Spiral Roundabouts

If you find normal roundabouts confusing enough, spiral roundabouts will really send you into a spin!

Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks to getting spiral roundabouts right:

• You need to recognise the difference between a spiral and a normal roundabout.
• You need to find the correct lane when approaching and joining the roundabout.
• Once in the correct lane, you need to stick with it and let it carry you off the roundabout.

Identifying a spiral roundabout
This is a spiral roundabout:

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This is a spiral roundabout:

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This is not a spiral roundabout:

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You can explore these images in greater detail by zooming in or out and panning around. You might have to look quite closely in order to see the difference.

In the first two images, the lanes spiral outwards from the centre of the roundabout. If you start out in the right lane and continue to follow that lane, it will eventually take you off the roundabout. Examine the images and try to follow the lanes.

In the third image, the lanes go nowhere. They do not guide you in a spiral formation toward the exits, so this one is not a spiral roundabout. The lane markings are there as guide to help people take a sensible position as they navigate the roundabout.

For example, look at the black and the white cars entering from the right of the roundabout. The white car has approached in the right lane and the black car in the middle lane. The lane markings on the roundabout help them to maintain the same position as they join the roundabout. Without those guidelines, they might get in the way of each other.

Take a look at this one:

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Spiral or not spiral?

Finding the correct lane
The above image is a good one for showing how the road markings on spiral roundabouts are supposed to work. Look at the bottom-left of the roundabout and imagine you are going to the Retail Park (you may have to zoom in to see the markings properly). In this case you would need to use either the middle or the right lane.

Now imagine you are driving onto the roundabout. Look at the lines that are formed by little white dots. These are temporary lane markings which help you to find the lane on the roundabout that corresponds to the lane you approached in. The blue car that's approaching in the left lane is guided around to the left. Anyone approaching in the middle lane is guided to the middle. Anyone in the right lane is guided to the right lane of the roundabout.

This roundabout has dotted lines at every point of entry. The dots are only for people joining the roundabout. Once you've joined, you can safely ignore the dots.

Staying in lane
Now that you are on the roundabout and in the correct lane (the one that corresponds to your approach lane), all you need to do is continue following the lane you are in. This is just like lane discipline in normal driving: don't cross the white lines either side of you unless you have a good reason. You will not normally need to change lanes on a spiral roundabout. If you do need to change lanes, make sure you check it is safe before you do so. Signal if necessary.

Once you are following your lane, it should guide you off the roundabout and into the exit you were looking for. As you follow the lane, keep an eye on the road markings to confirm you are still on course for your destination.

Get animated examples with the interactive Roundabouts app for iPad