What lane should I use on a roundabout?

Driving | rules of the road

Roundabouts come in different sizes, some with more exits than others. A few are controlled by traffic lights while others are regulated by road markings.

What is the purpose of a roundabout?

  • Roundabouts reduce delays. Compared with the stop-and-go progress at intersections controlled by traffic lights, traffic flows more smoothly at roundabouts
  • Roundabouts are used to reduce the risk of collisions. Cars go around roundabouts at slower speeds, so it is easier to avoid a crash
  • Roundabouts are used to reduce pollution. The emissions from vehicles on roundabouts are fewer than they would be at traffic light junctions

How to use a roundabout properly?

Ask any driving instructor and they’ll tell you the same thing: think of the roundabout as a clock.

  • When taking any exit from the 6 o’clock to the 12 o’clock position, motorists should approach in the left-hand lane
  • When taking any exit between the 12 o’clock to the 6 o’clock positions, motorists should approach in the right-hand lane
  • If there are road markings showing you what lane you should be in, follow those

When approaching a roundabout:

  • Look for directional arrows, road markings or signs that may indicate which lane you should use for the exit you’re taking
  • Move into the correct lane in good time. Make use of the [clock rule](http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Road Safety/Leaflets/Leaf_booklets/Roundabouts_DL_2012_v3.pdf) to plan a safe course of action, or if there are road markings indicating which route to take, follow them
  • Treat the roundabout as a junction; yield to traffic coming from the right, and if the junction is completely clear and it’s safe to do so, keep moving
  • Remember ‘mirror, signal, mirror, manoeuvre’ at all stages. First use your mirrors to check for any traffic following behind you and signal your intentions in good time to give other road users appropriate warning
  • Be aware of the speed and position of all traffic around you and adjust your speed to fit in with traffic conditions

When you want to make a left turn:

  • Give way to the traffic coming from the right and once the junction is clear, proceed
  • Approach in the left-hand lane, let other drivers know where you want to go by indicating ‘left’ as you approach
  • Keep to the left on the roundabout and continue to signal left until you have taken the left exit

When you want to go straight ahead (any exit to the left of 12 o’clock)

  • Unless road markings say otherwise, approach in the left-hand lane. Do not indicate left until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take

When you want to go right (those exits past 12 o’clock on the right side)

  • Approach in the right-hand lane. Indicate ‘right’ on your approach and leave your indicator on until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take
  • Keep to the right lane on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
  • Once you’ve reached the exit you want to take, check your mirrors and indicate ‘left’ to let other drivers know that you’re leaving the roundabout

On a roundabout, always watch out for

  • Pedestrians who may crossing the approach and exit roads
  • Traffic crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cyclists and horse riders who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout
  • Longer vehicles who may have to take a different course approaching or on the roundabout because of their length

While roundabouts are great at preventing serious crashes, they may bring on more non-fatal collisions, so it's important to know how to navigate them. We hope these videos help keep you safe, and keep your no claims bonus pristine too.

Source(s):

http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Road%20Safety/Leaflets/Leaf_booklets/Roundabouts_DL_2012_v3.pdf http://www.aclassschoolofmotoring.com/news/how-to-use-to-roundabouts http://www.drivingschoolireland.com/roundabouts.html

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