• Adrian Fedyk

**** R is for Roundabouts ****


Roundabouts allow traffic from different roads to merge or cross without necessarily stopping.


Priority

Before you enter a roundabout, you normally give way to any traffic approaching from your immediate right. However, you should keep moving if the way is clear.


Always use the MSM/PSL (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre/Position, Speed, Look) routine on approach.


Approaching a roundabout

Always look well ahead for the advance warning sign. Especially at large or complex roundabouts, this will give you a clear picture or the layout of the roundabout, together with route directions.


The sign will enable you to select the most suitable lane in which to approach the roundabout.


Watch out also for advance warnings of appropriate traffic lanes at the roundabout. These are often backed-up by road markings, which usually include route numbers.

  • Get in the correct lane in good time.

  • Don't straddle lanes.

  • Never change lanes at the last moment.

Where possible it's a good idea to look across the roundabout and identify the exit you are aiming to take. This will help you plan the safest course on the roundabout itself.


Procedure

Adopt the following procedures unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise.


Going left

  • Indicate left as you approach

  • Approach in the left hand lane

  • Keep to that lane on the roundabout

  • Maintain a left turn signal through the roundabout.


Going ahead

  • No signal is necessary

  • Approach in the left hand lane. If you can't use the left hand lane because, for example, it's blocked, or it is a left turn only lane, use the next lane to it.

  • Keep to the selected lane on the roundabout

  • Check your mirrors, especially the nearside exterior mirror.

  • Indicate left after you have passed the exit just before the one you intend to take.


Going right or full circle

  • Indicate right as you approach

  • Approach in the right hand lane

  • Keep to that lane and maintain the signal on the roundabout

  • Check your mirrors, especially the nearside exterior mirror

  • Indicate left after you have passed the exit just before the one you intend to take.


More than 3 lanes

Where there are more than 3 lanes at the approach to the roundabout, make sure you check the signage on approach and on the road, and keep to your selected lane on approach and on the roundabout.


These 'complex' roundabouts are usually 'lane controlled' which means that you stay in your selected lane throughout, and because they are mainly on faster roads, it can be extremely dangerous to swap lanes.


If you find that you are in the wrong lane, follow your lane around the roundabout and then find a safe place to turn back to approach the roundabout again from a different direction.


Defensive driving

Always keep an eye on the vehicle in front as you're about to enter the roundabout.


Don't assume that the driver in front will keep going. Stop while you're still looking to the right. Many rear-end collisions happen this way. Make sure the vehicle in front has actually moved away before you move forward.


Hazards

Roundabouts can be particularly hazards areas. While negotiating the roundabout you should be especially aware of:


Pedestrians:

In many areas, zebra or traffic light crossings are located near the entrances and exits to roundabouts. Even if there are no formal crossings, pedestrians may attempt to cross at these junctions. Always be aware of pedestrians who may be trying to cross the road.


Cyclists:

They often keep to the outside of the roundabout even when intending to turn right. Take extra care and allow them plenty of room. It is often difficult to see cyclists and motorbikes on a roundabout.


Long vehicles:

Because of their length, they might take a different course or straddle lanes as they approach the roundabout and as they go around it. Watch out for their signals and allow for the rear of their vehicle cutting in.


All vehicles:

Be prepared for vehicles to cross your path to leave at the next exit. Always be on the look out for their signals.


Road surface:

This can become polished and slippery when wet. Avoid braking and severe acceleration when on the roundabout.


Mini roundabouts

Approach these in the same way as a roundabout, slow down and be prepared to give way to traffic from the right. Remember however there's less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal. For example, there's often insufficient time to signal left when leaving.

  • Vehicles coming towards you might want to turn right. Give way to them.

  • Be sure any vehicle on the roundabout is going to leave it before you join it.

  • Beware of drivers who are using the roundabout for a U-turn.

  • You must pass around the central markings unless you are driving a large vehicle or a trailer, which is physically incapable of doing so.

  • Try to avoid using a mini-roundabout to make a U-turn, but be aware that other drivers may do this.

Double mini roundabouts

  • Treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from your right

  • Take careful all-round observation before you enter.

Look and assess - keep a good lookout and assess the situation at every roundabout. Look for direction signs well in advance.












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