Give way to Beyonce

01:03, Mar 13 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 -

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.

In 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.








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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