Home News The Highway Code rule for driving straight over a roundabout

The Highway Code rule for driving straight over a roundabout

The Highway Code rule for driving straight over a roundabout

Roundabouts can cause a lot of tension when you are attempting to cross one with multiple lanes – but the Highway Code gives a give answer about where drivers should position themselves. If you’ve ever been beeped at for being in the ‘wrong’ lane, or seen someone else driving incorrectly, you’re not alone – it’s a common issue on our roads. But who’s really right?

The Highway Code provides clear guidance. For the first exit to the left, unless signs say otherwise, signal left, approach in the left-hand lane, stay left on the roundabout and keep signalling left to exit. For an exit to the right or going full circle, again unless signs say otherwise, signal right, approach in the right-hand lane, stay right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit, and signal left after passing the exit before the one you want, reports WalesOnline.

But what if you’re going straight on, taking an ‘intermediate’ exit (like if the exit is at 12 o’clock as you approach)? This is where road rage can occur, especially from drivers who think you should be in the right lane. If that’s you, unfortunately, you’re mistaken. So, no need to beep at that elderly driver!

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When going straight on at a roundabout, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise, you should select the appropriate lane on approach. You should not normally need to signal on approach and stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout. After passing the exit before the one you want, you should signal left.

The code states that when there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it. In other words, use some common sense. For mini roundabouts, approach these in the same way as normal ones. All vehicles must pass round the central markings except large vehicles which can’t physically do so. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts.

The Highway Code adds: “When reaching the roundabout you should give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights, check whether road markings allow you to enter the roundabout without giving way. If so, proceed, but still look to the right before joining, watch out for all other road users already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling correctly or at all and look forward before moving off to make sure traffic in front has moved off.

“You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic. Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.

“Cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles may stay in the left-hand lane when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout and should signal right to show you they are not leaving the roundabout. Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane, who are continuing around the roundabout.

“In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to pedestrians who may be crossing the approach and exit roads, traffic crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit, traffic which may be straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly, motorcyclists, 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.”

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