Give way rules

Contents

Duty to give way

There are many different traffic rules, road signs and road markings that regulate who has the duty to give way.

These are the most common situations when you must give way:


The road sign in the picture means that you have the duty to give way

When you have a duty to give way it is very important that you clearly communicate your intention to give way by slowing down well in advance, and if necessary, stopping completely.

If you brake hard just before a give way junction, you have failed to give way because you did not slow down or stop in time. The same is true if you try to stop before a give way junction, but slide onto the intersecting road due to slippery road conditions.

Your fellow road users must always be able to feel confident that you will give way when you have a duty to do so.

After you have slowed down or stopped to give way, you may only proceed when you can do so without endangering or obstructing other road users.


You must always adapt your speed to the road surface conditions so that you can slow down or stop before give way junctions

Duty to stop

If the road sign Stop is posted before a junction, you must stop completely and give way before proceeding. This applies regardless of whether there is any traffic on the intersecting road or not. The rules are designed in this way to ensure that drivers who have a duty to stop really do so and check traffic both ways before proceeding.


When you have a duty to stop you always have to stop completely and give way

When you have a duty to stop, you should do so at the stop line or, if there is no line, just before, but not on, the intersecting road – where you can be clearly seen and have a clear view. You may only proceed when you can do so without endangering or obstructing other road users.

If you do not stop and give way when you have a duty to do so you risk a fine, and getting your driver's licence revoked.

Note that both police officers' signals and traffic signals apply before road signs. If you approach a junction and a police officer signals for you to keep driving, or if a traffic light posted next to the junction is green, you should keep driving, even if there is a Stop sign, or other priority sign, posted next to the junction.

Priority signs

Give way

Indicates that you have a duty to give way to vehicles on an intersecting road or thoroughfare.

Stop

Indicates that you have a duty to stop before entering an intersecting road, thoroughfare or track area.

Pedestrian crossing

Indicates a pedestrian crossing. If the pedestrian crossing is unsupervised, that is, not equipped with traffic signals, you must give way to pedestrians who are crossing or about to cross.

Priority road

States that the road you are driving is a priority road. Traffic from intersecting roads always has a duty to give way.

End of priority road

States that a priority road ends and that other traffic rules apply, for example the duty to give way. Unless otherwise stated, the priority to the right rule applies.

Priority for oncoming vehicles

Indicates that you must give way to oncoming vehicles.

Priority over oncoming vehicles

Indicates that oncoming vehicles have to give way.

Cycle crossing

Indicates a cycle crossing. If the cycle crossing is unsupervised, that is, not equipped with traffic signals, you have a duty to give way to cyclists and moped riders who are on or are about to enter the cycle crossing.

All-roads give way and all-roads stop

Below certain priority signs there are additional panels that indicate that all road users have a duty to give way or stop. If another road user has stopped on another road that also connects to the junction, the one who stopped first should also be allowed to enter the junction first.

There is no law that governs who has priority in this situation, therefore it is important that all road users show mutual consideration and, if possible, make eye contact to avoid misunderstandings.


All-roads give way


All-roads stop

The priority to the right rule

When two roads (where neither is a priority road) cross each other and nothing else regulates the duty to give way at the junction, the priority to the right rule applies. Priority to the right is a right-of-way system, in which the driver of a vehicle is required to give way to vehicles approaching from the right at junctions.

The priority to the right rule also applies when two vehicles' paths cross each other in open areas, such as in parking lots and petrol stations.

The priority to the right rule also applies at junctions with private roads, if no road sign indicates otherwise.

Junction

This road sign is sometimes posted next to junctions where the priority to the right rule applies.

A common misconception is that a vehicle driving on a "larger" road does not have to give way to vehicles driving on a "smaller" road. This is not the case, if nothing else regulates the duty to give way at the junction, the priority to the right applies – regardless of the size of the roads.


Priority to the right applies in this case as no traffic signals or road signs regulate the duty to give way at the junction in the picture

Priority to the right does not apply:

Examples

Junction

Explanation

Car B must give way to car A, as it is approaching from the right.

The priority to the right rule applies at T-junctions as well. Car A must give way to car B, as it is approaching from the right.

 

Car A must give way to car B, as it is approaching from the right, and car C must in turn give way to car A, as it is approaching from the right.

However, in this particular case, the obstruction rule applies before the priority to the right rule. Car A is not allowed to enter the junction and obstruct car C, while waiting for car B to pass. This means that car A must stop before the junction and let both car B and car C pass.

Junctions

There is a lot to consider when entering a junction, especially if you are going to turn at the junction. Even if you have a green light, you must remain attentive and prepared to stop and give way to vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders.

The turning rule

Whether you turn right or left at a junction, you must always give way to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders that are crossing, or are about to cross, the road you are turning into.

If you turn left at a junction you must also give way to all oncoming traffic.


When turning at a junction you must always give way to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders that are crossing, or are about to cross, the road you are turning into

Note that large vehicles obscure your view and can conceal other vehicles behind them. If a bus approaches from the opposite direction at a junction and turns left (your right), while you are also turning left, you must be attentive and prepared to give way to oncoming traffic that may be concealed behind the bus.


Large vehicles can conceal other vehicles behind them

Examples

Junction

Explanation

Car B is turning left at the junction and must give way to car A.

The turning rule also applies when the oncoming traffic is turning right. Car B is turning left at the junction and must give way to car A.

The obstruction rule

When approaching a junction you must adapt your driving so that you do not have to stop where you would obstruct cross-traffic. Always stop well in advance if there is a risk of this happening.

If there is a queue before a junction, you must stop before the junction and proceed only when the queue has cleared enough for you to pass the entire junction. This applies even if you drive on a priority road, where traffic from intersecting roads has a duty to give way.

When driving in queues you must also stop before pedestrian and cycle crossings so as not to obstruct pedestrians and cyclists that want to cross the road.


When driving in queues you have to stop before junctions, pedestrian crossings and cycle crossing so that you do not have to stop where you obstruct cross-traffic, pedestrians and cyclists

The exit rule

The exit rule is a give way rule that applies before the priority to the right rule. The exit rule states that you must give way when exiting certain places, such as parking lots.

When exiting a parking lot, or other place where the exit rule applies, you must therefore give way to all road users, even those approaching from the left.

The exit rule applies when exiting a:

The exit rule applies after crossing a:

The bus rule

Always be on alert when passing stationary buses. On roads where the speed limit is 50 km/h or lower, you must always slow down or stop completely if the bus driver indicates their intention to move off the bus stop. If the road has several lanes in the same direction of travel, this rule applies only if you are driving in the right-hand lane.

On roads where the speed limit exceeds 50 km/h, it is the other way around: the bus driver must give way.

Regardless of the road's speed limitation, you must always pass stationary buses with great care and leave plenty of sideways clearance. You must always be prepared to stop, even if the bus driver has a duty to give way, as pedestrians might step onto the road in front of the bus, where your view is obscured.


Always pass stationary buses with great care

Obstacles

If an obstacle on or next to the road makes it difficult, dangerous or impossible to proceed at the same time as another vehicle, and nothing else regulates the duty to give way, it is the driver with the obstacle on his or her side of the road that should stop and give way.