Essential Driving Skills



On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane.

Of course all roundabouts are different but generally the following rules apply:

To Turn Left - Signal left and approach in the left-hand lane keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

To go straight on - Select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout. If no marking on the road it is usually safest to keep to the left lane stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

To Turn Right - Signal right and approach in the right-hand lane keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout. Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

Approaching a roundabout

Remember to use the MSM routine at all stages and decide as early as possible which exit you need to take, give an appropriate signal. Slow up sufficiently and make sure you are in the correct lane a good distance from the roundabout. Adjust your speed and Position to fit in with traffic conditions.

If you get your approach speed and gear right you can merge in with the traffic most times without stopping.

Always be aware of the speed and position of all the traffic around you. Don't worry if you have to stop when you reach the roundabout. When it's clear, ease up off the clutch smoothly, don't rush, keep using the mirrors, and above all, stay calm. Once you are on the roundabout maintain a reasonable speed, especially when you are in the right-hand lane, failure to so may result in other drivers passing on the nearside.

Watch out for vehicles already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling correctly or at all.

Always keep an eye on the vehicle in front as you're about to emerge. Don't assume the driver won't have to stop while you're still looking right. Many rear end collisions happen this way. Make sure the vehicle has actually moved away.

Mini Roundabouts

Approach these in the same way as a normal roundabout, but remember there is less space and time to signal and manoeuvre. Vehicles coming towards you may want to turn right. Be sure any vehicle on the roundabout is going to leave before you join the roundabout yourself. Remember, you don't always have time to signal, but check left mirror unless to do so would be dangerous

Be aware of drivers that are using it for a 'U turn'

All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so.

Multiple Mini roundabouts

At some complex junctions, there may be a series of mini-roundabouts at the intersections. Treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right. When negotiating a number of junctions within a short distance of each other, choose a lane that puts you in the correct position for the next one.

In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to:

Pedestrians - who may be crossing the approach and exit roads

Traffic - crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit or traffic which may be straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly

Motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders - who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout

Long vehicles - (including those towing trailers) which might have to take a different course approaching or on the roundabout because of their length. Watch out for their signals.


The Driving Test

The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-

1. Use the MSM routine
2. Position correctly and adjust your speed
3. Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings
4. Watch out for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians
5. Take effective observations
6. Assess the speed of traffic