WA motorists urged to mind their merging

11 May 2016

SGIO is reminding Western Australian drivers to take care and be vigilant when merging, with new research revealing merging is a common headache for many Australian drivers.

The insurer’s research showed that more than half (54 per cent) of Australian drivers admitted to having had trouble merging, and over three quarters (83 per cent) claimed to have experienced another driver’s poor merging technique*.

SGIO Head of Research, Robert McDonald, is urging drivers to be careful when merging.

“Based on our claims data, most merging collisions we see are where drivers have tried to merge with traffic while travelling too slowly, or have completely stopped in the merging lane. This not only disrupts the flow of traffic, but can result in cars being rear-ended,” Mr McDonald said.

“Road rules for merging are quite straightforward – when two lines of traffic become one and there are no marked lines, a driver must give way to any vehicle that is ahead of their own. If a vehicle wants to move from one marked lane of traffic into another, they must give way to the lane of traffic they are moving into.”

The SGIO research further revealed that around two thirds (65 per cent) of Australian drivers always allow others to merge, with just over one third (35 per cent) sometimes or never letting other drivers merge.

When having experienced another driver’s bad merging manoeuvre, almost half (43 per cent) admitted to responding negatively by either yelling, beeping their horn, using hand gestures, or tailgating the other driver.

To avoid merging mishaps, Mr McDonald offers the following tips to drivers:

  • Merge at a similar speed to the traffic you are merging with – this will make merging easier and assist with traffic flow;
  • Avoid stopping in the merging lane, particularly when entering freeways, as this can make merging more difficult;
  • When turning left into a multi-lane road that has a merging lane, use it – don’t wait to cross over to the lane you want to be in;
  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots before merging and use your indicators;
  • Never merge into another lane by crossing a solid line or where there is a painted traffic island;
  • Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you to avoid clipping the car when merging;
  • Be considerate in heavy traffic and allow other cars to merge.

SGIO has also released a list of the merging locations where collisions most frequently occur across Western Australia.

Top five merging collision locations for Western Australia:
1. Albany Highway in Cannington
2. Nicholson Road in Canning Vale
3. Mitchell Freeway in Perth
4. Walcott Street in Mount Lawley
5. Kwinana Freeway in Como

“We’re urging drivers to take extra care when passing through these locations. Many of these are popular routes on both weekdays and weekends, so it’s important that drivers remain calm and courteous when in a hurry or heavy traffic,” Mr McDonald said.

*Based on a survey of over 1000 Australians by Pure Profile Research in January 2016.

Media hotline number: 02 9292 9742