Roundabouts

Roundabout come in many different shapes and sizes. In the UK, we always give way to vehicles coming from the right at roundabouts.

Approaching - MSPSL
Mirrors: As ever, start the routine early. Know what is behind you and to the sides.

Signal: Signal if necessary. If you are turning left in the first exit, signal left on approach. If you are turning right (usually defined as past 12 o’clock), signal right on approach. If you are going ahead, do not signal on approach.

Position: Taking position on approach to a roundabout is much the same as it is for other junctions. Unless road signs direct you otherwise, you should position as follows. If you are turning left, take position on the left. If you are turning right, take position on the right. If you are going ahead, keep left.

Speed: Start bringing your speed down nice and early. Because you must give way to traffic coming from the right, you need to see what’s coming from the right on the roundabout. You also need to keep an eye on where you’re going. You won’t get this right if you don’t slow down!

Look: When approaching a roundabout, your observations should begin as early as possible. You need to look towards the right, but you must not stare! Several quick glances to the right will enable you to build up a complete picture of what’s happening, while still watching where you are going.

Gears
If you need to change gear, it will usually be one of the last things you do before joining the roundabout. Once you get close, and you’ve had a few good glances to the right, you will know which gear is needed to continue. This will usually be either first or second gear. Try to resist the temptation to change gear early. You will be taking pot luck and will probably need to change gear again before joining the roundabout.

On the roundabout
Take your time. Try to maintain a steady speed. Pay attention to your position and stay aware of other road users.

You may change gear on a roundabout if it is appropriate and you have a suitable opportunity. However, a sensible speed and good position are higher priorities than gear changing. Checking mirrors and signalling to exit also have a higher priority than gears.

Exiting the roundabout
If you are turning left into the 1st exit, you should already be signalling left on approach. Make sure this signal remains on until you have exited the roundabout.

If you are going into any other exit (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc), a separate left signal should be given before leaving the roundabout. The correct timing for this signal is just as you are passing the previous exit. For example, if taking the 2nd exit, you should signal left just as you are passing the 1st exit. As with any left signal, check your interior and left mirrors before giving the signal. Plan ahead and allow time for the mirrors first.

As you exit the roundabout, aim to resume your normal road position in the new road. Therefore, you should be on the left in the new road unless you have a valid reason for being elsewhere.

Once you have exited the roundabout, make sure your left signal has cancelled. If it does not cancel automatically, cancel it yourself. Be especially careful if you are going to move towards the right after exiting a roundabout (eg to pass a stationary vehicle): make sure your left signal is off before you move right.


Get animated examples with the interactive Roundabouts app for iPad