right of way is to the centre lane, because your turning right, the left lane is free for them to enter and do as they please.

That is correct (about the position of the cars) but the rule doesn’t actually say they can do it because the other car is in another lane but it does say you must give way.

Earlier in the rules about roundabouts it talks about being able to change lanes within that roundabout provided there is a broken line. To me (& I deal with legislation on a daily basis) it looks like the intent of the rule is for a car negotiating the roundabout to have the right of way.

It would be interesting to get a lawmakers view, I wonder if there is anything in the RIS or the parliamentary documents that show intent.

JC 9:23 pm 16 Apr 13

bundah said :

Personally i would wait for the unbroken white line before i merged but if someone wanted to perform the backdoor manoeuvre on me i’d just flatten it and pull out in front of them even if that meant exceeding the speed limit which i would normally never ever do.. 🙂

Sometimes that is hard to do. Just the other day I was joining the Monaro highway city bound from Fyshwick. As I get to near the merge a B-double was coming along the highway. I couldn’t safely get in front so had to back off the juice to pull in behind. As the wheels of the rear trailer were passing me two cars from behind me pulled in behind the truck and left me basically stranded. No where to speed up and no where to pull in, so had to stop. Basically very inconsiderate of the dicks behind.

JC 9:18 pm 16 Apr 13

Masquara said :

JC said :

See this all the time unfortunately. Where I see it a lot is Parkes Way onto Commonwealth Ave, Woden bound where traffic from the City shouldn’t go to the left lane until after the Parkes Way on ramp (from the Fyshwick direction). Often I see cars doing that then making it hard for cars to join Commonwealth Ave. Another at the same intersection is cars coming off Parkes Way from the tunnel end then trying to move to the middle/left lanes straight away, this has got worse since they put in the form one lane there.
.

Yep. I always break the law and cross the thick white line there into the middle lane straight away when coming off London Circuit onto the bridge (heading south), so the people queuing to get onto Commonwealth Ave from Parkes Way (coming from Fyshwick direction) can do so and not have to wait for me to go past in the left lane. Actually it is altruism, because it can disadvantage me as I need to get back into that left lane to turn left off the bridge at the National Library.

Whilst that is most courtesy of you, have you ever stopped to think why they paint that nice thick white line on the road? Yep it is because they want you to stay in your lane, for what ever reason. Though in this case I do know why, far too many lines of traffic and merges all at once, so the line is a way of trying to cut out one extra permutation of cars fighting for the finite road space, giving time for the traffic to settle and the road to become simpler before allowing the two separate lines of cars to change lanes.

Every few weeks I see a near miss caused by someone doing what your doing, especially now there is an extra form one lane on the London Cct and Parkes way on-ramp to Commonwealth Ave.

JC 9:13 pm 16 Apr 13

screaming banshee said :

As I understand it the rules have always been that way, they just republished them to raise awareness amongst the numpty majority

In the ACT they have been that for as long as I remember, but in NSW they standardised on the national rules just last year, prior to that there was no compulsion to indicate on exit. Now it is the law, of course with the caveat “unless it is not practical to do so”. Guess most people even in the ACT thing it is not practical to do so.

bundah 7:04 pm 16 Apr 13

Personally i would wait for the unbroken white line before i merged but if someone wanted to perform the backdoor manoeuvre on me i’d just flatten it and pull out in front of them even if that meant exceeding the speed limit which i would normally never ever do.. 🙂

Masquara 6:39 pm 16 Apr 13

JC said :

See this all the time unfortunately. Where I see it a lot is Parkes Way onto Commonwealth Ave, Woden bound where traffic from the City shouldn’t go to the left lane until after the Parkes Way on ramp (from the Fyshwick direction). Often I see cars doing that then making it hard for cars to join Commonwealth Ave. Another at the same intersection is cars coming off Parkes Way from the tunnel end then trying to move to the middle/left lanes straight away, this has got worse since they put in the form one lane there.
.

Yep. I always break the law and cross the thick white line there into the middle lane straight away when coming off London Circuit onto the bridge (heading south), so the people queuing to get onto Commonwealth Ave from Parkes Way (coming from Fyshwick direction) can do so and not have to wait for me to go past in the left lane. Actually it is altruism, because it can disadvantage me as I need to get back into that left lane to turn left off the bridge at the National Library.

bundah 5:54 pm 16 Apr 13

The key to merging is firstly to travel at the same speed as the cars you’re about to merge with and if need be assertively force your way in.This should only be necessary if the vehicles you’re about to merge with are essentially tailgating which is both stupid and illegal not to mention inconsiderate of the fact that one needs to share the road not own it.Of course that’s easy for someone with my experience and confidence to accomplish however many are too timid and not as competent so they often stop and wait for a gap.

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