Why Does Melbourne Have Hook Turns?
Hook turns are a particularity of traffic rules in Melbourne, and they can confuse people coming from somewhere else, as well as locals getting their driver’s license. To better understand what hook turns are and how to navigate through them, let’s explain what they are, why they exist, and how to get used to them as a driver.
What Is a Hook Turn?
Normally, when vehicles have to turn in an intersection, they do it from the innermost side of the road. In certain cities, hook turns are used to avoid the congestion of traffic inside the intersection, and cars turning right are required to use the outermost lane and go around the rest of the traffic before going on the perpendicular lane.
In many places, cyclists use hook turns to protect themselves from traffic. In Melbourne, hook turns were introduced as road rules, in order to facilitate the traffic of trams and keep the center of the road free for them. More on the history of hook turns later in the article.
The History of Hook Turns in Melbourne
Melbourne is the only city in the world that legally uses hook turns to make tram traffic smooth. These special turning traffic rules were introduced as early as the 1930s, with Graham Currie (director of Public Transport Research Group of the Monash University) placing them even earlier in history than that.
How to Navigate Through Hook Turns
Here is how to navigate through a left-hand lane hook turn in left-handed traffic, according to VicRoads presenting official traffic regulations:
- An intersection that requires vehicles to perform hook turns when turning right is marked with hook turn signs that read “Right turn from left only”.When cars approach and enter the intersection, the drivers should already be aware of this requirement.
- The turning vehicle begins the maneuver from the nearest point to the left of the road, when the traffic lights are green. If turning lanes are needed, they have to wait for the next green light.
- It positions itself as close as possible to parallel to the road it will turn on, without going over any marked foot crossing.
- When the lights turn green on the road it enters, the vehicle is allowed to go forward on it.
Hook turns make tram traffic smoother, allowing trams to save time as they cross intersections. In Melbourne, hook turn intersections are in the center of the city, to decongest the extensive network of tram lines that serves the city.
As a result, the traffic flows smoother, accidents are avoided and millions of dollars are saved by making public transport more efficient.
If you are nervous about driving through Melbourne and mastering the hook, left-hand turn, don’t hesitate to contact LTrent. We have our own method of teaching safe driving and our instructors are professionals and excellent navigators through Melbourne.