The little-known Aussie road rule leaving drivers in tears: 'Red hot mess'

An Aussie TikToker has expressed his amazement after witnessing a bizarre practice which is rarely seen anywhere.

Corey speaking to his followers on TikTok (left) busy road in Melbourne (right).
Corey Brown shared his confusion about the rare Aussie road rule and it turned out that many drivers were in fierce agreement. Source: TikTok/Getty

An Aussie has shared his shock after experiencing a road rule rarely seen anywhere else in the world — and he's not alone. Visitors to the one state capital where the rule exists said they've been "brought to tears" by the "confusing" intersection feature many encounter for the first time when visiting Australia.

TikToker Corey Brown, who recently moved to Melbourne after living in Spain for seven years, said he had never come across the concept of a "hook turn", where drivers have to move into a left-hand lane to turn right, cutting across several lanes of traffic, until moving to the Victorian capital.

In a video posted online, the Aussie questioned whether people in the rest of the world would have ever even heard of the manoeuvre and says that people planning a visit to Melbourne have "no idea what is waiting for you". Many in his comments agreed, with one saying it "sparked their anxiety" and several people revealing that they kept driving straight even when they needed to turn to avoid them.

The “weird” move, which prevents vehicles holding up trams travelling through the middle of the roadway, is seen in a few countries including New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan for bikes, motorcycles and cars, but with 49 across Melbourne, the city is the world’s hook turn capital.

“Do people in Melbourne realise that no one outside of Victoria, I imagine, even knows what the f**k of a hook turn is?” Brown began his video.

Questioning whether the practice should be included on interstate driving tests, he said it looked like a “red hot mess” and was “shocking” to visitors and tourists.

“Does this happen in other countries?” Brown wondered. “It’s just rare. I guess it works, but it’s confusing."

Figures from Monash University’s Public Transport Research Group estimated each hook turn saved a tram up to 15 seconds on its journey, and helped to reduce congestion as 38 per cent of motorists will try to avoid them where possible.

While in Australia the move is now unique to Victoria, hook turns were once commonplace in many Aussie cities which had trams, including Sydney and Adelaide, until the 1930s before they were phased out in favour of turning from the right lanes.

However, as trams have consistently remained in Melbourne since they were introduced in 1885 – long before motor vehicles became popular – the road network was built to accommodate them, making hook turns a common sight in the city.

Trams in Melbourne (left) Corey explaining hook turns on TikTok (right).
An Aussie TikToker who recently moved to Melbourne has expressed horror at the city's use of 'hook turns'. Source: TikTok/Getty

RACV's head of policy James Williams, told Yahoo News Australia, “To complete a hook turn at a ‘Right Turn from Left Only’ signed intersection, vehicles will proceed into the intersection from the left lane, turning on their right indicator and waiting in the marked area until the traffic light turns green on the road to the right,” Williams told Yahoo.

“This will be after both trams and other vehicles have progressed through the intersection. The waiting vehicle/s can then proceed to turn right.

“Only vehicles that can safely fit within the left-hand hook turn lanes, without obstructing other traffic, pedestrians, or remaining stationary over a pedestrian crossing, can enter the intersection at one time.”

Other Aussies were just as perplexed by the rule, with one saying they had to “pull over and cry” after experiencing their first hook turn.

"A hook turn is sick and twisted. I almost had a panic attack when I was in Melbourne for the first time down from NSW," another driver said.

Corey explaining hook turns (left) and a tram in Melbourne (right).
Hook turns are now only seen in Melbourne in Australia, but they were common in other Aussie cities until the 1930s. Source: TikTok/Getty

A third Aussie added: “I drove in Melbourne in February and I was screaming in the car driving through the city. I had no warning!! (I'm from Perth).”

“I was driving in the city today (rarely drive there) and had to plan my trip so I could avoid the hook turns. I’m a Victorian,” another said.

However, many of those who live in the city described the move as "easy", with one saying: “If you’re a Melburnian, it just makes sense.”

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