Roundabouts

Roundabouts are one of the most dangerous places when learning to drive, the danger is all around. You could get rear ended by a car from behind you.  The learner could start to move off and stall when there half on the roundabout and be on danger from both behind and the side.

If your teaching someone else you need to think about all the things that you do as you are waiting to move off at a roundabout and the things that can go wrong.  You need to be prepared for these things because you need to be as relaxed and calm as possible. Learners find roundabouts one of the most stressful things they do through all of the learning process and they do not need you making it more stressful.

General rules when it comes to roundabout are as follows:-

Which lane to approach in? Generally if you have two lanes as you approach it’s the left lane if your turning left, and the left lane if your going ahead to the second exit. The right lane for turning right, the third exit.

Watch of either road signs or lane markings that point out that the roundabout has a different layout to the general rule.

How do I know when it’s safe to move out? Split the roundabout into quarters in your head and if the quarter to your right is empty then it should be safe to move out.  Use common sense if a vehicle looks like its going to fast don’t risk pulling it in front of it.

The Roundabout Routine Taking the first exit

Roundabouts first exit

Roundabouts first exit

The routine that a learner uses when they approach a roundabout is the same as turning left and right.  Its Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed and Look which is why it’s useful to have got comfortable with MSPSL before getting to big stressful roundabout.

So as you approach the roundabout and are turning left the routine looks like this:-

Mirror – check the breaking mirror (rear view mirror) to see what’s behind and how the breaking may affect the Vehicle behind.  So if the vehicle is too close to you, you would need to start breaking further out from the end of the road than you would normally so they have more time to react to your breaking.  You then check the left mirror to make sure that it’s clear down your left side.

Signal – so you have checked what’s going on behind you so now it’s time to inform other road users what you are going to do.  We need to push the directional indicator down and that activates the left signal.

Position – your position for turning left does not change from your normal driving position which is approximately 1 metre from the curb and as you approach the roundabout you should follow the bend keeping the same distance.  Which is why slowing down is so important.

Speed – as a rule of thumb, start by at least halving your speed (you should be even slower by the time you get to the roundabout junction).  Then change your gear down to the one you need, which should be normally second gear, first gear if its a narrow road or a closed junction. Bring your clutch back up and keep breaking so you have time to look correctly at your roundabout. If it is closed then to be safe you must stop and have a good look.

Look – the car must be slow enough that as you get closer to the junction you have time to look and see what’s happening and process the information that your seeing and take action.  The routine is called LADA which stands for ‘Look Assess Decide and Act’. This is why slowing right down is so important, as you get to the roundabout junction. Your asking yourself is it an open or closed junction? If it is open then you would, ‘look right, look left, look right again and if safe move out’. This is the minimum that you should look not the maximum. If it is a closed junction then you would slow the car right down (almost stopped) to do your observations, your always planning on stopping when you approach a closed junction, because that’s the safe thing to be doing.

Your Steering when turning left is to keep the car parallel with the curb so as it starts to bend round then you steer round.  This is very important as it helps to keep you in your lane on the roundabout, it is very dangerous to wonder into other lanes.

The Roundabout Routine Taking the second exit

Roundabouts second exit

Roundabouts second exit

So as you approach the roundabout and are taking the second exit the routine looks like this:-

Mirror – check the breaking mirror (rear view mirror) to see what’s behind and how the breaking may affect the Vehicle behind.  So if the vehicle is too close to you, you would need to start breaking further out from the end of the road than you would normally so they have more time to react to your breaking.  You then check the left mirror to make sure that it’s clear down your left side.

Signal – so you have checked what’s going on behind you so now it’s time to inform other road users what you are going to do.  You not NOT signal as you approach the roundabout, is your non signal that informs other road users that you intend to take the second exit. Once you are on the roundabout and have passed the first exit, you them check your left mirror and put your signal left on then to inform other road users of your intention to leave the roundabout.

Position – your position for taking the second exit does not change from your normal driving position which is approximately 1 metre from the curb and as you approach the roundabout you should follow the bend keeping the same distance.  Which is why slowing down is so important. (this only changes if the road markings show that you need to be on a different lane to take the second exit).

Speed – as a rule of thumb, start by at least halving your speed (you should be even slower by the time you get to the roundabout junction).  Then change your gear down to the one you need, which should be normally second gear, first gear if its a narrow road or a closed junction. Bring your clutch back up and keep breaking so you have time to look correctly at your roundabout. If it is closed then to be safe you must stop and have a good look.

Look – the car must be slow enough that as you get closer to the junction you have time to look and see what’s happening and process the information that your seeing and take action.  The routine is called LADA which stands for ‘Look Assess Decide and Act’. This is why slowing right down is so important, as you get to the roundabout junction. Your asking yourself how busy is the roundabout, is the quarter to my right empty? If it is then you would, ‘look left, look right, look left again and if safe move out’. This is the minimum that you should look not the maximum.

Your Steering when taking the second exit is to keep the car parallel with the curb so as it starts to bend round then you steer round.  This is very important as it helps to keep you in your lane on the roundabout, it is very dangerous to wonder into other lanes.

The Roundabout Routine Taking the third exit or more

Roundabouts third exit

Roundabouts third exit

So as you approach the roundabout and are taking the third exit the routine looks like this:-

Mirror – check the breaking mirror (rear view mirror) to see what’s behind and how the breaking may affect the Vehicle behind.  So if the vehicle is too close to you, you would need to start breaking further out from the end of the road than you would normally so they have more time to react to your breaking.  You then check the right mirror to make sure that it’s clear down your right side.

Signal – so you have checked what’s going on behind you so now it’s time to inform other road users what you are going to do.  We need to push the directional indicator up and that activates the right signal.

Position – your position for turning right changes from your normal driving position is to move into the right hand lane or if there is still just one lane over towards the centre line.

Speed – as a rule of thumb, start by at least halving your speed (you should be even slower by the time you get to the road junction).  Then change your gear down to the one you need, which should be normally second gear, first gear if you can see a lot of cars on the roundabout. Bring your clutch back up and keep breaking so you have time to look correctly at your turning. If it is busy then to be safe you must stop and have a good look.

Look – the car must be slow enough that as you get closer to the roundabout junction you have time to look and see what’s happening and process the information that your seeing and take action.  The routine is called LADA which stands for ‘Look Assess Decide and Act’. This is why slowing right down is so important, as you get to the roundabout junction. Your asking yourself how busy is the roundabout, is the quarter to my right empty? If it is then you would, ‘look right, look left, look right again and if safe move out’. This is the minimum that you should look not the maximum.

Your Steering when turning right is to keep the wheel straight as you move out from your give way line. Then only turn when you get into your lane.  This is important as you do not want to stray into anyone else’s lane.

When you have passed the exit before the one you are leaving the roundabout on you must check your left mirror, put a left signal on and move to the left to take up the correct position for leaving the roundabout.  The left mirror check is vital, as that’s the driver checking that the lane they are about to move into is empty and safe. The signal is meaningless until that mirror has been checked.