Approaching a Roundabout
When approaching a roundabout, you should use Mirror - Signal - Manoeuvre at all times and continually adjust your speed and position to fit in with traffic conditions. Before you get onto a roundabout you should make sure that you are fully aware of the situation around you - including where you are entering the roundabout and which exit you should be leaving it from. On approach, you should be able to see a road sign that will indicate the shape of the roundabout and how many exits there are in total.
Safely Navigating a Roundabout
If you get your speed and gear right and the way is clear, on many occasions you will be able to merge with the moving traffic without stopping. Once you get onto the roundabout, keep a reasonable speed otherwise you may find that other drivers are confused by your actions and may end up overtaking you on the inside, which could cause problems for you and other roundabout users.
Always keep an eye on your mirrors but most importantly watch the car in front of you. Many accidents on roundabouts occur as drivers rear-end the car in front of them because they are watching the traffic on the roundabout not the traffic waiting to get on it. Make sure the vehicle has actually moved away before you start to move forward.
It's also important to be aware that many people don't understand roundabouts, or how to signal properly on them, so what they are telling you with their indicators might not be what they are actually about to do.
The following advice assumes a roundabout has 3 exits and is a handy guide to follow:
To Turn Left (leaving at the first exit)
Signals left, and approach the roundabout in the left-hand lane.
Keep to the left of the roundabout and maintain the left signal to leave.
To Go Straight On (leaving at the second exit)
Choose the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout. If you can't see the markings on the road then it is usually the safest option to keep in the left lane.
Stay in this lane until you are getting ready to exit the roundabout
Indicate left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
To Turn Right (leaving at the third exit)
Indicate right and approach the roundabout in the right-hand lane
Keep to the right-hand lane on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one that you want.
In all cases, you should make sure to watch out for:
Pedestrians who may be crossing the approach to the roundabout or exit roads.
Traffic crossing in front of you - most importantly vehicles that are going to leave at the next exit
Traffic straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly ,traffic might pass you on either side
Cyclists and horse riders (who must stay in the left hand lane but signal right if they intend to go around the roundabout
Long vehicles - they may have to move across several lanes, so be careful and watch for their signals.
Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts.
All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so.
Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal so usually you don't need to signal when leaving a mini roundabout
Normally you don't signal when following the road ahead and don't signal left to leave the roundabout when turning right
Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts.
Beware of others doing this.
At double mini-roundabouts treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right.
If you look at the road signs on approach you will be able to work out the priorities and position of the other vehicals before you get there , give priority to cars coming around the roundabout from the right.
Because you have less time at a mini roundabout ,if you look at the signs for mini roundabouts and use them as a map of the roundabout you are approaching , you will be able to work out priorities and the layout before you get there
If you have four roads going into the roundabout , including the one you're approaching in , you will usually need to give way to at least two of the roads
If you have a road to your right and ahead but no road on the left , you would only have to give way to cars on your right that are turning right usually
If you have a road on your left and ahead but no road on your right , you would need to give way to cars coming towards you signalling to turn right
At double roundabouts treat each roundabout separately
Junctions turning left and right
Approaching junctions to turn left or right
Approaching junctions to turn left
To do so you should follow the M-S-M routine
Mirrors - Checking the interior first will give best view of traffic and an idea of their speed.
Check left/nearside mirror next to be aware of any traffic that maybe about to pass on the left as you slow down to take turn, mainly cyclists/motorbikes.
Signal -Signal in good time but not too early which may confuse other road users (they may think you are pulling up on the left).
Position - There would be no need to change from your normal driving position unless there are obstructions (parked cars) or if you're turning into a narrow road or entrance. For a sharp turn you would need to move closer to the centre of the road.
Speed - Slow down enough to take turn safely - most turns would be taken at approximately 10 mph (second gear should be selected for this speed). Bring clutch pedal up to avoid coasting to maintain control.
Look - Check into new road to assess how clear the junction is. Look out for parked cars, pedestrians who could easily be crossing the road. Be aware of any cyclists who may try passing you on the left. Pedestrians who have stepped onto the road have priority so be prepared to stop and allow them to cross if necessary!
PEDESTRIANS - Look out for pedestrians and parked cars.
TIMING OF SIGNAL - If you are turning into the second side road do not signal until passing the first junction..
Approaching junctions to turn right
Oncoming traffic will have priority - you must not cut across them if to do so would cause them to change speed or direction. If you can walk across then you can drive across
Position just before your point of turn when you need to stop for oncoming traffic or if the road you intend on turning into is blocked - this will make it easier to turn in the correct position. Positioning to the centre of the road will often leave enough room for cars to pass on your left as well as confirm your intentions to turn. Do not cut the corner.
Be prepared for the possibility of the other driver beckoning you on, most likely by flashing their headlights or waving you on. You must make sure it is safe to turn and they are beckoning you on and nobody else, especially where there are vehicles emerging onto the main road who they may be intended for.
Mirrors - Interior first will give best view of approaching traffic and an idea of their speed. Check right mirror next to be aware of any vehicles that may be overtaking.
Signal - Signal in good time to warn other road users of your intentions - you will be affecting people more due to needing to change position before turn and you may need to stop.
Position - Move over to the centre of the road where possible - this will not only confirm your intentions to turn right but on many roads will leave enough room for following traffic to pass on the left.
Speed - Slow down enough to take turn safely or to stop smoothly if it's not clear to go due to oncoming traffic or if the road you're entering is blocked.
Look out for oncoming traffic as they have priority, check into road your entering to see if clear -possibly pedestrians may be crossing / the road maybe blocked due to parked cars with emerging traffic.
Try to gain eye contact with the other driver when possible in order to help judge their intentions.
At some junction an extra lane is provided with hatched markings to protect traffic turning right , try to avoid going into the hatch markings unless it is necessary If the hatch markings are bordered with a solid white line you are only allowed to enter the hatched area in an emergency
This will mainly be when you are leaving a minor road to join a main road to turn left, right or possibly needing to cross a main road to follow the road ahead (at crossroads). Where the junction is not light controlled you will have either "Give Way" markings or a "Stop" sign. Warning signs - Look out for advance warning signs.
Where there is a give way sign you must give way to traffic on the main road, if on approach you can clearly see it is safe to emerge then you can do so without stopping. (If in doubt, don't pull out!)
Where there is a "Stop" sign you must stop at the line.
Emerging at T-Junctions
Mirrors . Signal Left or right
Position - For a standard left keep to the left (follow kerb around to the left) If turning right position to the centre of the road
Speed - Approach slowly enough to allow you to stop smoothly if it's not clear to go. If the give way is open enough that you can see early on the approach that it is safe to emerge, generally approach in 2nd gear. You will find that most T-junctions need to be approached very slowly to allow you enough time to check properly when clear to emerge, therefore you should select first gear. You must stop where a junction has a Stop sign
Look - Look out for pedestrians who may be wanting to cross, check on the main road to your right - to your left and back again to your right to double check it's clear (look out for parked cars which may move off as you emerge, cyclists and motorcyclists can be hard to spot if you fail to check properly). Keep re-assessing both ways if busy
Joining new road safely Observations - To emerge safely you must do so where any traffic including cyclists are not forced to change speed or direction because of your actions. Be aware of any pedestrians crossing the road.
Flashing headlights - If a driver flashes their headlights this may be an indication that they are willing to allow you to pull out, however the true meaning of flashing lights is 'a warning of presence' make sure that they are not intended for someone else.
Once you have joined new road - Check your mirrors and make progress by building up your speed suitable for the road and the conditions.
Obstructions on main road - If you emerge onto a road that has obstructions (parked cars) then you may need to creep forward to improve your view. Lean forward in your seat and have your clutch just at or close to the biting point to control your speed. Be extra mindful of pedestrians crossing the road from behind the parked cars.
Emerging out of a one-way street - Try to get in the correct lane early for the exit you wish to take. Keep to the left for turning left and move over to the right for turning right
Emerging at junctions where there are parked cars
Position - Position where there will be enough room for traffic turning into the road you are leaving. Try not to get unnecessarily close to parked cars (obstructions). You may need to approach more slowly.
Emerging out of narrow roads -
Keeping to the left may lead to the back wheels running over kerb. It is also possible you may swing out too much in new road.
Move over further to the centre of the road you are leaving. Steer left just before the Give Way / Stop lines to help avoid swinging out too wide.
Emerging at crossroads Working out priority
Traffic on the main road will have priority as usual. The easiest way of working out priority over traffic opposite is to think of yourself when driving on a main road you have priority for the direction you are taking until cutting across traffic's path (turning right you need to give way to oncoming traffic). Therefore you should give way to traffic opposite when turning right as you will be cutting across their path
Mirrors Signal ? No signal confirms you intend to go straight ahead
Manoeuvre = position-speed-look
When going ahead face car to the left of the road you are entering (if the crossroads are not staggered then your position should stay the same)
Speed Slow down enough to check all roads. If in doubt don't pull out. Look - Look right then left, back to your right & straight ahead
Traffic on the main road has priority as usual - check ahead for emerging traffic and to see if it is clear to enter (pedestrians etc)
Parked cars (obstructions)
Parked cars (obstructions) may block your view of approaching traffic on the main road which has priority over you. Drivers emerging opposite (blue car) could have a clear view so be aware that they may pull out before you even when you have priority! Where possible you should try to get eye contact with the driver on the opposite side of the crossroads to try to work out their intentions.
Equal priority! Where both you and the driver opposite intend on turning right no-one can assume priority as you are both doing the same thing. You need to work out the safest way of emerging. If you emerge onto the main road at the same time your options are to emerge nearside to nearside or offside to offside
Yellow criss-cross lines mark a box junction. The purpose is to keep the junction clear by preventing traffic from stopping in the path of crossing traffic. You must not enter a box junction unless your exit road is clear. When turning right it is ok to enter the box when you are only prevented from turning by oncoming traffic