Roundabouts

So there you are, sitting at the line at a roundabout, gazing in horror at the stream of traffic from the right. There seems no end to it, and so fast! And which way are they going to go? It will never be possible to get away. An accident is inevitable. Here goes the test, wonder how long it will be to the next one? Perhaps there won’t be a roundabout on the next test.

I have news for you – there will be.

I have more news – this is how you deal with roundabouts.

Let’s look at what a roundabout is. It is a circular one way street, with direction of travel from right to left. So we are really at the end of a “T” junction, wanting to turn left, ‘cos that is the direction of the one way street. We only have to give way to the right.

But the traffic seems to be all over the place. Well, not really. They are in a one way street. When in a one way street, what positions do you take up when going ahead or left, and when turning right? You position on the left for the first and on the right for the second. That is what they are doing, and that is the first clue to where they are going.

The second clue is, hopefully, their signal. This is supposed to be applied when they are level with the exit before the one they want. If they are going to turn right, relative from the road they entered from, they should be in the right hand position, and signalling right initially, changing to left as above, because all turns from a roundabout are eventually to the left.

So if they are near the centre of the roundabout, and still signalling right when they are coming up to your road, they are at least going to take the one after yours, and maybe even after that. We now know where they are going, anyway.

If they are not near the centre of the roundabout, and not signalling, they are probably taking the one after yours, still left or ahead relative to their entrance road.

I say “probably”, because unfortunately it is not an ideal world. Some people do not signal on roundabouts, or signal wrongly, and they do not position correctly. So how do we deal with them? We look at their front wheels.

A vehicle HAS to go the way its front wheels are pointing. Okay, we all know that. Then start using it at a roundabout. If a vehicle coming close from the right is not signalling, and its position is not definite, if its front wheels are straight, then it is not turning into your road.

If there are vehicles coming close from the right and they are near to the centre of the roundabout, and there is no-one in the outside of the roundabout position, do not pull out until they are level with your front. Pulling out sooner would be disastrous if they switched position to the outside, just as you pulled out.

Roundabouts are complicated things, because the variables are so numerous. There is no substitute for practice. Go out there and deliberately do roundabout after roundabout, instead of just when you happen to come to one.

A tip I was given recently is to go on foot and watch a busy roundabout to see how the cars behave, this is very good advice.

This text is just a guide. Keep practicing until it becomes instinct, then you will be confident.

Turning Left
Approach in the left-hand lane.

Signal left as you approach

Once on the roundabout keep to the left

Countinue to signal until you have left the roundabout.

Going Straight Ahead
Approach in the left-hand lane.

Do not signal.

Once on the roundabout keep to the left.

After passing the exit before the one you want
signal left.

Turning Right
Approach in the right-hand lane.

Signal right as you approach.

Once on the roundabout keep to the right.

Signal left after passing the exit before the
one you want.