People who refuse to keep left

I’ve seen so many people driving on clear empty highway just chilling in the right lane, forcing me to overtake on the left which is not ideal.
What’s your problem with keeping left?


  • +31 votes

    What’s your problem with keeping left?

    I don't have one, thanks for enquiring though.

    • +32 votes

      Why, oh why, doesn't Australia take bad driving seriously?

      In the UK and many European countries, 'undertaking' (passing on the 'inside' lane) is illegal and is classed as dangerous driving, and, if seen, will get you a fine.

      Just having signs that say 'Keep left, unless overtaking' means nothing unless those rules are enforced.
      In Queensland, I have even seen police vehicles undertaking - It's wrong and it's dangerous!

      We are constantly bombarded with 'drive carefully' messages in the media, but the road rules that are important are not enforced.

      It's time they got serious about road safety - and stop vehicles, especially trucks, from tail-gating also

      Before registration stickers were discontinued in Queensland, the transport department used to put road safety messages on them.
      One message actually said "unnecessary weaving is dangerous".

      How stupid can you be?? ALL WEAVING IS DANGEROUS! and should be ILLEGAL!

      Some drivers still do not know how to use roundabouts, because they have never been shown!
      Many obtained their driver's license BEFORE there were roundabouts.

      There needs to be a concerted media campaign to educate the driving public regarding appropriate, acceptable driving practice, with short videos to demonstrate what is expected of drivers.

      There, I've had my say, and I hope that, maybe, some drivers will read this and modify their driving habits.

      • +2 votes

        I noticed a while back after being around Australia, the more room there is the more crap/complacent drivers are.

        • +6 votes

          What about I'm chilling on the right lane At speed, to my turning point.

          And people still tailgate me trying to go 3-5km+ above speed limit? lol

          • -1 vote

            @capslock janitor: I find it interesting how many people bring "driving slow" or "slow driver" into their argument to reinforce it when that wasn't even stated in OP.

            In my experience it's often people wanting to speed being pissed at people doing the speed limit.


            @capslock janitor: They'll tailgate you, finally get past and get in front and slow down!


            • +2 votes

              @trixalator: sometimes i cruise at 3-5kmh above myself on highways and they still manage to close in/undertake on me lol

      • +4 votes

        You haven't described undertaking here. Undertaking is when a car is dangerously passing you on the left when not in a proper lane (e.g. they have swung onto the verge).

        If both cars are driving in separate road lanes, the car on the left is simply "passing you", not undertaking. Otherwise, it would be illegal to drive on multi-lane roads.

        EDIT: From the WA Drive Safe Handbook - Page 71

        3.16.1 When can you overtake?
        You can overtake a vehicle on the left only when:
        ƒ you are directed to do so by a Police Officer or other authorised person;
        ƒ you are on a multi-lane road and it is safe to do so; and
        ƒ a vehicle is indicating/signalling that it is turning right. You can also overtake any
        vehicles that are stationary behind it.

        • +2 votes

          Undertaking is a term commonly used in the UK to describe exactly as Forkinhell stated:

          Although it is not illegal here.

          • +2 votes

            @DogGunn: In your article, it’s not illegal there either.


              @tomleonhart: Never said it was illegal.

              It is however able to be used against you in other offences as it is a violation of the highway code.

              • +1 vote

                @DogGunn: Ok that's confusing.

                Because you said "although it's not illegal here" that implies it's illegal over there.

                Although is used to introduce a subordinate clause which contains a statement which makes the main clause of the sentence seem surprising or unexpected. Would you say "it's not illegal in the UK although it's not illegal here", that makes no sense.

                It is however able to be used against you in other offences as it is a violation of the highway code.

                Care to elaborate?

      • +2 votes

        There is only 1 reason why anyone would overtake on the left, and the problem is with the driver being overtaken.

        In countries where overtaking on the "left" is not permitted, neither is sitting in the "right"

      • +7 votes

        Undertaking is common simply because people sitting in the right lane happens on basically every highway and freeway in Australia 24x7.
        No one except the police or an emergency vehicle has the ability to force a right lane hog leave the right lane, so undertaking is the only way to get past them.

      • +3 votes

        Over taking in the left lane is just passing.
        Undertaking definition is going off the road or into the emergency lane to overtake.
        Overtaking definition is when you pass a vehicle when needing to go on the other side of the road.

        In a multilane road passing another car is not overtaking but passing.

        • -1 vote

          No, Jerjergeg, overtaking in the left lane is not 'just passing'.

          Correct driving practice (and the road rules) means always keeping to the left, unless overtaking.
          ie If you are in the left lane, you then move to the next right lane to overtake the vehicle in front of you.
          Then, having passed that vehicle, you return to the left lane that you were in previously.

          You are not allowed to continue in the right lane if there is no vehicle to your left.

          The only exception is, if on a suburban multi-lane road with both/all lanes occupied, or with vehicles turning right.

          Quoting Jeremy Clarkson: "you use right lanes like a toilet, you go there, do your business, then get off, you don't stay there all day"
          ie you go back to your previous lane.


            @Forkinhell: No, Jerjergeg is correct.

            However, you can pass/overtake on the left or right - I am talking about a multilane highway here, same direction. On an empty 3 lane highway, you can legally drive in the 2nd lane, even if there is a Keep Left sign.

            Keep Left=do not keep in the rightmost lane.


              @megaclix: No he's not. Undertaking is a pun, meaning it's dangerous. Passing on the right is overtaking; passing on the left is <some pun about you'll need an undertaker>. Trucks used to have a sign on the right saying "this side for overtaking" and on the leftsomething a little better worded than "this side for undertaking" - or maybe an image of a coffin or something… I don't remember exactly.


                @SlickMick: The fact that trucks had to have these signs shows that there is something wrong.

                There is nothing in the law that says that you cannot undertake (in this case, I mean overtake on the left lane on multi lane highway).

                There is nothing in law that says you must keep left. If there was, we wouldn't keep having these threads.

                • +1 vote

                  @megaclix: 1) Agreed - overtaking on the left is dangerous. Drivers must keep left so that overtaking on the left is not a thing.
                  2) True. If some idiot is breaking the law by not keeping left, we can overtake them - but that same idiot may well wipe you out so be careful
                  3) Don't know where you live, but that is incorrect in Qld.


                  On single-lane roads, you must stay as close as practical to the left side of the road.

                  On multi-lane roads, if the posted speed limit is 90km/h or more, or if the road has a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign, you must not drive in the right-hand lane unless you are:

                  turning right
                  making a U-turn
                  avoiding an obstruction
                  driving in congested traffic
                  using a special purpose lane that you are allowed to be in.

                  Drivers are allowed to overtake on the left on all multi-lane roads


                    @SlickMick: I am in QLD, and the key words here are 'you must not drive in the right-hand lane'. That does not mean keep left. It means do not drive in the rightmost lane.

                    The Keep Left rule in Australia doesn't mean keep left. No wonder it keeps going round in circles.

                    PS: I am only on about multi lane roads, eg highway. Not single lane roads, where I agree, undertaking is not allowed (or in reality, is done cautiously depending on vehicle and road space).


                      @megaclix: The Keep Left rule in Australia absolutely means keep left, and because so many are not understanding this, we indeed are not getting anyway.

                      Do we really need to take the laws down to specifying the conditions under which we can be in each lane, and on footpaths and even in shopping centres?

                      Can't we just accept that if we have a system, and follow it, then it will be more convenient and beneficial for everyone?

                      You'll notice in the video that the examples are in the left 2 lanes of a 3 lane road. You would also see that he overtaking car immediately indicates to get back in the left lane.
                      If you needed another example, they could have shown how a 3rd vehicle could have overtaken the 2 of them.
                      They could have shown a 4th example of how, because all of these vehicles returned to the left lane, a continous stream of vehicles could do whetever speed they lake and the process would flow. It only breaks down when someone doesn't get back to the left.

                      We will always have congestion on 2 lane roads because people like you want to enforce your right to be in the right lane despite the impact on others.

                      • +1 vote


                        The Keep Left rule in Australia absolutely means keep left

                        No, it doesn't. It only partly means "keep left", because the slogan hasn't kept up with our multi-lane road systems.

                        To quote your own post (emphasis added)

                        On multi-lane roads, if the posted speed limit is 90km/h or more, or if the road has a ‘keep left unless overtaking’ sign, you must not drive in the right-hand lane unless…

                        By your own quoted definition, "keep left" on a 2-lane road is not the same as "keep left" on a 3-lane or 4-lane road because the actual quoted rule is to stay out of the right-hand lane, not stay in the left lane.

                        I don't recall when the "keep left" slogan started, maybe Australia didn't have roads wider than 2-lanes way back then :) but in 2021 it would make sense to re-write the rule so it specifically says "stay out of the right-hand lane unless you are doing x/y/z" so that it is nice and clear and applies to all roads regardless of how many lanes it has?


                          @cimrak: <sigh> and so the congestion continues.


                        @SlickMick: But there isn't a keep left rule on multi lane roads. Just because you think there is, doesn't make it a fact.


                          @megaclix: it's not that I think anything, the spirit of the law is to keep traffic flowing, and the way that works is to keep left unless overtaking.

                          I can't explain why the laws don't speciy exactly what lane to be in under every circumstance. Maybe the lawmakers give us some credit. Falsely, obviously.

                          Can you not see that if we keep left, traffic can flow, if don't, it only takes a few cars to make congestion?
                          It doesn't matter how wide we build the highways, they'll still be congested with tis attitude "I'm allowed pick any lane but the far right one".



                            It doesn't matter how wide we build the highways, they'll still be congested with tis attitude "I'm allowed pick any lane but the far right one".

                            That's.. not how congestion works on a multi-lane road.

                            Here is an example I'm sure we all see or hear about every weekday - driving to work in the city on a 4-lane road with a 100km/hr speed limit. By your reasoning, everybody should be in the very left-most lane (let's call it lane 1), forming a queue that is 60km's long while the other three lanes are empty (except for a handful of cars that happen to be overtaking and then moving back into lane 1).

                            You are trying to say this scenario isn't congested and traffic is free-flowing.

                            If we use all four lanes (because "driving in congested traffic" is a valid exception to the rule and so people can now drive in the 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th lane as more cars hit the road) then the traffic queue is now only ~15km long instead of 60km long.

                            Does it take longer for 60km's of traffic to clear, or 15km's of traffic? I would argue that a 60km queue of traffic is more congested and less free-flowing than a 15km queue.

                            I acknowledge my example is very basic and doesn't take into account things like multiple speed change zones causing a concertina effect, onramp/offramp traffic flows or numpties doing 20km/hr under the speed limit (regardless of the lane they're in) etc.


                              @cimrak: That's not exactly rocket science. Once the left lane is full, there will continually be cars in the 2nd lane overtaking them.
                              Eventually all lanes will be full, but we'll have had many thousands more throughput than the random pick a lane with varying speeds and everyone weaving all over the place trying to manouvre thier way through.

                              I was reminded of a classic 2 lane example today. I used to use this road for the daily commute: I enter on an added right lane at 80kph, there is other traffic on the existing left lane. We have about 1km before they merge, and the limit becomes 90kph about 2km further. There is no opportunity to overtake for ~ 20km.
                              Almost everyone on the daily commute knows merge to the left, and only if there is somebody slower than you in the left AND noone faster than you in the right, do you overtake. This way, the speeders who are already doing 90 get in front, and if it isn't too busy those doing 80 can get past those doing under the speed limit. Usually, there isn't a brake light lit, everyone does thier chosen speed,and everyone gets to work happy.
                              Occassionally we get an arrogant driver who thinks "I'm not getting over, I'd only have to change back in 1km" or an incompetent driver who thinks "oh my lane is going to end I'd better get over or I'll get blocked out". Then weget the dangerous situation this whole thread is about, with the faster drivers trying to overtake on the left, and it becomes a game of chicken when the lanes merge.

                              Such a simple concept, that works so well, like I say, it works on footpaths, shopping malls, roads of all sizes, but we have people who will argue "the law allows for me to be a nusiance".



            The only exception is, if on a suburban multi-lane road with both/all lanes occupied, or with vehicles turning right.

            Or any road with a speed limit of 80km/h or less. So, you know, pretty much all roads.

      • +1 vote

        We don't need any proper driver training or enforcement of rules. Just "drop 5 to save lives", speed is all that matters, and catchy little slogans that people can parrot.



          "keep left for the convenience of others" would be more effective

          • +1 vote

            @SlickMick: Yes sarcasm. People don't care about the convenience of others sadly. It's also a safety issue, having people spread out over the entire highway, all doing under the speed, is not good. The M1 here is terrible for it.

  • +92 votes

    I honk them. I know I will get negged but yeah, I always does. It's not just a law, it's a courtesy.

    • +9 votes

      Courtesy on the road is important for sure

    • -43 votes

      So you break the law (illegally honk) because you're frustrated other people break the law?

      One rule for you, another for everyone else?

      • +35 votes

        How is it illegal to honk someone driving slow in the far right lane of a motorway where it says keep left unless overtaking?

        • +10 votes

          That's not a legal justification, unfortunately


            @ThithLord: Edit - replied wrong person lol

          • -1 vote

            @ThithLord: it should be.

            Youre allowed to honk when someone is a little slow on the green light, but not allowed when theyre breaking the keep left rule?



              Youre allowed to honk when someone is a little slow on the green light

              lol, you're not. That's illegal.

              The horn is basically only called for to alert other road users or animals of hazards.

        • -2 votes

          Sorry, revenue raising doesn't care about common sense, it only cares what the law allows.

          • +2 votes

            @Blue Cat: do you have a source for total number of fines issued for inappropriate uses of a horn, or are you just making this up?


              @dinna89: to be honest they can probably make money of people who dont keep left. I think they should, they have the cameras, they should start fining people


              @dinna89: None that I know of yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is.


          where it says keep left unless overtaking

          I actually notice less of those signs these days

          • +2 votes

            @pharkurnell: Less of those signs are around, but the blanket rule is Keep left unless overtaking at speeds of 80km/hr unless overtaking. At least thats the road rule in NSW

            • +11 votes

              @hmac: More than 80kmh and not equal to.
              Some people miss this.

              • +5 votes

                @dasher86: <= 80km/h unless specifically signed to keep left in an 80 zone, no need to keep left.
                => 81km/h no sign needed as it is law to keep left.


          how is it illegal? In that it is against the law.

      • +4 votes

        Depends on the state. QLD law wording allows the honking in this case to be legal.

        Also are you seriously claiming some semi-obscure law about noise is equivalent to a crucial multi-lane driving law????



          I'm too tired to look it up, but I have always been led to believe it is against the law in Qld. If it isn't, if honking becomes a thing, I'll be campaigning to bring in the law.We do not want to go down the path of tolerating unnecessary honking.


            @SlickMick: A driver must not use, or allow to be used, a horn, or similar warning device, fitted to or in the driver’s vehicle unless—
            (a) it is necessary to use the horn, or warning device, to warn other road users or animals of the approach or position of the vehicle; or
            (b) the horn, or warning device, is being used as part of an anti-theft device, or an alcohol ignition interlock, fitted to the vehicle.
            Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

            So you can claim (a), you were warning the oblivious driver idling in right-hand-lane of your approach, so they can gtfo since they aren't overtaking.

            As always, YMMV, and cops can issue fines for whatever they feel like, and it'd be up to you to fight it.

      • +1 vote

        It is not illegal to toot when there is a danger. A car in the right lane on a highway doing 10km/hr under the limit in fair driving conditions…. could be argued to be dangerous.

        • +1 vote

          yeah you could try your luck in court with that I guess

      • +2 votes

        Yeah I agree with you, dangerous honking should be a $250 fine at least. Even more if it's a loud horn and it could startle you while scrolling Instagram causing you to crash your car.

      • +1 vote

        Calling out/standing up to illegal moves is the best move IMO. Obviously don't drive like an idiot, but honking when someone is doing something wrong or you keep doing the right thing (specifically when regarding right of way) is the most helpful thing you can do for any driver that actually wants to drive well.

        I know for me the latter has helped me better understand a couple of spots/rules.

    • +4 votes

      Worth noting that the law applies for roads where the limit is more than 80km/h in NSW.

      Can be fined up to $325 and receive a two demerit point penalty for this offence.

      • +2 votes

        To be honest, i would not mind one bit if police got the cctv vision and fine people who keep right on the motorways

        • +1 vote

          the nanny state haters will hate on me, but I like the idea of auto tickets being generated for every detectable infringement. Might improve the quality of drivers still with licenses, and thus make driving more pleasant for the rest of us.

          Why should there need to be a warning sign that these is a speed camera in the area. Maybe just one of that light-up signs saying "Your bill is in the mail"

          • +1 vote

            @SlickMick: Speeding I'd prefer not. I rather have people looking up on the road, rather constantly looking up than down. If let say above 10 to 20 then maybe but if it within 10 I should be let it go or shown some leniency. Tbh they should lower speeding fines from 0 to 10 to 20. But dramatically increase anything between 20k to 30k to $1000 and 30 to 40 to $2000 and anything above 40km 5k.

            That why things like tail gating or staying in the left bothers me a lot more. You are looking up but you are being a dangerous driver. You are fully aware you are being an idiot.


              @cheapo123: totally agree. Qld seems to have realised that 40 zones around schools are dangerous. It's always been my complaint that it's the very worst time to be making people watch the speedo. Qld Transport are surveying people, and seem to be leaning towards just flashing lights warning of a school zone, but no 40 limit. Assuming suficient sensible people do the survey.


      I will flash as it's seen as less aggressive as honking.

      Sometimes people are daydreaming and move over.

      If they don't, I'll honk (hard) when I overtake. Sometimes they get the message but it's a bit (profanity) late as I've just overtaken them (I'll flip them off).

    • -8 votes

      More than likely you also overtake in excess of the posted speed limit. 99% of the time I see drivers getting upset about a blocked right lane is not because they want to legally overtake, but because they want to drive 20kph above the limit. It's for people like you that I would drive in the right lane on purpose, sticking directly next to someone in the left lane, ensuring no room to overtake.

      • -3 votes

        Then you are id*ot

        • -3 votes

          And you need to learn to use English properly.

      • -2 votes

        There is is. There's always someone who thinks thier doing a community service blocking someone from speeding. I want to watch when it's a police car behind.

        I'm sorry I wasted my negs on others, this deserves one so much.


        And that’s how you end up in a road rage incident getting your car rammed, your face smashed or shot at.

    • -3 votes

      Honk me and watch me slow right down