New road rules baffles everybody

New road rules baffle Australia's drivers

MELBOURNE had the hook turn - a unique city-only driving manoeuvre - but that wasn't enough to bamboozle drivers.

Victoria's traffic authority VicRoads has taken it a step further. Introducing the P-turn, an equally troubling concept for road users to wrap their heads around.

The new rule was implemented at the notorious intersection at Hoddle and Johnston streets in Collingwood, just north of the Melbourne CBD. The intersection is known to be bumper-to-bumper during peak hour.

In a bid to ease congestion, the P-turn asks drivers who want to turn right from Hoddle St onto Johnston St to pass through the intersection and perform a U-turn across three lanes before turning left onto Johnston Street.

Coming the other way, drivers wanting to turn right onto Hoddle St first have to turn left, then perform the U-turn and travel through the intersection.

The P-turn has come about as part of the state government's "Streamlining Hoddle Street" project. Newly installed signs and road markings will guide drivers and a new set of lights has also been installed. The measure is being coupled with restrictions on roadside parking.

But insurance and roadside assistance specialists RACV said the P-turn is problematic.

"The term itself is of US origin and makes sense if you drive on the right-hand side of the road. But we don't, which makes it confusing," the organisation said in a statement.

"It certainly doesn't look like a 'P' when you drive on the left side of the road. We've been calling it the 'remote right turn' because it better describes what a driver has to do."

The group claims one of the "problems" with the P-turn is that it "can be confusing to new or infrequent users of the intersection".

"The idea that to turn right you need to go past the location and complete a U-turn ... could be confusing. On congested roads, a driver may be in the right lane to turn right then find they need to be in the left lane to turn left."

Have you tried the new P-turn?
Have you tried the new P-turn?

Chris Miller from VicRoads said the rollout of the new turn had gone smoothly.

"I've never seen Hoddle St flowing quite so nicely," he told 3AW. "We used to have people queued up in that right lane trying to turn right on Johnston."

A number of drivers agreed, taking to social media to express thanks for the smoother traffic flow. But many were sceptical.

"I have been thinking about the P-turn on Hoddle St all week and it still genuinely makes no sense," journalist Denham Sadler wrote.

Belinda Barnet said it had taken her "a decade to master" the hook turn and "you will need a PhD in mathematics to do" the P-turn.

Lauren Tomasi wrote: "I still can't fathom the concept of a hook turn, and now Melbourne is introducing the P-turn? I can't see this ending well for me."

VicRoads says the measure is necessary to help commuters get to and from work on the busiest arterial road in Melbourne - one used by 33,000 people every day.

The Victorian government is spending $60 million to upgrade the intersections at Eastern Freeway and Hoddle St, Johnston and Hoddle St, Brunton Avenue and Punt Rd, and Swan St and Punt Rd.

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