How to do roundabouts

Don't get in a spin with roundabouts

Roundabouts are a great way to tackle traffic, but they can be intimidating to a learner driver. With our tips for your practical lessons, you’ll be ready to drive circles around anything that comes your way.


General tips for using roundabouts

  • When you see a sign for a roundabout, make sure you’re driving at a pace that allows you to check which lane and exit you need to take.
  • Remember to use MSM driving (mirror, signal, manoeuvre) at all times.
  • Give way to traffic coming from the right.
  • Pay particular attention to your blind spots on busy roads.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Avoid stopping in a roundabout.
  • Try to avoid driving next to large vehicles as they need more time to manoeuvre and can sometimes straddle lanes.

How should I turn left and take the first exit?

If you’re turning left from a roundabout (usually the first exit), you have to use the left lane and make sure you stay in that lane the whole time you’re in the roundabout. Keep your indicator on as you take the exit.

How should I take the second exit?

Turning left at a roundabout doesn't always mean taking the first exit. If you're taking the second one, you should only signal as you exit, not as you approach the roundabout. Signalling left too early could confuse drivers behind you, and lead to a collision.

How should I follow the road ahead?

Check your mirror and approach the roundabout in the left lane, unless there are any specific signs telling you not to. Checking for traffic from your right, wait for a safe time to move off. Once you have an opportunity, move off and keep in the left-hand lane. Make sure you don't signal after you’ve passed any other exits.

How should I turn right off a roundabout?

When taking an exit to the right, or going full circle, indicate right and approach in the right-hand lane. Stay in this lane until you need to exit the roundabout.

How can I fail my driving test at a roundabout?

There are many mistakes you can make at roundabouts:  

  • Hesitating - certain to earn you a fault, hesitation at a roundabout could lead to accidents. You shouldn't be unsafe by cutting in too early, but if you miss an opportunity to enter when it's clear, you risk being a problem to others and causing potential accidents.
  • Failing to signal – MSM driving (mirror, signal, manoeuvre) should be followed at all times. 
  • Forgetting to turn off your indicator – once you’ve signalled and moved off the roundabout, remember to turn off your indicator so as not to confuse drivers behind you. The longer you leave your indicator on, the greater the fault.
  • Failing to maintain lane discipline - the DVSA syllabus expects the driver to stay in the correct lane and not cut across.

Unless you live in Swindon, roundabouts really aren’t as scary as you might think. A good driving instructor will prepare you to be a completely safe driver, so don’t drive yourself around the bend worrying!