Hawkwell Driving School - Driving lessons in Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge.    Tel. 01702 204674

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How to deal with roundabouts - entering and timing:

Assessing the traffic flow:
Try to work out what is happening as you approach, and try to keep moving if you can (photo below). Look at the roundabout as a whole. Any traffic coming from the left, that is turning towards you, will affect the traffic on your right, and may give you the opportunity to continue. Likewise any traffic from the opposite side of the roundabout, straight ahead of you, is likely to interrupt the traffic from your right, as it comes across. Large vehicles often provide a gap as they block parts of the roundabout as they turn.



Approach speed:
If you can try to adjust your speed on approach to fit in with the traffic flow so you don't have to stop unnecessarily. However approach at a speed so that you can stop behind the line, even if it looks like it might be clear to proceed. Then if anything takes you by surprise, you can still stop safely.

Note: Stopping when the roundabout is clear can fail you on test, because drivers behind won't expect it, and you may cause an accident (although legally it would be be the fault of the driver behind ?)

For a general simple approach method you can approach all roundabouts in second gear: Get the speed down to 20mph, and then into 2nd gear, before you get to the final approach curve (photo below). Either continue in that gear if the roundabout is clear - or stop and put it into first gear.



The most important thing is to get the approach speed right: If you don't get the speed pinned down on approach you will not be able to maintain your lane position, and you won't have time to look properly! Many people find it difficult get the entrance speed right, especially after a long straight. It is often the gear change, whilst slowing that confuses. Just remember that if you are going too fast - Stay on the brake!  If necessary, change gear, AND bring the clutch up, while you are still braking. If you're going too fast - Stay on the brake!  

NOTE:. When you are pulling away you can't get the biting point while you are on the brake - while you are slowing down you can!

Postioning for a good view:
If you are not in the right-hand lane yourself, then try not to be alongside another vehicle that is in the right-hand lane. This is because the car (or more usually a 4-wheel drive, or white van man) next to you on your right will block your view of the roundabout. Try to stay either just ahead of them so that you can see, or just behind them.



Always make sure that you can see fully and never pull out next to someone that is partially blocking your view  (photo above) – they will not protect you!
A truck coming from your right that you cannot see, may miss the van (etc) next to you, and flatten you instead.








Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with
Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI. Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas