Saturday, April 20

How to react to six common situations in roundabouts

There are still many drivers who do not follow the norm and put their safety and that of other drivers at risk


Roundabouts are a special type of intersection. In them the general rule of priority of the right is broken in favor of those who already circulate within it. Many drivers find it difficult to navigate correctly through them. In fact, according to
Associated European Motorists (AEA), a
10% of accidents occur at roundabouts.

Therefore, given the lack of knowledge that still exists about the norm, the
General direction of traffic (DGT) us
explains the basic rules to approach a roundabout safely (entrance, internal circulation and exit) and how to act in six frequent situations in roundabouts.


The general rule says that the entrance to a roundabout should always be from the right lane when it is free and possible. But when the right lane is congested, there is an exception to that rule: entry from the left lane, directly into the roundabout, is allowed for ease of access. And in addition, circulation is allowed in the interior lane until the last exits.

For its part, the output rule also has its exception. Normally, a roundabout is always left in the right lane, taking it early enough to avoid dangerous cross paths between vehicles. It will only be allowed to leave from an inside lane when a sign (an arrow on the ground, for example) indicates it. «We all see it normal to exit a highway from the lane closest to the exit. But with roundabouts it’s sometimes hard to understand the importance of this simple rule for safety. A slight ‘touch’ on the rear vertex of a moving vehicle can cause it to overturn with serious consequences for its occupants”, explains the DGT Driver Training Area.

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In roundabouts there is no rule of priority to the right, as occurs in the rest of the linear intersections: in a roundabout, vehicles entering must respect the priority of those already inside and give way to them. But be careful, because in large roundabouts there may be vertical signs or traffic lights, which force vehicles to stop inside to give way to those who access and make traffic more fluid.

And others
two complicated situations to take into account. First, watch out for cyclists in a group: they enjoy right of way as if they were a single vehicle when the first one has already entered the roundabout. And, second, beware of large vehicles: they can block vision and take up several lanes to maneuver into or out of the roundabout.

And the skateboards…

Drivers of electric scooters, protagonists of the new urban mobility, are users of public roads and must, like the rest, comply with all traffic regulations, also those specific to roundabouts: adjust speed, give priority to those who circulate inside, signpost lane changes and exits, and enter and leave the roundabouts from the outside, as a general rule. For other drivers, the appearance of a scooter in a roundabout means increasing precautions against more fragile users who circulate at lower speeds, maneuver easily in a small space and can be more unstable.

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