Alex Cracknell


Proof that no-one knows how to merge properly

Proof that no-one knows how to merge properly

It seems like the easiest thing in the world ­– yet how many times have you heard the irate complaint: “No-one knows how to merge in this country!”

Well, a recent online quiz from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads has shown that plaintive cry might hold more than a seed of truth – as a staggering number of people got it completely wrong.  

The Main Roads department posted the image shown here and asked drivers the simple question: Which car has the right of way when two lanes become one?

The image clearly depicts two vehicles driving in adjacent lanes separated with a broken white line.

The orange car on the left-hand side is slightly ahead of the blue car, as the left-hand lane ends parallel to a “form one lane” sign.

“The two cars need to merge into one lane,” asks the quiz. “Who goes first?”

Buckle up, because here are some of the responses.

Some respondents were convinced the car with its own lane directly ahead had right of way. “Blue one because it’s for overtaking and that yellow one will just slow down blue car and flow of traffic,” one said.

“Blue car, orange needs to give way to your right!” another person wrote.

“Orange has to give way to the blue car since it is merging to the right lane. Before filtering, it is the orange car's duty to check proper clearance and give sufficient signal time for the blue car to react,” another wrote. While a fourth driver described it as “the most confusing rule of all”.

But most insisted the car travelling ahead had the right of way. The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads gave clarity as debate continued to rage.

“When lines of traffic merge, you must give way to any vehicle that's ahead of you,” same the response. “Lines of traffic refers to adjacent rows of vehicles that don't have a lane separation line between them.

“Here the blue car must give way to the orange.”

So how did you go? Are you on the same (correct) page as the Qld department, or are you likely to risk the wrong move – and maybe cop some righteous abuse – next time you get behind the wheel?

IMAGE: Qld Gov