Intersections – Turning Right | K53 Blog

If a vehicle is turning right at an intersection, and another vehicle approaching from the front is also turning to its right, how should the two vehicles pass each other within the intersection? Which one should give way to the other?

Should they go past each other before starting to turn, or are they allowed to turn across each other’s path, passenger-side to passenger-side?

Option 1: Driver-side to driver-side
turning behind each other

Option 2: Passenger-side to passenger side
turning in front of each other



I was asked what the rules are in regard to this situation. Here are my comments.
 

Regulation 302: Procedure when turning

This is the actual wording of Regulation 302 of the National Road Traffic Act as it relates to this particular situation:

“…and shall not effect such turning unless he or she can do so without obstructing or endangering other traffic and –

(a) if he or she is driving a vehicle on the roadway of a public road which roadway is intended for traffic in both directions –

(i) he or she shall steer such vehicle as near as circumstances may permit to the immediate left of the middle of the roadway on which he or she is travelling; and

(ii) where the turn is at an intersection, he or she shall not encroach on the right half of the roadway into or out of which he or she intends to turn, except in the intersection itself, but shall in any event pass to the left of any traffic island in such intersection or comply with the direction conveyed by any appropriate road traffic sign;”
 

Comments

  • There is no rule of the road that states on which side two vehicles (approaching each other from the front) must pass each other in the intersection, when both are turning right in opposite directions.
  • A key phrase in the rule about not encroaching onto the right side of the roadway is the wording: ‘except in the intersection itself‘. So, technically speaking, drivers are not violating any rule of the road if they pass each other in the intersection passenger-side to passenger-side (Option 2 in the diagrams above), provided they do not obstruct other traffic moving from any direction.
  • By turning in that way, neither vehicle will be obstructing the path of the other by turning across its original path. However:
    • If the other vehicle is a large truck or a bus, be very cautious as it may need extra space to make the turn.
    • Also, keep a good lookout ahead, as oncoming vehicles may be obscured from your view by the large vehicle. If you do not have a clear view of the road ahead before turning, don’t risk starting the turn. Wait until your view of the road ahead is clear and you can see that it is definitely safe to make the turn.
  • Some intersections have guidelines to assist drivers in positioning their vehicles while turning, and these may indicate that drivers should pass to the right of each other within the intersection.
  • In this (official) diagram below, drivers coming from 12 o’clock in the two right-turn lanes, at the top pf the diagram, are guided by the broken white guidelines to pass each other so that other vehicle/s turning in the opposite direction from 6 o’clock will pass them on their left (passenger) side.
  • Likewise, those drivers coming from 6 o’clock (bottom of the diagram) and turning right are guided to turn with the other right-turing vehicles passing on their left – i.e. passenger-side to passenger-side.

 

Conclusion

It is both legal and practical for vehicles to pass each other passenger-side to passenger-side when in the intersection itself and turning right, dependent on the actual layout of the intersection and any road markings, and definitely while doing so in compliance with the rules of safety, not obstructing traffic, etc., as spelled out in the regulation for turning right.
 

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