If you’re heading to Victoria, there is one unusual road rule that you need to know about. The "hook turn" is a right turn from a left hand lane that cars may only make in Victoria. Read on below to find out why hook turns exist, and how to perform this rare traffic manoeuvre.

Hook turns were introduced in Melbourne as early as the 1930s, as a way to facilitate tram movement. These turns can save trams up to 15.64 seconds per intersection, adding up to a considerable number of minutes per dayi. That’s an impressive feat for a city with the world’s largest network of tramsii.

Hook turns are used by bicycles around Australia, and are also used by buses in two specific Adelaide turns. But you won’t see cars making them anywhere else in Australia.

How to Perform a Hook Turn

A hook turn is a right-hand turn made from the left-hand lane. You can only make a hook turn at intersections with signs like this:

According to the Victorian road authority, here are the steps you must take to make a hook turniii:

  1. Approach and enter the intersection from the far left hand lane and have your right indicator on
  2. Move forward to the other side of the intersection, keeping as near as possible to the left of the intersection and clear of any pedestrian crossings
  3. Stay stopped until the traffic lights on the road you are turning into have turned green
  4. Turn right into the road.

It’s worth committing these steps to memory before you start driving in Melbourne, as turning improperly can earn you up to 2 demerit points, and a fine of up to $330iv.

Laws and penalties may have changed since this article was created.

i Timeout, Time Out investigates: What's the deal with hook turns?, viewed April 2020, https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/things-to-do/time-out-investigates-whats-the-deal-with-hook-turns

ii ABC News, Matt Canavan says hook turns are a 'stupid way' to manage traffic. Are they?, viewed April 2020, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-15/fact-file-hook-turns-melbourne-matt-canvan-adani/11404870

iii Vicroads, Turning, viewed April 2020, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/turning

iv Vicroads, Fines table 29 October, viewed April 2020, https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/-/media/files/documents/safety-and-road-rules/feesfinespenalties/fines-table-29-oct-2019.ashx?la=en&hash=B15770432247D0AA9623925F30E7B77D


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