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Indicating and turning left or right

Know how to use your indicator, and turn left or right safely on NSW roads.

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Indicating and hand signals

Indicating (also called signalling) is when you use your indicator to warn other drivers that you intend to move left or right. For example, when you turn, overtake or change lanes.

Plan your turns, lane changes and moves early, so you’re in the correct lane and have enough time to indicate. Always check for other vehicles by looking in your mirrors and checking your blind spots.

You must indicate before you:

  • turn right or left
  • move to the right or left
  • make a U-turn or three-point turn
  • change lanes, including when overtaking
  • merge with another lane
  • pull over to stop or park
  • pull out from the side of the road
  • turn right or left at a roundabout
  • go straight ahead at a T-intersection where the continuing road curves to the right or left
  • leave a roundabout, if practical.

Make sure your indicator is turned off after each turn or lane change.

Before pulling out from the side of the road or a parking area, you must indicate for at least 5 seconds.

If your vehicle is fitted with indicators, they must be working and clearly visible. If they’re not working, you can get a Defect Notice.

Hand signals

If your indicators are not working or not clearly visible or your vehicle is not fitted with them, you must give a hand signal when turning right or stopping.

Bicycle riders must give a hand signal when turning right.

Hand Stop indication example
Extend your arm to the right and bend at the elbow to signal you’re stopping
Hand Right turn indication example
Extend your arm to the right to signal you’re turning right

Turning left

When making a left turn, you must:

  • indicate left
  • move close to the left side of the road
  • keep to the left side of the road you’re turning into
  • use a slip lane where there’s one.

When driving on a multi-lane road, you must turn left from the left lane, or from a lane with an arrow pointing left.

'Left' and 'No left' turn signs

No left turn white and black road signs
‘No left turn’ road signs, indicating you must not turn left
Left lane must turn left sign
‘Left lane must turn left’ road sign, indicating you must turn left if you’re driving in the left lane
Left turn only sign
‘Left only’ road sign, indicating you must turn left

Turning right

When making a right turn, you must:

  • indicate right
  • follow any road markings for turning, such as lane lines and painted arrows
  • move as close as possible to the dividing line on the road you’re turning from
  • stay in the same lane as you turn from one road to another.

When driving on a multi-lane road, you must turn right from the right lane, or from a lane with an arrow pointing right.

You can turn right across any type of dividing line to enter or leave a road, or a road-related area such as a driveway or car park.

Before you turn right, your front wheels and car should face straight ahead so they do not block oncoming traffic.

Crossing a line whilst turning
You can cross a single or double dividing line when entering or leaving a road
No right turn sign
‘No right turn’ road sign, indicating you must not turn right or make a U-turn
Right lane must turn right sign
‘Right lane must turn right’ road sign, indicating you must turn right if you’re driving in the right lane
Right turn only sign
‘Right only’ road sign, indicating you must turn right

Choosing lanes when turning

Signs showing where you must or must not turn or enter are regulatory signs and must be obeyed by law.

Plan your turns early so you’re in the correct lane or part of the road and have enough time to indicate.

If necessary, you can drive on, across, or outside edge lines for up to 100m when turning left or right.

You must follow the lane lines when turning. If there are no lines, you should stay in the same lane while you turn.

Turning right then left
When a car (Car A) is turning right and then wants to turn immediately left (into the ad marked X), it should turn right from the left lane

No entry

When you see the ‘No entry’ sign, you must not turn into or enter the road.

No Entry road sign
‘No entry’ road sign, indicating you must not drive beyond the sign

Bicycle lanes

No bicycles sign
The ‘No bicycles’ sign means that bicycle riders must not ride beyond the sign

Bicycles and hook turns

Bicycles can use a hook turn to turn right. This means they use the left lane to turn right.

When doing a hook turn, a bicycle rider must:

  • approach the intersection from the far left side
  • keep to the far left side while entering the intersection
  • keep clear of any marked pedestrian crossing
  • give way to vehicles approaching from their right
  • if there are traffic lights, stay to the left side and wait until the light changes to green.
Hook turn sign
Road sign indicating a right turn from left lane only

As a driver, you must take care to avoid colliding with bicycles turning at intersections.

Bicycle riders must give a hand signal when turning right. However, they do not have to give a hand signal when making a hook turn to turn right.

Bicycle hook turn
The bicycle rider waits at the far left side of the road (A). The bicycle rider keeps to the far left as they turn (B). The bicycle rider turns when it’s safe (C)

Long and oversize vehicles

Some oversize or long vehicles have a ‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign. These vehicles may use more than one lane when turning right or left.

Do not put your vehicle in the path of a large, heavy vehicle when it’s turning – you may be crushed. It’s safest to stay behind and wait until the vehicle has completed the turn.

For rules about overtaking long vehicles with a ‘Do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign, see Overtaking.

Oversize vehicle turning
Stay behind heavy vehicles that are turning
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