There are only three scenarios you will encounter when driving around a roundabout:
- you are turning left immediately
- you are going straight through
- you are taking another exit
Where there are more than four exits off a roundabout, and in that case you should pay attention to the road markings as you approach it, then use the rules below.
When you exit a roundabout it must be preceded by you indicating left. That means that if you are turning left straight away then you will be indicating left as you approach and enter the roundabout (see the orange car), and for all other turns you will indicate left as you pass the exit before the one you want to take.
If you are going straight through (see the blue car), then drive in the lanes which are indicated by the road markings (there will be a straight arrow), and do not signal until you pass the exit before the one you want to take. Many drivers make a mistake here and indicate right even though they are going straight ahead. This is not correct. You only indicate right if you are actually turning right.
If you are turning right (see the green car) you will almost always approach the roundabout in the right-hand lane (unless road markings allow otherwise) and you will indicate right until you go past the exit before the one you want to take, then you indicate left, check over your shoulder and move off the roundabout into the appropriate lane. Even if you are technically turning right, you always must turn ‘left’ to get off the roundabout.
If you miss your exit, keep indicating right and go all the way around the roundabout.
If the roundabout has more than four exits, look at the road markings to determine which direction is straight through. For all exits you must indicate left before you take the exit. Bear in mind that if you indicate left and don’t take that exit that cars coming onto the roundabout just after that exit might think you are turning and could pull out in front of you.
Other roundabout rules and guidelines
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
Look forward before moving off to make sure traffic in front has moved off – you don’t want to run into the back of the vehicle in front
On roundabouts controlled by traffic lights, try to anticipate the phases to reduce your need to use the brakes, but be aware you are not holding up other traffic.
Motorbikes should pay particular attention to not driving in other vehicles’ blind spots
On roundabouts with shoulders to allow heavy vehicles to get round, don’t use these shoulders unless you need to.
If you have to stop on a roundabout, for example if the exit is blocked, don’t block traffic from entering the roundabout.
Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.