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Traffic Circles and the Correct Use Thereof

Question:

My understanding of the rule with regards to traffic circles, is that one gives way to the right until it is free for you to go. In the Cape, this is how motorists drive, however in Gauteng these are treated similar to 4-Way stops. Please clarify the rule(s) in this regard?

Answer:

The rules of driving on public roads applies the same throughout South Africa, irrespective of the province. According to the K53 driving manual a motorist at a traffic circle must yield to traffic from the right and only enter the circle if there is a break in traffic and after making certain that it is safe to do so. The rules specifically state “proceed, if safe and stop, if necessary”. The yield sign indicates to a motorist to slow down upon approaching a traffic circle, but ideally one is not required to stop. However a motorist must stop and wait at the yield sign if there is no safe opportunity to enter the traffic circle. It must be remembered that traffic circles are meant to facilitate the constant flow of traffic at an intersection but stopping completely may be required if necessary.

The K53 driving manual distinguishes between roundabouts and mini-circles. The rules that apply to mini-circles states that right of way shall be given to traffic crossing the yield line first. This may ultimately mean that it would operate similar to a four-way stop.

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