How to Read and Use Roundabout Signs

Roundabouts are common features of the road network in England. They are designed to improve traffic flow and safety by reducing the need for traffic lights and stop signs. However, roundabouts can also be confusing and intimidating for some drivers, especially those who are unfamiliar with them. One of the main sources of confusion is the roundabout sign, which shows the layout and exits of the roundabout. In this article, we will explain how to read and use roundabout signs in England, so you can approach them with confidence and ease.

What is a Roundabout Signs

A roundabout sign is a sign that you see before or at the entrance of a roundabout. It gives you information about the roundabout, such as the number and direction of exits, the type and number of lanes, and the destinations that each exit leads to. Roundabout signs come in different shapes, sizes, and colours, depending on the type and location of the roundabout. They usually have a circular diagram of the roundabout, with numbered exits and coloured lines indicating the lanes. The gap in the circle reminds drivers to travel around the roundabout clockwise. Sometimes, there are also arrows or markings on the road that correspond to the sign.

How to Use a Roundabout Sign

A roundabout sign helps you plan your route and choose the correct lane before you enter the roundabout. Here are some steps to follow:

 As you approach the roundabout:

look for the roundabout sign and read it carefully. Identify the exit number and destination that you want to take. For example, if you want to go to Oxford, look for the exit number and the word “Oxford” on the sign.

Check the colour of the sign and the lines on the diagram. This tells you the type of road that you are on and that you are going to. For example, if the sign is green and the lines are yellow, you are on a primary route and you are going to another primary route. If the sign is white and the lines are black, you are on a local road and you are going to another local road. If the sign is blue and the lines are white, you are on a motorway and you are going to another motorway. If the sign is brown and the lines are white, you are going to a tourist attraction.

Check the thickness of the lines on the diagram. This tells you the number of lanes on each road. For example, if the lines are thick, there are two or more lanes. If the lines are thin, there is only one lane. This information helps you choose the correct lane for your exit. Generally, you should use the left lane for the first half of the exits, and the right lane for the second half of the exits, unless the sign or the road markings indicate otherwise. For example, if there are four exits, you should use the left lane for exits 1 and 2, and the right lane for exits 3 and 4.

Check for any stubby roads on the diagram. These are short roads that are not drivable but are included in the number of exits. They are usually next to and in line with a genuine exit, and they indicate an entrance from a major road. For example, if there is a stubby road between exits 2 and 3, it means that there is a road joining the roundabout from the opposite direction. You should not count the stubby road as an exit, but you should be aware of the traffic coming from it.

Roundabout sign shows stubby roads

 Once you have chosen your exit and lane, signal your intention and enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so. Keep in your lane and follow the signs and markings. Do not change lanes or overtake on the roundabout, unless it is necessary and safe. Signal your exit and leave the roundabout when you reach your exit. Be careful of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians on and around the roundabout.

Some Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you use roundabout signs more effectively:

– Remember that the “12 o’clock rule” is not a real rule, but a guideline made up by driving instructors. It means that you can generally use either lane up to the first two-lane road, unless the sign or the markings say otherwise. For example, if your exit is before 12 o’clock on the diagram, you can use the left or the right lane. If your exit is after 12 o’clock, you should use the right lane. However, this rule does not apply to all roundabouts, so always check the sign and the markings before you enter.

– Be aware that horse riders and cyclists may use the left lane to reach any exit, so watch out for them and give them plenty of space. Do not cut them off or force them to change lanes. If you are a horse rider or a cyclist, you should signal your exit clearly and move to the centre of the lane when you are ready to leave the roundabout.

– Be prepared for different types of roundabouts, such as mini-roundabouts, spiral roundabouts, and double roundabouts. These roundabouts have different signs and markings and may require different manoeuvres. For example, on a mini-roundabout, you should give way to traffic from the right, and go around the central island. On a spiral roundabout, you should follow the lane markings and change lanes gradually as you go around the roundabout. On a double roundabout, you should treat each roundabout separately and follow the signs and markings for each one.

– Be flexible and adaptable. Sometimes, the roundabout sign may not match the actual layout of the roundabout, due to road works, accidents, or changes. In this case, you should use your common sense and follow the road markings and the traffic flow. If you are unsure, you can always go around the roundabout again until you find your exit.

Conclusion

Roundabout signs are useful tools that help you navigate roundabouts in England. They provide you with information about the roundabout, such as the number and direction of exits, the type and number of lanes, and the destinations that each exit leads to. By reading and using roundabout signs correctly, you can plan your route and choose the correct lane before you enter the roundabout. This will make your driving safer, smoother, and more enjoyable.

Posted on Mar 1, 2024 by Sam

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How to Read and Use Roundabout Signs

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