A Closer Look At The Regulations For U-Turns At Traffic Lights

By Michelle

Knowing and following the road rules is the way to maintain road safety. Driving schools teach you the state-wise U-turn rules and how to follow them responsibly.

When learning to drive from a driving school, you will learn various techniques that are a must for driving safely on the road. You will also learn the rules and regulations that govern driving like maintaining a safe distance, regulations for u-turns and three-point turns, parking rules, etc. Are you wondering why knowing these rules is so important?

Traffic rules and regulations are made to ensure the safety of the drivers as well as the pedestrians. When the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians follow the same set of rules maintaining order on the road becomes easier. Hence, anyone learning to drive must understand the significance of these regulations and follow them strictly.

State governments also impose fines and punishments on those who fail to follow these rules to instill their significance in the drivers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the regulations for U-turns in particular. Let us learn more about this technique and the regulations associated with it.

General Regulations Regarding U-Turns in Australia

In Australia, driving rules and regulations often vary from state to state. For U-turns too, the regulations have some specific differences in a few states. However, there is a common ruleset for U-turns which is followed all across the country. These default rules are legal and not following them is often a punishable offense. A U-turn is a half-circle or 180-degree turn you take to go back to the way from which you were coming. So, when making a U-turn, you might disrupt the traffic in your lane as well as the next lane. That’s why, in Australia, you’re permitted to make a U-turn only if:

  • You can see the approaching traffic.
  • You can safely make the turn without obstructing the traffic.

Drivers in Australia are not allowed to take a U-turn at intersections with traffic signals unless there’s a sign permitting it. However, intersections without traffic signals permit taking U-turns unless a sign states otherwise.

Also, U-turns are not allowed across children’s crossings, pedestrian crossings, marked foot crossings, and level crossings. Moreover, you cannot take a U-turn in the following scenarios:

  • Over a single intact dividing line on the road. 
  • Over a double intact dividing line on the road. 
  • Over double lines with an intact line on your side but a broken line on the other side.

These are the default rules that are followed all over Australia and breaking these rules is a crime leading to fines and other punishments.                                                                        

Variations to the Rules According to State and Territory

There are a few states that have variations in the default rules. Here are some states that have some differences in their regulations for U-turns:

For Victoria:

  • One major difference in Victoria’s road rules is that it permits U-turns even at intersections with signals. Unless a sign states ‘No U-turn’, taking a U-turn is legally allowed almost everywhere. You can take a U-turn even at breaks in the median strip unless a sign says otherwise.
  • Another major difference is that drivers making u-turns need not give way to other drivers entering from the shoulder, footpath, nature strip, or other road-related area. This rule has been applicable since November 2020.

For South Australia:

  • In South Australia, you are not allowed to take a U-turn on a one-way road.

For New South Wales:

  • U-turn is prohibited at all traffic lights unless there is a U-turn Permitted sign allowing it.

For Western Australia:

  • U-turn is prohibited on freeways including on and off ramps.

Driving schools in particular states can teach you the different rules of that state and also teach you how to follow them responsibly.

Common Signage for U-Turns

There are mainly two road signs related to U-turns in Australia. These are:

  • No U-turn Signs
  • U-turn Permitted Signs

These signs warn the drivers what to expect if they are thinking of attempting a U-turn on the road. They also help the drivers prepare themselves in case they need to stop or if they need to go ahead with a turn. These signs are the same throughout the country unlike the road rules associated with U-turns. A good Sydney driving school or equivalent in other cities will always teach you the basics of the signs before letting you drive a vehicle.

Penalties and Demerits

As we mentioned earlier, not following the road signs can lead to more than just accidents or collisions. Breaking the rules for U-turns is considered illegal and is a punishable offense. Taking a U-turn where it is not permitted and not giving way to others when taking the turn are two offenses where you get a penalty fine as well as demerit points. However, the amount of penalty and the number of demerits you get varies from state to state.


The road rules in Australia vary from state to state. Knowing the U-turn regulations of your state is important to develop safe and responsible driving habits. A good driving school like Onroad Driving Education can help you understand your state’s driving rules and incorporate them into your driving properly. Safe driving is every driver’s responsibility. No matter if you’re a novice or an experienced driver, knowing the road rules and following them is the way to maintain road safety.

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