Who Has to Give Way? Merging While Other Car Changing Lane

Happened to me recently - I was merging from a merging lane from the right (car A), and at the same time another car was changing lanes (car B) (see picture).

Who has to give way? My take it's car B because car A is on the right side of it and they both changing marked lanes

The picture: https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/105177/82806/screen_sh...

P.s. after the discussion I realised there can be another option where both cars should give way. Unfortunately can not add an option to the poll.

Poll Options

  • 80
    Car A should give way
  • 13
    Car B should give way


  • +3

    Whoever is behind.

    • +12

      The question is quite cleverly presented. The cars are perfectly side by side and neither car is able to see one another since there is a divider in between.

      I say that the cars are obliged to collide.

      • It was actually near collision but I managed to see the car and give way. Now I'm wondering if there is a rule for this case but failed to find one.

        • +4

          Sometimes it's just bad road design.

          • +3


            Sometimes it's just bad road design.

            That's Homebush Bay Drive all the way from IKEA to Centenary Drive. Don't miss the days where you had to cut across five lanes of peak hour traffic from DFO to the M4 westbound on-ramp ….

    • Whoever is more competent.

  • +9

    I've seen this on the learners test. It's either A: Whoever is behind, B: Whoever has the slowest car, or C: Whoever has the least courage.

  • +9

    A probably has to give way. I would base this on the fact that they are entering the road.

    But B is being a d!ck for making that lane merge at the exact location a lane is being added.

    • B was overtaking a truck. Saw the gap in traffic - same as me while merging, and went to overtake.

      • +9

        A is in a lane that is entering the road and you generally have to give way to all traffic already on the road you are entering.

        As I said, B is being a pain for doing whatever they are doing, but is not in the wrong.

        • +2

          I agree with this. The road A is coming from is joining into Homebush Bay Drv. The road marking for A indicates a give way line because that road A is coming from, is ending.

          • -1

            @pegaxs: Just to be technical the line marking is a 'continuity line', not a 'give way' line. The existence of the continuity line makes it a lane change for car A and they must give way. If the continuity line didn't exist it would be a merge point.

            What a piss poor design that section of road is

            • @tight-ass: While I agree "technically" it is a continuation line (as outlined in section 4.8 of the road markings handbook - Delineation, Section 4 - longitudinal markings), it's main function is to act as an indication that the lane is ending and that drivers in this lane should "give way", hence it operates as a way to determine who has to give way… A line that tells road users who has to give way…

              (c) At merging lanes where it is intended that the vehicle in the terminating lane should give way to vehicles in the adjoining lane (as compared to zipper merge)

    • +6

      Amazing how many people merge into a lane that incoming traffic would use to merge.

  • +2

    Such poor road design, on the other side, the left side also has cars merging in as well. Any lane change in that zone, if busy, is almost certainly gonna cause confusion if not accidents. Panel beaters dream

    • Exactly. I work in road safety and this is just appalling. I thought we had some bad roads in Vic…

    • +2

      Sydneysiders hate merging too. They will stay in a lane to turn right in 30km's rather than let traffic flow. All because of the thought of having to merge and change lane.

  • +5

    Actually by law I think you're both in the wrong.

    "When changing lanes, you must give way to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into. In this instance, both vehicles must give way to each other".

    That means neither of you should be changing lanes unless a clear give way path is available.

    • -1

      That's actually what I got to by reading road rules. Would've been great to have clarity. I know some other countries have rules like "In case of equal positions always give way to the vehicle on your right"

    • +1

      When changing lanes, you must give way to any vehicle in the lane you are moving into

      But at that moment, no one is in the lane both cars want to move to.

  • +8

    The answer is always rev to 7600RPM and let VTEC make B eat dust.

  • -1

    Where the lane you are driving in ends and you have to cross lane lines to merge with the traffic in another lane, give way to traffic in the other lane.

    • there was no traffic in the other lane. Both cars started moving in the lane at the same time

      • +1

        If Car B got to the lane first, then Car A needs to give way.

        If simultaneous that both cars are about to enter that lane, then courtesy of both cars?

        Like when left and right lane want to merge to middle lane.

        • Courtesy of both cars? Incorrect, both cars should proceed and collide then immediately make a post about how other driver was at fault for not giving way.

          • @Mike88: Only change lanes when safe to do so.
            Similar to when 2 cars want to merge to a middle lane. Both cars should exercise caution before merging

          • @Mike88: Why do we need rules? Just use courtesy of everyone and she'll be right.

  • +1

    Car A's lane looks (from the image) like it was ending soon, so they had nowhere else to go. Car B already had a perfectly good lane, and should have stayed in it. Why did car B need to get into the right lane? Bad car B.

  • +1

    A because it's entering traffic so it should be weary/cautious. Old mate B is just chugging along the road as usual. As far as B is concerned, A nearly hit him while he was driving down the road.

    • -1

      B was changing lane at the same time as A

  • +2

    That road is a disaster. Merging traffic in from the right lane is bad to start with but merging from both sides at once is madness.
    A should definitely give way to B but B would be better off avoiding lane changes near merging traffic. Better to sit behind the truck and avoid the potential accident.

    • It seems bizarre to have what looks like an onramp merge into the right-hand lane (traditionally known as the "fast" lane) rather than get added as a new lane.

      • right-hand lane (traditionally known as the "fast" lane)

        I've always thought that the right lane was for the people who own the road. That's what I hear people screaming out, anyway.

    • And when cars merge from an ending zip lane they want to shoot across even more and be in the middle. The psychology of lanes….. not having road discipline and changing lanes just for the sake of it, or to the need to have no other car infront of you.

  • +1

    Should always look ahead and adjust your speed to surroundings. Surroundings doesn't just mean pedestrians and the whether, but what kind of intersection is coming up, what traffic is like eg. Is a merge coming up, blocked right lane due to cars turning right, common blind spot at X etc.
    Adjust your speed so you're not at the same speed /level as the other merging car.

    • Thanks for an advice! The lane merges in a right lane of a busy 80km/h road, what speed would you suggest there?

      • +1

        As I said, adjust your speed so you're not at the same level. Go faster or slower depending on their speed and position.

        • The picture there is not exactly accurate. Imagine the same condition for both cars A and B, but with the left lane full of traffic and the right lane with a gap in traffic allowing for a safe merge for both cars.

          • +1

            @srr: … As I said before, adjust your speed.

            The only thing you have control over, is your speed. Use your speed and judgement to position yourself behind or Infront….

  • +3

    The answer is simple - it is car A that has to give way source

    The reason for this is that those small white lines in front of car A depict a give way line - as distinct from the larger white lines that are lane dividers found in the other lanes of traffic (such as the lane that car B is in. If you follow the picture you have uploaded further down the road, you find your give way lines complete with your lane being closed off.

    Regardless of what car B is doing you are required by law to give way.

    • Thanks for your answer - just not sure what example from your link is the answer. I'm also not sure about distinction between shorter and longer lane markings. Looking at https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current... both diagrams exemplify the same rule of "changing lane"

      • Your lane is ending … you have to give way … you have a give way line … it's that simple

        if you don't understand road markings - read this

        PS> I am not doing anymore research for you …research that you could do yourself. You have the answer, you can argue and claim confusion all you like.

        • Thank you for your effort, it is appreciated.

      • It's example 1 diagram in your link. You can see the smaller dotted lines clearly in example 1 (which is showing where subrule 2 does not apply) which is the case for any type of 'onramp/merging at speed' situation in any state of Australia. I don't know how it can be any clearer. All of the other examples deal with either changing lanes (when not merging) or when traffic converges into a single lane (eg after a set of traffic lights where 2 lanes converge to 1 - aka 'the car in front' rule).

  • +1

    Technically car A is required to give way but it depends on the exact scenario.

    It just comes down to common sense and respect to other road users.

    • The complication is car B also required to give way. The only logical answer I have at the moment both cars had to give way to each other.

  • Perhaps this can help answer the question?

    • That’s a good find! Unfortunately it’s Queensland, do you think the same applies to NSW?

  • +3

    Man it’s nice to see a thread about giving way where there is no mention of ‘right of way’

    • the can of worms that is the roundabout ! ! !

  • +1

    Some ridiculous comments here (the car who is behind lmao!). If not bound by law, common sense would be the car in the merging lane is the one that should either slow down or stop of course as it is not yet on the freeway, a merging lane typically has a slower speed limit and is not impacted by other cars driving on the freeway etc.

    • Merging lane to my understanding is a part of the road, but happy to learn otherwise and understand how it changes the things.

      Branding comments ridiculous or appealing to “clear reasons” doesn’t make your answer more authoritative.

      • +1

        True, I'm just used to seeing completely wrong answers provided in ozbargain frequently. Best thing to do would be to ask NSW Transport for a factually correct answer given the circumstances.

    • Stop!! Oh my days. It's 80 along there. Trucks flying everywhere. Good luck.

  • Car A would need to give way because they are merging. Car B is performing a lane change and is on the roadway proper.
    Car B should be considerate of other road users and change lanes before or after the merge point to allow traffic to flow better and avoid potential accidents and confrontations.

    • Reading road rules helped me to understand that the move Car A did is considered “moving to another lane”, same as just changing lanes Car B did see https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current...

      • You are correct, the literal rule is that both cars changed lanes, however;
        - Car B is effecting a lane change the main carriageway lane 1of2 to lane 2of2 and has to only give way to lane 2 vehicles.
        - Car A is merging and has to give way to all vehicles on the main carriageway and has to be aware of cars potentially changing lanes from 1of2 to 2of2.

        merging lanes always have to give way to continuing lanes, unless the lane markings end. If lane markings end it is the car that is ahead when the markings stop that has priority (many people don't understand this rule, much like roundabouts)

        • Good input, where can I read about it? I tried to find this information in road rules but failed

          • @srr: NSW Road Users Handbook pages 121 & 122.

            The situation you described is like pg 122 example of slip lane.

            • @blank-404: Unfortunately all the examples I found in road rules and road handbook, including those you refer, show only two lanes. There’s no example where two vehicles merging into one empty lane simultaneously.

              • @srr: take a look at the slip lane example, it is the exact situation you refer to. Car B is coming from the continuing lane and car A is in the sliplane. Sliplane driver has to give way regardless if another driver is changing lane, turning and selecting a lane, whatever. Sliplane driver has no rights to merge unless there is no other traffic.

                • -1

                  @blank-404: But I’m my case there were no other car in the lane car A was moving to. I’m a bit confused now. Are you saying that car A should’ve waited until no other car was on the road potentially deciding to move in the right lane? You realise it’s not exactly possible on a busy road like A3?

                  • @srr: Essentially the car in the slip lane has to give way to both lanes. Whether someone is changing lanes or not, it is up to them to find a space for their car to enter the flowing lanes and accelerate without impeding other traffic.
                    But as I said before, the car in lane 1 could have some roadcraft and change into that lane before or after the intersection, not at the intersection, if traffic conditions permit.

  • No matter what, vehicle A must cede way to the main flow of traffic.

    Vehicle B is simply one of those stupid people who have no conception toward highway fast driving environments.

  • +1

    If it is truly simultaneous that both cars are trying to merge to the same lane, then I'd say they both have the same obligation to give way to each other - ultimately both are making a lane change, which requires giving way to any vehicle already in the lane. Of course, in practice, that's impossible to determine in real-time…

    There really should be a single unbroken line dividing the two main through-lanes along that stretch until both entrance merges are completed, it's a shocking stretch of road at the best of times.

  • +1

    So tricky, and I'm a rubbish driver (don't worry I don't actually drive I just have my license and find Sydney driving crazy stressful) so I always like reading these threads, I learn a lot.

    I could easily accidentally be the profanity in B trying to change into a merging lane.

    As car A I would think I need to give way because car B is already on the road. Then I read the above regarding technically it's a lane change for A. Now my head hurts because they are both then already on the same road, so when does car A's road begin to be the same as car B's road?

    If I was in car B I would maintain speed only as long as I would not collide with car A. Otherwise I'd slow to avoid collision as necessary (but not jump on the brakes, as I could be rear-ended by another car).

    Critiques, comments, unreasonably snarky or abusive replies anyone? All welcome.

    • It is always sensible to give way if there’s a possibility of collision, even if the other car should give way. Better safe than sorry

      • +1

        I have gathered this much in my travels. In fact, pretty sure I knew this one before I was old enough to drive. Chicken is dangerous.

    • just do what most sydneysiders do… just keep going on your merry way without looking…. or stop completely. Rear vision mirrors and blindspots are yesterdays news !

      • +1

        While I generally have little issue with being confrontational or just ignoring people to the point of obnoxiousness, I can't seem to apply these to my driving. The stakes just seem too high. I am a shamefully inadequate Sydney driver. I know.

        • +1

          Yeah driving isnt very nice in Sydney at all. Impossible to avoid confrontation on the roads in my experiences too….. and I find also you cant pick em. I got the finger and chased down recently when I politely beeped a driver who I thought didn't see me. Other drivers go snails pace in the fast lane and just when you think they're that nervous driver who only focuses ahead, they have no problem then speeding up when you have the audacity to overtake them.

  • Perhaps a continuous line should be in place to stop car (eg car B) from changing to the right lane at the merge section? Car A does not have full view advantage.

    • Perhaps a continuous line should be in place to stop car (eg car B) from changing to the right lane at the merge section?

      Won't stop people from changing lanes (illegally)

      • +1

        exactly… they did a thicker line on general Holmes drive before the airport tunnel. Hahahaha. Unless its a barrier, lines are a waste of time. People can't even cope with social distancing marks in supermarkets.

  • +2

    The less idiot should give way 😊