Make the Circle Bigger – The AA’s Guide on how to use a Roundabout

Ever noticed how the proper way to use a traffic circle seems to be shrouded in a dark cloud of mystery – nobody knows how to use them! A proper traffic circle is NOT a stop sign, and they do not operate on a first-come, first served basis. There is only one rule that applies to a traffic roundabout and that is yield to the right! The AA has given some simple guides below on how to use a roundabout.

When you encounter a roundabout, the most important thing to remember, if you remember nothing else – give way to the right, simple – the motorists who are already in the circle or about to enter it from the right, have right of way.

It comes as no surprise that the majority of crashes on our roads are as a direct result of human error. Factor in our motorists’ notorious disregard of the law and a severe lack of driver education, and we have a cocktail for disaster.

“The main reason South Africa’s accident rate never really declines is because drivers are not aware of their surroundings, and many do not take the initiative to learn all they can about the road environment,” says the AA. “Traffic circles are there to calm traffic, reduce crash severity and keep traffic flowing at a safe pace, and knowing how to use them properly makes like on the road much simpler,” the AA adds.

The sooner motorists begin to understand why a roundabout is important, the sooner they can learn how to manoeuvre their vehicles in it.

Tips for roundabout manoeuvring:
o Signal your intention to turn left and go into your left-hand lane
o Most importantly, signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want. This is very important because if you do not signal, you can give motorists on your left the idea that you are taking an exit that is further up.
o Choose the suitable lane and stay in it until you need to alter your course to exit the roundabout. Pay attention to the road markings, but if there aren’t any, it is usually safest to keep in your left lane.

Mini-circles are a completely different kettle of fish. These can be identified as traffic circles either painted in the centre of the intersection or a slightly raised platform which can easily be driven over.

Here the rules change – treat as a four way stop. First come, first served.

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