Roundabouts - the easy way

Many new drivers panic when they approach roundabouts, but they’re not as difficult to deal with once you understand the method.

Basically, a roundabout is where two or more roads meet, just like a crossroad or ‘T’ junction. The only difference is that there is an island in the middle and all road users have to go around it clockwise. The other difference from other junctions, is that you only need to give way to traffic from the right.

There are many different types of roundabouts, which depend on how many exits it has. An exit is a road that you can turn into. Some may just have two exits, where others can have many exits. – as the clip shows.

When approaching a roundabout, the first clue you will see is a roundabout. It could look like any of these depending on the type of road your currently on.

How to deal with roundabouts

When approaching a roundabout to turn left, you should:

  • Check mirrors;
  • Signal left on approach;
  • Approach in the left lane (unless any road signs or road markings show otherwise); 
  • Reduce your speed and be prepared to stop as traffic that’s already on the roundabout have the priority;
  • As you approach keep checking to the right, for a safe gap in the traffic where you can proceed;
  • Select the appropriate gear depending whether you stop or continue.

When going straight ahead, you should:

  • Check mirrors;
  • Do not signal on approach;
  • Approach in the left lane (unless any road signs or road markings show otherwise);
  • Reduce your speed and be prepared to stop as traffic that’s already on the roundabout have the priority;
  • As you approach keep checking to the right, for a safe gap in the traffic where you can proceed;
  • Select the appropriate gear depending whether you stop or continue.;
  • As you drive around the roundabout, keep well to the left.
  • As your passing the road before the one you want to take, check left and centre mirrors and signal left to warn following drivers that your leaving at the next exit.

When turning right, you should:

  • Check mirrors;
  • Signal right;
  • Approach in the right-hand lane unless any road signs or road markings show otherwise);
  • Reduce your speed and be prepared to stop as traffic that’s already on the roundabout have the priority;
  • As you approach keep checking to the right, for a safe gap in the traffic where you can proceed;
  • Select the appropriate gear depending whether you stop or continue.
  • Continue in the right hand  lane until you reach the exit before the one you want to take
  • Check mirrors and signal left
  • If safe, leave in the left hand lane – if there is more than one lane.
  • Watch for any vehicles that may try to pass you on the left as you are exiting.

If you are still confused, its best that you review it again.

Key points to remember:

  1. Well before you get to a roundabout, you should have a plan of action, such as which exit you want to take – that will help you to decide which lane you should be in.
  2. Start to look for a safe gap and continue to look well before you you reach the roundabout;
  3. If you see other traffic that’s already on the roundabout coming from your right, look at the position of their front wheels and the angle the vehicle is. That wil help you to decide when to go.
  4. Give way to traffic from the right, once you enter the roundabout, you have the priority and other traffic will stop for you;
  5. Try not to hesitate longer than necessary.
  6. Get plenty of practice with roundabouts to give you confidence.

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