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New Zealand Road Code Test

Key driving skills - Giving signals

Giving signals

Signals enable you to tell other road users that you are changing your direction or position on the road. Because of this, knowing when and how to give signals is a very important part of being a safe driver.

Drivers usually signal using their indicators. However, you may sometimes need to use hand signals, if your indicators can't be seen.

When to give signals

You must signal for at least three seconds before you:

  • turn left or right
  • move towards the left or right (for example, when you pull back into the left lane after passing another vehicle)
  • stop or slow down
  • move out:
    • from a parking space
    • to pass another vehicle
    • to change lanes.


Don't assume that other drivers have seen your signals.

Picture of signalling when turning right

Signalling when turning right

For information about signalling at roundabouts, see Giving way at roundabouts.

Using your indicators

Your indicators are usually flashing yellow lights on both sides of the front and rear of your vehicle. They signal your intentions to other road users.

Use your left indicator when you are:

  • turning left
  • moving towards the left (for example, when you pull back into the left lane after passing another vehicle, or returning to the kerb).
Picture of signalling left

Signalling left

Use your right indicator when you are:

  • turning right
  • moving towards the right (for example, when moving out of a parking space).
Picture of signalling right

Signalling right

Picture of right-turn hand signal

Right-turn hand signal


Don't just rely on the other driver's signal. Is the vehicle slowing down? Is the vehicle in the right place on the road in relation to the signal?


Your stop lights (the red lights at the back of your vehicle) let people behind you know that you're slowing down or stopping. Stop lights come on automatically when you use the brake pedal (footbrake). Keep your foot on the brake pedal to keep the brake light on to warn other drivers.

Picture of stop lights on the back of a car

Stop lights

Picture of stop hand signal

Stop or slowing hand signal

Tip: Tapping the brake pedal will flash the stop lights to warn other drivers.

Hazard lights

When you turn on your hazard lights, both indicator lights flash at the same time as a warning to other road users. You should only turn on your hazard lights when your vehicle becomes a temporary hazard to other road users, such as when:

  • you're changing a tyre on the side of the road
  • your vehicle has broken down and is being towed.



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