The Magic Roundabout

What lane do I get into? Which exit do I take?

Recognise the above two questions…

Roundabouts are one thing that you WILL have to learn to deal with when becoming a learner driver. Whether you like them or not. Getting used to them just takes time, education and practice.

So what’s the first thing that pops into your head when approaching a roundabout. I bet for a lot of you, its the speed at which the roundabout is running and they do run at different speeds in different places at different times of day.

Rush hour is always going to be busier than approaching the same roundabout at 5 am and a roundabout coming off the A127 is going to be totally different than a mini roundabout off a quiet side ride.

And they don’t always have to be round!

So here at A Pass 4 You, we thought you might be interested in gaining a little knowledge of the Roundabout etiquette that you will be taught on your lessons and put into practice when you are driving, including on your test and beyond as a fully qualified driver.

Get out the Highway Code and read up on your road signs.

As you approach a roundabout. You will need to act on the information given to you – so best to know a little about the meaning of the signs.

Always remember: Positioning is incredibly important – (if you’re going left, then you don’t want to be in the right hand lane!)

The rules of the road are incredibly important to follow, so here are the 7 Roundabout Rules as presented by the UK Government.


On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane. You should:

1) Use “Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre” at all stages.

2) Decide as early as possible which exit you need to take.

3) Give an appropriate signal (see Rule 186, below). Time your signals so as not to confuse other road users.

4) Get into the correct lane.

5) Adjust your speed and position to fit in with traffic conditions.

6) Be aware of the speed and position of all the road users around you.

 When reaching the roundabout you should:

1) Give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights.

2) Check whether road markings allow you to enter the roundabout without giving way. If so, proceed, but still look to the right before joining.

3) Watch out for all other road users already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling correctly or at all.

4) Look forward before moving off to make sure traffic in front has moved off.

Signals and position

When taking the first exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise:

1) Signal left and approach in the left-hand lane.

2) Keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise:

1) Signal right and approach in the right-hand lane.

2) Keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout.

3) Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise:

1) Select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout.

2) You should not normally need to signal on approach.

3) Stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout.

4) Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it.

In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to:

1) Pedestrians who may be crossing the approach and exit roads.

2) Traffic crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit.

3) Traffic which may be straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly.

4) Motorcyclists.

5) Cyclists and horse riders who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout, allow them to do so.

6) Long vehicles (including those towing trailers). These might have to take a different course or straddle lanes either approaching or on the roundabout because of their length. Watch out for their signals.

Mini Roundabouts

 Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so. Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts. Beware of others doing this.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1) & 16(1)

At double mini-roundabouts treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right.

Multiple Roundabouts

At some complex junctions, there may be a series of mini-roundabouts at each intersection. Treat each mini-roundabout separately and follow the normal rules.

Q. How do I deal with an emergency vehicle approaching behind me if on a roundabout?

A. If you are approaching the roundabout, then slow down and allow to emergency vehicle to reach, navigate and leave the roundabout before you carry on with your journey. If you are already positioned on a roundabout, then the best thing that you can do is continue with your positioning and manoeuvre, until it is safe for you to signal and pull over to the side of the road, getting out of the way of whichever emergency vehicle is behind you. I know the urge will be there to get out of its way quickly but you must remember the other road users as well before committing to the procedure. An emergency vehicle should not intimidate you to get out of the way.I hope this advice makes you feel a little more confident about tackling a roundabout and remember, as I always say – talk to your instructor or A Pass 4 You about any concerns or fears you may have.