Roundabouts sometimes send even the most experienced drivers into a panic. But never fear: IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving standards Richard Gladman is here to help you out.
There are a few simple guidelines to follow:
Information: Look well ahead; check your mirrors so that you know what other traffic there is around you. Give any signals in plenty of time. Try and identify a gap in the traffic before you reach the roundabout, but keep an eye on the car in front – they may not go for the gap you would.
Position: Approach the roundabout according to which exit you’re taking. Keep to the left lane to turn left or go straight and the right lane when taking an exit on the right. Watch for any road markings guiding you and try to give other vehicles plenty of space.
Speed: Slow down smoothly to a speed that’s appropriate for the roundabout and will allow you to stop, taking into account the position of other road users.
Gears: Once you’re at the right speed, and before turning, select the correct gear. If you do need to change gear on a roundabout, do it when the steering is on a set position. Do a final mirror check, especially the mirror on the side you are turning towards.
Accelerate: At a roundabout choose a gap in the traffic and accelerate smoothly into it – the same applies to any other junction.
Richard said: “At roundabouts, your plan from a way back is to stop. But gathering information can allow you to proceed. It is useful to try and consider the whole thing as one manoeuvre – that way you have a plan about which lane to be in, when to move into that lane, and what signals you expect to use. But you need to prepare to be flexible – other road users don’t always behave as we’d expect them to.”