The Melbourne Hook Turn

A picture of a classic Melbourne tram and cars
Christopher MacKechnie

If you plan to drive in Melbourne, watch out for the "hook turn" signs — and be prepared to turn right from the leftmost lane.

Weird? Some drivers think so, and some go out of their way to avoid Melbourne streets with marked hook turns.

One problem... that you normally turn right from the rightmost lane of your traffic flow.

So when you catch sight of the Melbourne hook turn sign, you need to move quickly to the leftmost lane, an often impossible task when the traffic is heavy.

Be prepared

Generally, hook turns must be made when turning right when you're sharing the road with tramlines to your immediate right. There must be a hook turn sign just ahead of you at the intersection.

If you're on a street without tramlines beside you, you'd be avoiding hook turns and would turn right from the right lane of your traffic flow.


If you're new to hook turns, yes, it can be both confusing and exasperating, and you're also likely to miss your turn if you're caught in the wrong lane.

Doing the hook

Once you need to turn right and you see the hook turn sign, move as quickly as you can to the leftmost lane.

On the green light, move forward on this lane to a point where you can turn right into the correct lane on the road you wish to enter.

At this point, you're blocking traffic from the left. But that's all right because they're stopped at the red light.

When this red light turns green, turn right quickly into the street you want to go. The stopped traffic that was earlier on your left then follows you on the green light.


Well, maybe not for new visitors to Melbourne.

Watch for the hook turn sign illustrated on this page for when a hook turn is necessary for a right turn. And follow the steps outlined here for doing the hook.

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