A-Class Driving School's Online Driving Tutorials - Roundabouts
Depending on size, you will be expected to do slightly different things.
Dealing with roundabouts is just like approaching and emerging. We're hoping to go fist time, like with approaching, arriving in 2nd gear at 10/12 mph. If you need to stop, or visibility is poor on approach, we turn it into an emerging routine. Where you're on the clutch, arriving very slowly and in 1st gear. We're assuming we're stopping so arriving with P.O.M in mind. Once again you'll be adopting the M-S-M routine for these. On approach you may see the mini roundabout sign (image 1). This lets you know that you simply need to do all the signalling on approach.
Turning left - You follow the same procedure as for approaching left. You will need to give way to those coming from the right, but do not fall into the trap of only watching those coming from this direction, sometimes people coming from the left go all the way around the roundabout, so take effective observations from all directions.
Turning right - This is the same as approaching when turning right. Don't be too far to the right. Come into the roundabout in a fairly straight line, clipping the white circle on the floor is OK. We don't want to see any wiggling to the left to get around the markings. This could see you clip a cyclist, who potentially has snuck up along side you. It would also see the signal cancel, making you hard to anticipate
Going straight on - Again, employ the M-S-M routine on approach at the mini roundabout, but with no signal. This allows everyone to know you intend to go straight.
We give way to those coming from the right, but if there is no exit on the right, then you give way to those coming from your closest right hand exit, this can often be in front of you.
Double Mini Roundabouts
Treat each one individually using the information above. In image 4 you can see dashed lines between the roundabouts, this is where you would need to stop for traffic on the second roundabout if they were to be crossing your path. An extra point for consideration is whether your final exit is clear; you don't want to be sitting on the roundabout clogging it up. The blue car in the image has to give way to the green car as at the second roundabout this car is coming from his right. Click the link to see more detailed information on this type of junction.
On approach you may see a warning triangle (image 2) and will more often than not see large diagrams (image 5) giving important information as to the layout of the roundabout. It's vital to observe these and to formulate a plan on how to deal with the junction.
These roundabouts often have more than one lane going around them and the most important thing is to maintain lane discipline and position yourself correctly. Be slow enough to get in the observations you'll need to safely deal with the junction.
Turning left (Car A on image 6) - Once again you'll need your M-S-M routine. This sequence is assuming it's clear in front of you and you're looking to go first time. Check your interior mirror, left door mirror, signal to the left, stay in the left lane, reduce your speed to 10/15mph and be in 2nd gear with several car lengths to spare.
Look to the right for traffic coming onto the roundabout or from behind the floral display (or what ever else is in the middle of the roundabout itself), to the left to see if your exit is clear and if it's safe then away you go, making sure you keep your normal drive position.
Once into the new road, cancel your signal if it hasn’t done so automatically and check your mirrors once you start making progress.
Going straight (Car B on image 6) - Unless told otherwise by road markings or road signs, stay in the left hand lane. At some very large roundabouts there could potentially be 3 lanes on approach to the roundabout, in which case, you may need to be the middle lane. Look for information on where you need to be. This could be in the form of a sign, or arrows on the ground.
Check your interior mirror and left door mirror, no signal, reduce your speed to 10/15mph and arrive in 2nd gear. Look to the right for other road users and if it's clear then emerge. The most important thing here is maintain lane discipline, stay to the left!
Once you have passed the penultimate exit you will need to let people know what your intentions are. Check your interior mirror, left door mirror, signal to the left and take your exit. Once into the new road, a quick mirror check and make progress.
Turning right (Car C on image 6) - This can be more daunting. On approach check your interior mirror and this time right door mirror to see what is potentially on your right or to see if the right hand lane is free. Signal to the right, your position will have to change this time, drift into the right lane/keep the hazard lines on the middle of the road down the right flank of the car.
Your speed once again will need to be reduced to 10/15mph and you'll be in 2nd gear. A low speed will be very useful here as you have so much to do whilst leaving.
Look to the right for other road users and if clear, emerge into the roundabout, however, this time you'll need to cross over into the lane closest to the roundabout itself.
Keep the roundabout on your right hand side until you have passed your penultimate exit then you'll need to let people know behind you that you intend to come off.
Mirrors first, interior and left door mirror, then signal to the left. Don't try this until you have seen your exist and you begin to take the turn off. Once you have completed the first set of checks and applied the signal, your wheels should be fairly straight.
Usually you'll be wanting to come off in a straight line (the solid red line in image 6), but before you start to cut across the lane you MUST check your mirrors again for cars on your left flank. Especially when coming from and into a dual carriageway section of road.
This is why going slow is so crucial. You could very well have a car sitting next to you wanting to take your exit and in the lane you're about to move into.
If no car is there, then take your exit and come off in the left. If there is a car there, then you'll need to exit in the right-hand lane (the dashed red line in image 6). If you do come off in this lane, don't panic, you're allowed to be here.
However, you will need to make progress and at some stage get back into the left-hand lane, making sure you check your mirrors and act sensibly on what you see before doing so.
Should I stay or should I go?
It's a tricky one. This is why approaching at 10/12/15mph in 2nd is a good idea, it gives you time to LADA (Look Assess Decide Act).
The golden rule here is not to make anyone slow down who is already on or coming onto the roundabout from the right. Your view of the roundabout is not amazing and often other divers signal incorrectly or not at all, so what we're looking for here is the position of other road users.
When looking to the right just before we get there, if there are cars in the outside lane (the lane furthest from you) and you can't see where they have come from (so not the right exit which we can see) they are going to leave, NOT cross your path and it's clear to go. If a car is on the inside lane, closest to the roundabout, then we wait. This car is going to cross your path and we have to give way to them.
Through exposure to these types of junction, you'll gain experience and soon you'll understand the movements of all the vehicles on the roundabout. It comes in time. Don't stress if you haven't grasped it after the first few times of coming across these junctions.
Other cars moving at high speeds doesn't help and in fact slows the progress of everyone else down. Another reason for being slow on the junction, it oddly helps the traffic flow better.