Overtaking and using roundabouts

Overtaking a Porsche! Credit: Rosie Collins


It is often necessary to overtake stationary or slow-moving vehicles in traffic. Whatever the circumstances, watch for pedestrians stepping through lanes of traffic or doors opening as you pass. When you overtake it is important to be aware of what is moving around you.

When overtaking parked vehicles, take a look behind you (over your right shoulder). If it is clear, signal and pull out towards the middle of the road. Leave at least one metre between yourself and a parked vehicle to allow for the hazard of an opening door.

If you are not crossing over a lane marking during the manoeuvre, you have right of way over vehicles behind you. When overtaking a slow-moving vehicle, you should again take a look over your right shoulder before signalling and pulling out. You should also check for oncoming traffic to ensure there is no risk of collision.

The correct lane for a right turn Credit: Jeremy Hughes


Some roundabouts are relatively safe as traffic speeds are usually low. However, others are very busy and require care when negotiating them. Roundabouts should be approached with the same care as any other junction.

When approaching a roundabout you should join the appropriate lane for the exit you need. You should wait for traffic already in the roundabout to clear before you enter. If you are going to take the first turning then use the left lane.

If you are going straight-on then you will need to be in the middle lane or in the left lane but adopting a position in the centre of the lane. Be aware of traffic that may be exiting to the left and could cut across you.

If you are turning right then you will need to be in the centre of the right hand lane until you are past the intermediate exits, after which you will need to signal left and move into the left hand lane. Beware of traffic coming up fast on the inside lane.

If you feel that other road users may not understand your intentions, then you can indicate right at the entrances prior to the one you will exit at, and then left when you get to your exit.

Good positioning on the road is extremely important as it indicates where you will be turning before you signal. You should practise on quiet roads until you can signal and turn at the same time.

Some large roundabouts have traffic lights to control the speed of vehicles. Even so, beware of motorists who accelerate through red lights in order to gain advantage.



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