A Misunderstood Enigma

Roundabouts are misunderstood by most, it seems a high percentage of people do not know how to use a roundabout properly, whilst most of the time people seem to manage it could be made much easier if everyone obeyed the rules.

Common Misunderstandings

You must always give way to right when entering a roundabout.

Actually the law requires that you "Give way to all vehicles already on the roundabout" it does not matter which side they are on. So when you are approaching a roundabout make sure you are going slow enough to stop for any traffic that may enter the roundabout before you do, look to your right first, if it is clear you may proceed while checking to your left and allowing any traffic already on the roundabout to clear your path before increasing your speed.

You should indicate Right when you enter the roundabout to go straight ahead.

This reason behind this misunderstanding is that you should indicate both entering and leaving the roundabout, this is a little bit confusing for some as the indication for straight ahead is not indicating. The best way to think about your indicating when entering a roundabout is to indicate as if the roundabout wasn't there.

So using a simple four exit roundabout that would make a crossroads, you wouldn't indicate to go straight ahead at a cross roads would you? No.

Same applies to entering a roundabout going straight ahead.

Indicating off the roundabout is a courtesy not a rule.

Actually it is a rule! Picture it as traveling on a circular road, you are in fact turning left to exit that road, and as such you need to indicate. You need to start indicating as soon as you've passed the exit you are not taking, this gives the traffic waiting to enter at the next one plenty of opportunity to enter the roundabout.

It is okay to stop on the roundabout if your exit lane is congested.

You should not enter the roundabout unless you are able to clear it, if the exit you are using is congested do not enter the roundabout until it has cleared. If you enter and form a queue on the roundabout you are blocking other traffic that may have been able to clear the roundabout further round.

Proper Use

uk roundabout 8 carsApproach the roundabout in the appropriate lane, the sooner you get into that lane the better.

Usually this is the left hand lane for a left turn, the right hand lane for a right turn and either for straight ahead. There are however some exceptions, check road signs and markings as you approach.

Indicate your final destination (Left for Left, Right for Right, no indication for straight ahead).

Enter with care giving way to any vehicles already on the roundabout.

 

 

 

Turning Left

Roundabout LeftApproach in the Left-hand lane, the earlier you get into lane on your approach the betting, checking road signs and markings for exceptions, indicating Left. Slow to a max speed of 20kph in 2nd gear, checking to the right first, if the right is clear check the left as you are entering. Enter the roundabout giving way to all vehicles already on the roundabout.

Continue to indicate left as you leave. Do not turn your indicator off until you have completely left the roundabout.

 

 

 

 Turning Right & U-Turns

Roundabout RightApproach in the Right-hand lane (checking road signs and markings for exceptions) indicating Right. Slow to a max speed of 20kph in 2nd gear, checking to the right first, if the right is clear check the left as you are entering. Enter the roundabout in to the right hand lane, giving way to all vehicles already on the roundabout. Continue around the roundabout indicating right.

As you pass the last exit before yours start indicating left. Exit the roundabout in the same lane you are in. Do not turn your indicator off until you have completely left the roundabout.

 

 

 

  Going Straight Ahead

Roundabout AheadApproach the roundabout in either lane (checking road signs and markings for exceptions) without indicating. Slow to a max speed of 20kph in 2nd gear, checking to the right first, if the right is clear check the left as you are entering. Enter the roundabout in the same lane you are already in, giving way to all vehicles already on the roundabout.

Continue around the roundabout, as you pass the last exit you are not taking start to indicate left. Exit the roundabout in the same lane you are in. Do not turn your indicator off until you have completely left the roundabout.

 

 

 Some interesting Roundabouts

Magic Roundabout (Swindon, England)

Swindon RoundaboutThis one can be found in Swindon, England. It is a roundabout of roundabouts; they call it a "Magic Roundabout". There are actually four like this in England, this one in Swindon, one in Colchester another in Hemel Hempstead and yet another in High Wycombe (these links show the Google Maps view of each of these magic roundabouts, the first link is to a Wikipedia page on the Swindon one).

In 2005, it was voted the worst roundabout in a survey by a UK insurance company. In September 2007, the Magic Roundabout was named as one of the World's Worst Junctions by a UK motoring magazine. In December 2007, BBC News reported a survey identifying The Magic Roundabout as one of the "10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom". However the roundabout provides a better throughput of traffic than other designs and has an excellent safety record, since traffic moves too slowly to do serious damage in the event of a collision. (Exert from the Wiki page)

The next diagram does help to understand how to use it, but quite honestly I'd find a different way. Turning left is relatively simple; you are just turning left from two different roundabouts. Turning right however is a little more complicated, you enter the first roundabout as normal going clockwise, and then you enter the central one anti-clockwise and then a third roundabout clockwise. After exiting find the nearest pharmacy and ask for some extra strength paracetamol. Not quite as bad, but still if you don't know what you're doing it's going to cause some confusion.swindon roundabout