Lesson 6: roundabouts
After the lesson about intersections, naturally the lesson about roundabouts follows; behaviour and observational technique are quite similar, priority plays a role and several categories of road users converge.
Here’s the correct order of doing things:
- scan while you approach (visibility, pedestrian crossings, other road users, traffic signs)
- adapt speed; always shift back to 2nd gear, in all cases
- observe: left, right, left, right. Almost every roundabout is equipped with pedestrian crossings, so not just the left is important
- adapt speed (and behaviour) to what you’ve seen (can you continue, do you or will you need to give priority, even in some cases traffic lights, continuation after leaving the roundabout, etc.)
- maintain speed on the roundabout itself
- observe blind spot: a cyclist on the roundabout will be on your right (where they belong). If the cyclist wants to follow the roundabout, he has priority
Although a roundabout is an intersection (and will be referred to as such during the practical exam), it’s clear that it’s different. Which is why it deserves it’s own lesson.
First off, most drivers already have the tendency to watch out only for other drivers, and often completely ignore pedestrians. Checking for pedestrians should be an integral part of your approach of any intersection; roundabouts included. This is as true for student-drivers as it is for experienced ones.
Then you have roundabouts with 2 or more lanes (I will not talk about the shameful chaos called Montgomery). Most people take whichever lane they want, but the 2nd lane (the one on the inside) is there for a different reason. What is that reason? Simple: the outside lane is there for the 1st and 2nd exit: the inside lane for the 3rd and 4th exit (1 exit before yours, you’ll have to change lanes to the outside lane).
Correct usage means:
- the outside lane to turn right or go straight ahead
- the inside lane to turn left or turn around; change lanes one exit before yours
When coaching your kid, you should pay attention to the following:
- check for pedestrians. The can come from the left and the right!
- correct use of lanes. Use only one lane if there are several lanes. Otherwise, correctly pre-select. Purposeful, explicable and decisive
- look over the rights shoulder (blind spot) to check for cyclists (who’ll have priority) before exiting the roundabout