Learner drivers guide to roundabouts

Learner drivers guide to roundabouts

Britain loves its roundabouts. We’re home to the world’s first magic roundabout, the highest proportion of roundabouts per road, and we even have an appreciation society for these traffic circles. So, it’s no wonder learners are required to crack correct roundabout etiquette early on. Coming in all sizes, with multiple lanes, numerous exits and many sets of traffic lights, they’re the next big challenge after clutch control. The following guide hopes to serve as handy revision for all new drivers as they aspire to become safe road users.

Let’s get started with a quick snippet from our partner website Driving Test Pass which gives you video guides to passing your practical test. This short intro tells you how to understand what’s considered a right turn, straight ahead or left turn.

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1. The Approach

Depending on your exit, positioning comes first – and early. Be aware of those around you and take extra care to look out for vulnerable road users. Remember to check your mirrors, signal, then manoeuvre. Give way to oncoming vehicles from the right.


2. Left Turns

First exit: as you approach the roundabout, check your mirrors. Keep left and signal your intention. Look right, look ahead and give way to vehicles approaching on the right. When it is safe for you to do so, go and keep to the left. Your signal should remain on so others know you’re exiting the roundabout.

Second exit: some left turns may not be the first exit and so require a different course of action. You shouldn’t signal when approaching the roundabout as this could lead others to believe you will be leaving at the first exit. Follow the steps above, but signal only after you have passed the exit before yours.


3. Continuing Ahead

Second exit: some roundabouts will have road markings or signs to indicate which lane to choose. However, if there are none, position your vehicle in the left lane. Follow the usual procedure: check your mirrors, look right and ahead, give way to the right. When it is safe to do so, remain in the left-hand lane and proceed.

Multi-lane: adopt the normal steps as you approach the roundabout – mirrors, positioning, give way. Unless markings or signs provide instruction, keep to the left. Some road markings may indicate road numbers, names, towns or locations to help you position yourself in the right lane.


4. Right Turns

Third exit: unless markings or signs instruct you otherwise you should move into the right lane after checking your mirrors and signalling right. Take care as you approach the roundabout, looking out for other road users ahead and to your right. Give way. When it is safe to do so, go and remain in the right-hand lane. Check your mirrors before signalling left and moving over to the left to leave the roundabout.

Second exit: right turns won’t always be the third exit. If this is the case, it is still necessary to use the right-hand lane and to signal right.


5. Traffic Light Controlled Roundabouts

Multi-lane: although roundabouts controlled by traffic lights are safer and giving way to the right isn’t necessary, you should still check right before proceeding in case of emergency vehicles or

drivers passing through a red light. If a combination of traffic lights is present, there will also be give way lines. Pay attention to these and give way to the right as you usually would.


6. Common Errors

Lanes: always be aware of your vehicle and your lane – not only it is safe and important practice to keep in lane, but failing to do so may result in a failed driving test or an accident!

Signalling: indicating left communicates to other road users that you are coming off the roundabout. Signalling too early could mislead or confuse others on the roundabout or those joining, with the potential of dangerous consequences.

Hesitation: when the roundabout is clear and safe for you to proceed, don’t hesitate in pulling out. Watch out for other vehicles and how they are positioned, the speed at which they are travelling and what angle they are at. These indications will allow you to anticipate their next move and therefore your own – don’t expect others to signal as they may not. Hesitation can be unsafe as other road users may not be able to predict your actions.

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