Rules for navigating a roundabout

Aviva Car Insurance

Roundabouts, and how to use them properly, can be one subject that can cause a debate! Coming onto a roundabout can be quite daunting but, if you read up on some of our simple tips, it doesn’t have to be.

The golden rule

Experienced drivers will tell you the same thing when it comes to using a roundabout safely, they work like clockwork, quite literally. You approach the roundabout from the 6 o'clock position, entering the roundabout by turning left so that you go around in a clockwise direction, while at the same time, giving way to traffic coming from your right, who are already on the roundabout.

How to use roundabouts safely

Taking the road leading to the left (1st exit)

If you’re taking the 1st exit (9 o’clock), you should position towards the left, or use the left-hand lane, signalling left on approach, while maintaining this signal throughout the roundabout.

How to take 1st exit on roundabout safely

Following the road ahead (2nd exit)

If you’re following the road ahead, (2nd exit), you would normally position towards the left, or stay in the left-hand lane, however you need to be guided by road signs/markings. You would have no signal on approach, however when you reach the centre point of the 1st exit, you would signal left, to let other traffic know that you are leaving at the next exit.

How to take 2nd exit on roundabout safely

Taking the road leading to the right (3rd exit)

If you’re taking the road leading to the right, (3rd exit), you would normally position just left of the centre line, or select the right-hand lane, however you need to be guided by road signs/markings. You would signal right on approach, however when you reach the centre point of the 2nd exit, you would signal left, to let other traffic know that you are leaving at the next exit.

How to take 3rd exit on roundabout safely

Other things to note

Always check your mirrors before you signal, so that you know what is happening behind and at the sides. Approach the roundabout at a speed where you have enough time to identify a safe gap to join and that you don’t affect the position or speed of traffic already on the roundabout.

Pay attention to longer vehicles when it comes to roundabouts; because of their size, they may need to take a different course to other vehicles.

It’s also important to remember that cyclists will often remain in the left-hand lane even if they are continuing beyond the next exit, so be mindful of their safety when maneuvering to exit.

And, of course, bear in mind that pedestrians may cross at approach and exit roads.

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