A Guide To Nailing Roundabouts
You don’t have to be new to driving to find roundabouts confusing.
Roundabouts. What can we say? Many learner drivers find roundabouts particularly difficult to get to grips with but however much you hate them, there’s no avoiding them. There are 10,000 roundabouts in the UK so you’re more than likely to come across them regularly during your driving lessons.
No getting around them
Unless you live in or near Swindon, you probably won’t have to tackle the dreaded seven circle Magic Roundabout. However, even the single circle roundabouts can be confusing for beginners. The driving test often involves challenging roundabouts in your local area. You might have to tackle anything from small mini roundabouts big multi-lane roundabouts. It’s important to understand the correct procedure for taking roundabouts so here is a guide to help you around.
How do I approach a roundabout?
Roundabouts are just a type of junction so you need to approach them in the same way. When there’s a roundabout ahead remember the MSPL routine, or Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look. Unlike other junctions, most roundabouts are quite open which allows you to assess the traffic flow and adjust your speed and if possible, enter the roundabout without stopping. Some drivers stop at the give way line when it is not necessary, so never assume the car in front of you will enter the roundabout, even when it’s clear.
Here is a diagram to show you the correct procedure for approaching and exiting a standard closed roundabout from each angle.
Turning left at a roundabout
To turn left at a roundabout, make sure you signal left and approach in the left lane. Stay in the left lane and keep signalling until you have left the roundabout.
Going straight ahead at a roundabout
Select the appropriate lane on approach. Unless road marking indicate otherwise, you should use the left lane when going straight ahead. There is no need to signal on approach. Make sure you stay in your lane as you go around the roundabout. When you have passed the exit before the one you need to take, signal left and exit.
Turning right at a roundabout
To turn right, make sure you approach in the right hand lane and signal right. Stay in your lane and signal left after passing the exit before the one you need to take. You may need to change lanes to leave the roundabout so make sure you complete the appropriate observations (Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre).
You won’t fail your driving test by taking the incorrect exit, as long as you do so safely. The examiner is testing your driving ability, not navigation skills! However, you can fail your test if you forget to cancel your indicator after exiting the roundabout. Doing this can be confusing for other road users.
Watch out for pedestrian crossings! These are often placed just outside of roundabouts. This means there can be queues at the roundabout exit as people wait for pedestrians to cross. Make sure you look ahead to see if the exit you are taking is clear and so you can prepare for traffic if necessary by ensuring you are in the correct lane.
What about mini roundabouts?
Mini roundabouts are also common in the UK, especially in residential areas. The same rules apply at roundabout of all sizes. However, you may find that you’ll have to reduce your speed even further to navigate smaller roundabouts safely. You must pass around the central markings of mini roundabouts unless you are driving (or towing) a vehicle which is too large to do so.
Remember that practice makes perfect! If roundabouts make you nervous, try and get as much exposure before your driving test. If possible, get in as many hours of practice outside of lessons as possible. With our Insurance For Learner Drivers, you can insure yourself on a friend or family member’s car from two hours to 90 days, so you can get as little or as much practice as you need!