Highways / Freeways Lessons Note

Be careful when driving on freeways and motorways as speeds are high, traffic may be heavy, and drivers may be stressed.

Freeways don’t charge the motorist to use the road, hence the name.

How to enter a freeway

  • Adjust speed on the entry ramp to match the speed of the traffic
  • Indicate your intentions clearly and in good time
  • Give way to freeway traffic
  • Find a large enough safe gap
  • Merge smoothly into the freeway traffic
  • Maintain a safe following distance on the motorway

Make sure that you don’t get stuck at the end of the entry ramp as both you and drivers behind you will be forced to enter at a much lower speed than the motorway traffic, which is very dangerous.

How to drive on the motorway

In general, you should drive in the left lane as the right lane is an overtaking lane. Don’t drive in the right lane unless:

  • overtaking
  • avoiding an obstruction
  • travelling in congested traffic

If the motorway has 3 lanes and the left lane traffic is moving slower than you:

  1. Use the middle lane
  2. Pass the slow vehicles
  3. Return to the left lane when you can do so safely

General motorway tips

  • You must signal an adequate time in advance before you change lanes and give way to vehicles already in the lane.
  • Always check your mirrors, the blind spots and signal before you overtake.
  • Never stop on a motorway unless there is an emergency. If you must stop - stop only in the emergency lane, breakdown lane or shoulder, and use your hazard warning lights.
  • Don’t travel in the emergency lane unless there is an emergency.
  • If safe, change lanes or adjust speed so that vehicles from an on-ramp can enter the motorway traffic safely.
If you must stop - stop only in the emergency lane, breakdown lane or shoulder, and use your hazard warning lights

How to exit a motorway

  • Look out for signs indicating that you are approaching an exit
  • Move to the lane that is closest to the exit well in advance
  • Indicate your intention sufficiently early
  • Check your speed to make sure that you are not going too fast to exit safely

Be aware that travelling at high speeds can make it difficult to judge your speed once you slow down or move off the motorway. You will most likely think that you are travelling much slower than you are.

You sometimes miss your intended exit, and you should then continue travelling until the next exit. Never cross the median strip, make a U-turn or reverse on the motorway!


You’re required to pay a toll to use some motorways. If so, signs will alert you to the toll requirement in advance. The tolled section begins at the ‘Start tollway’ sign. You will have the opportunity to leave the road through an exit before the tollway if you don’t want to enter.

Freeway signs

Start Freeway/Freeway Entrance Exit End Freeway 1 km Emergency Median Crossing

Australian route markers

National highway marker National route marker State route marker Tourist driver marker Alphanumeric route marker AlphaNumeric route marker
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