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05 April, 2013 - Peta Daniels Peta Daniels

Keep Left Unless Overtaking

Are you a culprit for driving in the right hand lane because you prefer this lane over the left one when venturing along a multi-lane road? If you are accessing a road with multiple lanes, it is extremely important to note the road rule, 'Keep Left Unless Overtaking'.

So why is this ruling so important to our road safety? There are two significant aspects and they are, it helps to keep traffic flowing smoothly and it provides emergency vehicles the ability to easily navigate traffic.

Here are a few helpful tips on when keeping left is required.

If the signed speed limit is 90 km per hour or more on a multi-lane road, you should only access the right lane if you need to:


  • overtake


  • navigate away from a dangerous obstacle


  • make a right hand turn


  • make a permitted U-turn


  • manoeuvre around traffic congestion.



Keep in mind that the above criteria also applies for when travelling on an 80 km per hour multi-lane road that displays a 'Keep Left Unless Overtaking' sign.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has developed a short video to illustrate this road rule.



Remember, safety needs to take priority over our preference for which lane we like to drive in. Also, if you are incorrectly utilising the right hand lane, you can be fined and incur a loss of demerit points.

Be courteous of fellow motorists, don't unnecessarily occupy road space, and drive safe!