Topics include Transportation, Things to Do, Dining Scene & more!
So, you've planned to visit the UK, do a bit of driving while you're here and are wondering about "roundabouts". For full details, read http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAnd..., but for a layman's guide, read on.
Most roundabouts are easy, you arrive at one from a road that has one lane, or more. You stop at the white line if anything is already on the roundabout is approaching from the right, or if a red light commands you to do so.
When the road is clear, or on a green signal, proceed onto the roundabout. Please go in a clockwise direction, because it is very difficult due to the shape of the road to do otherwise, it is also very illegal and can promote head-on crashes which are a bit of a wrench for UK citizens and immensely inconvenient for people from other countries as well.
Sometimes your destination or exit from the roundabout is marked in your lane on the road surface, sometimes it's not. You may have had 3.8 seconds (if you were lucky) to study which exit leads where on the traffic sign prior to your approach to the roundabout. If not, do not fear! Each exit is signed with road numbers and destinations. If you find yourself in the wrong lane for your required exit, signal your intention to move from one lane to another, by indicating clearly, preferably in good time (though most drivers on roundabouts are just grateful to see a signal).
When you are in the position you require to exit (it'll be one of the outside lanes as you would know them, but an inside lane to us), exiting via the inside lane (to States drivers) leads to arguments with hedges, crash barriers, chevron signs and, if you get that far, other vehicles), and are intending to leave the roundabout, just indicate your intention to do so by signalling left then exiting. Not only will the person at the rear of you be glad to see you are getting out of his way, the person at the next entrance to the roundabout following the lane you are leaving on will be pleased that you have signalled your intention to leave, so is then able to enter.
If you can't get over to the left of the roundabout in time, just go round again and have another go. On bigger junctions, the lanes in the roundabout are marked to point you to the exit you want but many people seem to ignore them, and drivers are often forced to make another circuit due to somebody else nearby finding themselves in the wrong place. Be especially wary of long lorries which can't bend round smaller diameter roundabouts properly. Best to stick behind them rather than being crushed against the island.
Some roundabouts don't follow these rules and once you are on the roundabout you have to give way to traffic coming from the left. This will be indicated by road signs and road markings. These are few and far between, but they do exist i.e. http://goo.gl/maps/L1zV