Give way to Beyonce

Last updated 14:03 13/03/2012

I'll be honest. When I first heard a couple of weeks ago that there were to be changes to the road rules governing who gives way at intersections, my initial thought was that I should get my affairs in order. Even in the unlikely event that I might be able to get the new rules straight, what are the chances that everybody else will? Is staying off the roads entirely until spring a possibility? I swear if the Y2K bug or solar flares don't get you, something will. Knowing my luck it'll be a people mover covered in My Family stickers.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that The Public Trust is missing an opportunity to launch a campaign piggybacking on the related driver education campaign. I have their tagline all ready to go. "The give way rules change on 25 March - have YOU made a will?" You're welcome, Public Trust. Tell my mother I love her.

But fear not, assembled road users. There are people who are here to help with online quizzes, even. If you're not sure about what your giving way responsibilities are as of 5am on Sunday, March 25, the NZTA has got your back. Phew. 

Yes, if you follow either of the links in the previous paragraph you will get good, clear examples of how to successfully negotiate intersections under the new rules. Whether or not any of that information "sticks" is another question. And I mean, it's not like they present you with any "real world" examples. I mean, get a load of this diagram from the NZTA -

What is wrong with this picture?Any reasonable person will look at this diagram and realise immediately what is wrong with it. Don't see it? Look carefully.

That's right, both of these cars are indicating.

Since when does that happen at intersections?

As an aside, the red car is supposed to give way in this scenario.

An easy way to remember this is to imagine that a T-junction is a torso with outstretched arms. The red car is headed somewhere towards the armpit whereas the blue car is clearly headed toward the groin. When making a call about which car has right of way, genitals take precedence over armpits. Think about it this way - where would you rather be tickled? 

Right this way, blue car.

Beyonce wouldn't steer you wrongIn this next example there is a motorcycle. Motorcycles are traffic too? Who knew? (I like how they use different vehicles in these diagrams - it's like the transport equivalent of being "ethnically diverse").

Anyway, here you need to think about Beyonce. Beyonce wants you to give way to cars turning "to the left, to the left". And what Beyonce wants, Beyonce gets. Apart from that MTV award that one time.








What problem exists that can't be helped by giant magnets?Another way of thinking about the "give way to cars turning left" rule is to imagine that there is a giant magnet just around the corner drawing the waiting car towards it, the magnetic field of which doesn't reach across the other side of the intersection. You can't fight magnetism, baby.

To be honest, I just like the idea of there being giant magnets lurking around corners.

Or you could just buy a blue car. If you're making your give way decisions solely on the basis of these three diagrams* then that would appear to be a good strategy.





Of course knowing the new rules is only half the battle. The next thing is knowing when to apply them. That is, not until after 5am on March 25. All you have to do is not get confused and die in an automobile accident until then and everything will be well. Just think "Stay alive until March 25". After that you'll just have to worry about everyone else's driving rather than your own. Which means you get to enjoy being righter than other people. There may be folks who get confused, so in the interests of continuing driver education I have made this handy sign. Simply print it out and affix it to a ruler, fairy wand or table tennis paddle and flash it at drivers who need a little reminding.

Look, I don't know. I can't even drive. But having taken the quizzes and now written a whole blog post about the new give way rules, I actually feel a little bit more confident and less like I'm going to meet an untimely death. How about you? Have you done the quizzes? Top score or accident waiting to happen? Have you come up with ideas about how to remember the new rules that don't involve unfeasibly large magnets or Beyonce? Feel free to share with the rest of us in the interests of safety.


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janet   #1   02:18 pm Mar 13 2012

fantastic blog! I'm freaking out, I hardly understand the current laws (all I remember is if they will hit me in the drivers seat, give way) so how am I going to cope with new ones! And 2012 was going to be the year I finally started to drive (I'm turnign 28 soon). Oh dear.

Kam   #2   02:20 pm Mar 13 2012

I understand the new road rules but I am not sure if it will translate to all intersections. In Chch, we have quite a few intersections controlled by lights with free left turning lanes, where drivers simply only have to 'give way'. Does this mean that those turning right into the road that the left turner is also turning into do not have to give way as the lefty is on a give way (Different to the law change)? I hope this makes sense...

Davo   #3   02:20 pm Mar 13 2012

I thought the old rule was very simple to follow (ignoring the fact it is different to the rest of the world). It was simply. Always give way to the right. Now it is give way to thr right sometimes. For example, at a roundabout you still give way to the right. I think I am ok with it (even though I only got 5 in the test), but don't trust that others will know it. Just this week, I sat waiting for ages for someone to go at an intersection, when he obviously thought I should be. Why change these rules just because they are different overseas? When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Surely that applies to NZ as well?

AT   #4   02:20 pm Mar 13 2012

I live in Queenstown. We have a very large proportion of overseas visitors attempting to drive around here. They are easily identified - rental cars have stickers in the middle of the windscreen not on the side like regular warrant stickers. They are also the ones travelling slowly, weaving all over the road whilst trying to figure out where they're going and look at the view at the same time. The new rules will be great because it takes us more in line with the rest of the world and will hopefully be less confusing for our guests. Although the road rules aren't really obeyed as diligently down here. Patience only lasts so long before people get frustrated with waiting for the road maggot (campervan) to make a decision and just go anyway....

Lauren   #5   02:21 pm Mar 13 2012

My boyfriend is from the UK, so I've employed him to help me learn the rules. When ever we are out driving he will be like, back in the old country, you would have had to give way to them.

I like the magnet idea. I'm really worried about the switch over, mainly because I don't want anyone to crash into me.

MC   #6   02:21 pm Mar 13 2012

Thank you thank you thank you!

This has made my day.

Alice2   #7   02:22 pm Mar 13 2012

I'm going to spend the next few weeks working out how to get places with only left hand turns. And then staying off the roads as much as possible for a few months :)

And Moata, you're a cyclist, right? You're still going to have to know these rules.

Jen   #8   02:23 pm Mar 13 2012

Thanks Moata - makes perfect sense!

Em   #9   02:24 pm Mar 13 2012

Haha this blog made me laugh, love it! also - you only heard about the changes a couple of weeks ago? Where have you been hiding?

Not too worried about your first example, 80% of motorists don't know that current rule anyway (as most of the time the red car would be at a giveway/stop sign) so it's only the remaining 20% "good drivers" that need to learn that one. And as for right turners giving way to left turners, if they both go at the same time, the left turner will make it there first, win-win!

Mr 2 Cents   #10   02:24 pm Mar 13 2012

Unsure what the big deal is really...if you are a half decent driver (ie you dont sit and zone out while driving) and you have a brain that actually calculates information then there should be no issue.

The problem is there are many, many drivers in NZ who do not fall in to this category. These people should not have been given a license, that its unfortunately where the issue lies.

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