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Roundabouts, a detailed introduction

Navigating Roundabouts: An introductory Guide from a BookInstructor ADI.

Navigating roundabouts can be daunting, are on many routes you will take during your years as a driver and all over in many Towns and Cities across the UK; they can be massively challenging for those unfamiliar with them.

This guide covers various types of roundabouts โ€“ mini-roundabouts, major roundabouts, spiral roundabouts, and double roundabouts โ€“ providing you with the introductory knowledge to approach them confidently.

Before we discuss roundabouts, we need to remember the hierarchy of road users, so we must get ready to give way to pedestrians crossing the road as we approach roundabouts or who are crossing or preparing to walk across at our exit, and strongly consider holding back to allow them to cross first. Do not take any action that would hinder a pedestrianโ€™s progress if they are attempting to cross.


1. Approach Slowly: Their small size demands a slower approach. Normally you will be down to a walking speed and in gear 1 (Manual). Only if we have an โ€˜open, clear viewโ€™ to the right can you attempt the roundabout a little faster, at a โ€˜jogging speedโ€™
2. Give Way: to traffic from the right, this includes cars on the opposite side indicating and turning to their right in front of you.
3. Use Indicators: Signal your intended direction. Left for left, nothing for ahead, right for right.
4. Positioning: Always go around clockwise and around the white spot to the best of your ability, do not take it in a straight line or cut the roundabout when turning right. Lane choice & positioning is important so consider this on approach.
5. Exit: normally continue to signal in the direction you entered in, steering control is paramount so it is not normally necessary to add another signal (left) off a mini-roundabout, just the signal you used on approach. (Could anyone benefit or react from you signalling?)

Major Roundabouts

1. Lane Selection: Choose the correct lane based on your intended exit. Look for lane arrows to assist you, left lane is normally for ahead and left but road and traffic signs can indicate otherwise. Typically the right lane is for any exit off to the right side. 3 lane entries may include a left, ahead and a right lane. Google maps with the satellite view is your friend, try to study from a birds eye view your local area to help you understand the logic.
2. Observation and Speed: Slow down to observe and react to the traffic ahead of you and to the right. Look for a gap in the traffic flow so that you can join.
3. Give way to the Right: Give way to the traffic already on the roundabout approaching at speed, do not force them to slow down or be surprised and annoyed at you pulling infront of them, do not alter the flow of traffic on the right as this can be dangerous.
4. Indicators: Signal according to your intended direction. Your instructor will confirm this with you as locally there can be some quirky roundabouts that require a lot of explanation for best practice.
5. Exit: Signal left after passing the exit before yours. This is a universal rule.

Spiral Roundabouts

1. Lane Markings: Follow the lane markings carefully. Try to learn what road you are on E.G A500 and what road you want to take E.G A56 and destination signage.
2. Correct Lane Entry: Enter in the lane that aligns with your exit, sometimes you may need to move more to the right on larger spiral roundabouts as you travel round, then stay in lane when you have your correct destination lane.
3. Stay in Lane: Follow your lane as it spirals to your exit.
4. Indicators: Signal your direction upon approach (sometimes right, sometimes left, your instructor will guide you) and exit. You may not be required to signal as you spiral around the roundabout as you are not changing lane as you go round. This can lead to confusion for other road users.
5. Exiting: Follow your lane to exit, guided by lane markings. Signalling left to warn other road users of your intentions.

Double Roundabouts

1. Approach with Caution: Handle each roundabout individually.
2. First Roundabout: Apply standard roundabout rules.
3. Between Roundabouts: Stay in the correct lane, ready to give way to the right again.
4. Second Roundabout: Repeat the process of the first roundabout.
5. Exit Safely: Signal before your exit.

General Tips

โ€ข Be aware of pedestrians crossing, cyclists and motorcyclists.
โ€ข Keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
โ€ข Be prepared for sudden changes from other drivers, this includes positioning, lane changes and incorrect indications.
โ€ข Regularly use mirrors and check blind spots.

Whether itโ€™s a compact mini-roundabout, a complex spiral, or a busy double roundabout, understanding these guidelines will help you navigate with ease. Remember, patience and practice are key to mastering roundabouts in the UK. Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings, and youโ€™ll be roundabout-ready in no time! BookInstructor ADIโ€™s will have full knowledge of your local area and help you make the wise choice to keep you and your vehicle safe.

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