How to deal with big roundabouts
Bigger roundabouts often scare learners. They shouldn’t though. With enough practice you will find that they are relatively easy to do.
Here are some tips to help you deal with them.
1. Know where you are going
If you know where you are going on a roundabout, it will make it a lot easier to deal with. If you don’t know where the exit you need is, you are going to have to try and work it out as you go around the roundabout which can be difficult as you may be trying to focus on other things like what lane you should be in.
Here are some tips so you know where you have to go:
Identify the exit before you get onto the roundabout
Ask the examiner if you are unsure
Choose a fixed point like a building, tree, bridge, or anything like that so you have something to aim for as you go around the roundabout
2. Choose the correct lane
Choosing the correct lane nice and early could be the difference between entering the roundabout easily or going the wrong direction completely.
To keep it simple, if you are going left 1st exit, you need to stick to the left as you approach the roundabout.
If you are going right, the keep right. There may be roundabouts near where you live that have lanes for only turning left or for only going straight.
It's good idea to familiarise yourself with these types of roundabouts so that you are confident about which lane to use.
Check for signs that tell you what lane to use
If using a SatNav, it may tell you which lanes you can use ( Click here for tips on using a SatNav )
Look for floor markings which tell you where you can go in that lane
If in doubt, ask the examiner
Know what lane you are going to be using well before you approach the roundabout
3. Plan your exit
This is linked to the points above. If you have already identified where you are going and are in the correct lane, leaving the roundabout should be straight forward. On most big roundabouts, the lanes are designed in such a way that once you get into the correct lane, that lane will take you to your exit. There are some however that are not designed that way. On some roundabouts you will have to change lanes so that you can come off the roundabout. Not planning this properly may mean that you either can’t get off on the exit you want or you have to go past a lot of lanes to get off the roundabout which may not be safe.
As you approach your exit, start thinking about going towards the left so that you are not near the middle of the roundabout by the time you get to your exit
Check your mirrors if you need to switch lanes to get closer to your exit
If you are too into the middle of the roundabout and there are too many lanes between you and your exit, it may be safer to continue to the next ( as long as that exit is not leading to a motorway ) or go round again until you get to your exit.
4. Don’t rush to get on
The bigger roundabouts are usually near dual carriageways which tend to be fast roads. For that reason, it is really important that when you are waiting to get onto the roundabout, you take into account that the vehicles that are coming from the right might be coming towards you at very high speeds. Don’t rush to get on. Only go when you know it is safe to do so.
Have your car ready to go ( Gas, Biting point, Hand on the handrake…)
Keep your eyes on the right for a big enough gap
If you get beeped, don’t panic. Stay relaxed and only go when you feel it is safe to go.
Look out for vehicles that are signalling to go left, this may give you a chance to go
If there are vehicles coming from the right, they may change lanes as they go round so be careful not to cut them up. It may be best to wait until the right is clear or you have a large gap in traffic.
Once you decide to go, don’t go too slowly as there may be vehicles that are coming from the right at high speed
5. Watch out for traffic lights
A lot of the bigger roundabouts are controlled by traffic lights. You might not have a traffic light where you are entering the roundabout but there may be one or two in the middle of the roundabout. Keep an eye on these lights as going through a red would be very dangerous and definitely cost you your test.
Look out for traffic lights before you enter the roundabout
If you are in heavy traffic, keep an eye on the lights as they may turn red without you realising
If where you are entering is controlled by lights and you have a green light, don’t hesitate to get onto the roundabout
Once you get on to the roundabout, look out for traffic lights that might be in the middle of the roundabout. If they are red, make sure you stop by the stop line and keep an eye on them for when they go green again.
6. Know how to signal
It might sound simple but signalling on big roundabouts requires a bit of practice.
Here are some simple rules to remember:
Left first exit – signal left before you get onto the roundabout
Straight second exit – No signal as you enter the roundabout then signal left after the first exit
Right third exit – Signal right before entering the roundabout, then signal left after the second exit
As you can see from the above, on big roundabouts, you always want to signal left before you come off the roundabout. This is not the same on mini roundabouts.
7. Practice makes perfect
The more you practice the more confident you will become. Get out there and get some experience. It may seem difficult at first but soon you will see how easy it can be.