Roundabouts

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R oundabouts are designed to improve the flow of traffic at busy junctions by allowing streams of traffic to cross or merge with traffic from other roads without necessarily stopping. On roundabouts, traffic should only flow in an anti-clockwise direction around the island in the centre of the roundabout. The general rule is that, traffic entering the roundabout must give way to traffic already on the roundabout approaching from the left.

 Approaching Roundabouts

When approaching a roundabout you apply the MSPSL or hazard routine and observe the major road ahead as early as possible. Unlike other junctions most roundabouts would have an open view, which make it easy to assess the flow of traffic on the roundabout at an early stage. This should give you enough time to adjust your speed so that, if possible, you can merge safely into the flow of traffic from the left without stopping. Unless road signs and markings or traffic conditions dictate otherwise, follow the normal rules discussed in previous articles for positioning on approach as you would at any junction.

As  you  are about to merge into a roundabout, always keep an eye on the vehicle in front and do not assume the driver in front would not stop while you are still carrying out your observation to the left. You should bear in mind that many rear end collisions happen this way. Therefore, make sure the vehicle in front has actually moved before you move.

 Your first warning of a roundabout ahead will often be a roundabout warning sign. After checking your mirrors and giving a signal if required, you need to ensure that you are in the correct lane. Take special care with long vehicles or vehicles towing another vehicle, as they might take an unusual course around the roundabout.

Turning Right at Roundabouts

Turning right means you are taking the first exit from the roundabout. The routine for turning right is as follows:

Check your mirrors with special emphasis on the interior mirror and right door mirror.

Approach in the right-hand lane with a right-turn signal.

Maintain your signal and position as you drive to your exit.

Cancel your signal after you leave the roundabout.

Check your mirrors again to make sure that it is safe to pick up speed

Going Ahead at Roundabouts

Going ahead means taking the second exit or any exit that is not a right turn. As a guide on lane to follow, imagine the roundabout as a clock face, with you approaching from the six o’clock position. Going ahead would be the twelve o’clock position. When exiting the roundabout, if the right lane is blocked, or if it is safe to use the left-hand lane to pass slower moving traffic, then you can use the left-hand lane. The normal routine for going ahead is as follows:

Check your mirrors with special emphasis on the interior mirror and right door mirror.

Approach in the right-hand lane without signal.

Maintain your right lane position as you drive to your exit.

Signal right as you pass or have passed the exit before the one you want to take.

Cancel your signal after you leave the roundabout.

Check your mirrors again to make sure that it is safe to pick up speed

Turning Left at Roundabouts

Left turns are any roads which take you beyond twelve o’clock at the roundabout. The routine for turning left is as follows:

Check your mirrors with special emphasis on the interior mirror and left door mirror.

Approach in the left-hand lane signalling to the left.

Maintain your left-hand lane position until you pass or have passed the exit before the one you want to take.

Make full use of mirrors, signal and start to move across to your exit.

Cancel your signal after you leave the roundabout.

Check your mirrors again to make sure that it is safe to pick up speed

 If using a roundabout to make a U-turn, approach as if you are turning left and use the Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre routine before signalling to leave the roundabout.

 In next week’s article we shall be discussing one way streets or systems using the MSPSL or hazard routine. For further explanations or clarification on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.

Stephen K. Dieseruvwe

Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)

**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant

**Email: sdieseruvwe@gmail.com

**Tel: +2348167814928

In next week’s article we shall be discussing approaching and emerging at crossroads, that is, turning from a major to minor road; turning from a minor road to a major road; and crossing a major road using the MSPSL or hazard routine. For further explanations or clarification on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.

Stephen K. Dieseruvwe

Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)

**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant

**Email: sdieseruvwe@gmail.com

**Tel: +2348167814928