How to Handle Roundabouts

When you’re learning to drive, it can seem like you’re facing one anxiety after another. If it’s not the initial fear of the road, it’s parallel parking, pulling out into traffic, or roundabouts. Where we teach people to drive in Birmingham and the surrounds, there are some great examples of multi-lane roundabouts that can put the fear into even the most experienced of drivers.

But the thing about roundabouts – and every single other aspect of driving – is that the fear comes from lack of understanding. If you take the time to get to know the system, and have plenty of lesson time to practise, you’ll soon be ready to confront any roundabout you encounter. No matter the size.

Learning How to Handle Roundabouts

NB – This lesson was filmed in 2019, before the need for Covid-19 safety precautions. We now wear masks in all lessons.

How should you approach a roundabout?

The reason that so many learner drivers find roundabouts scary is because so much seems to be happening. That’s why the most important thing for you to do is to be aware of everything that’s going on around you. So, use your mirrors throughout the manoeuvre, be aware of lane markings and road signs, and be sure to let other drivers know your intentions.

Then, to approach the roundabout:

  • Decide which exit you need to take.
  • Signal appropriately.
  • Move into the correct lane, adjusting your speed to the traffic as you go.

OK, so you’re thinking that that sounds fine on paper, but it’s a whole lot harder when you’ve got a wheel in front of you and traffic on either side. And you’re right. But that’s where understanding the theory comes in. And the easiest way get to grips with roundabouts is to understand lanes and exits.

Roundabouts: which lane for which exit

So, these are the rules, unless the road markings state otherwise:

  • If you’re planning to take the first exit, stay left.
  • If you’re planning to go straight ahead or use any exit other than the first or last, take the middle lane. Keeping an eye on what’s going on around you, signal and move into the left lane once you’ve passed the exit before the one you’re intending to use.
  • For the last exit, move into the right-hand lane and stay there until you’ve passed the exit before the one you’re intending to take. Then, paying attention to other road users, signal and move across.

Every roundabout is different. And some will have their own set of rules, so it’s important to pay attention to road signs and markings as you drive. But in most cases, the above guidance will see you through. Whether you’re driving on a mini-roundabout or a multi-lane beast.

You can find the official rules for handling roundabouts in your Highway Code. If you don’t yet have a copy (why not?), you can browse The Highway Code online. But once you’ve got your head around the theory, there’s no better way to remove the fear from roundabout navigation than to practise. If you’re learning with DGN, we’ll make sure that your driving lessons take in a range of different roundabouts so that by the time that you get to testing day, you’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about.

So, are you ready? Book your DGN driving lessons today!

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Thomas Baugh

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