17 December 2021
Roundabout Rules 101
We sometimes confuse the road rules when driving, especially at roundabouts. Improve your driver knowledge by reading our breakdown of the roundabout rules.
For many drivers, roundabouts are a familiar part of their daily commute. More common in suburbs or regional areas than in cities, they’re designed to keep traffic safely flowing at intersections. However they do have specific rules and they can be intimidating.
Failure to follow the roundabout rules can result in a fine or, even worse, an accident. Regardless of whether there are 3 exits or 10, some basic rules always apply and luckily, they’re the same whether you’re driving in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia or New South Wales. If you need a refresher or are just learning to drive, these key rules will help you safely navigate your next roundabout encounter.
Entering a roundabout
Before you reach the roundabout, you will hit a broken line on the road signalling you to ‘give way’. This is your cue to slow down and look towards your right so that you can see the flow of traffic. You must give way to any vehicles already on the roundabout, whether they be cars, trucks or bicycles. When you see a safe gap, stay in your lane and enter the roundabout. Often this first step is the trickiest, but keep in mind that if they’re already driving around the roundabout, they have right of way and you must give way to them.
Some roundabouts have multiple lanes. Luckily, these are usually clearly marked with which direction you can turn from that lane. Make sure you pay attention as you approach so that you put yourself in the correct lane.
If you want to turn left (anything left of 12 o’clock) you should indicate left and approach from the left-hand lane, or from a lane which has a left arrow marked on it. Instead of saying ‘turn left’, Google Maps will often call this the ‘first exit’.
Give way to all traffic already on the roundabout. Make sure you stay in the same lane when you enter and exit. Once you have exited the roundabout, you may need to cancel your indicator if it doesn’t go off by itself.
Turning Right (or making a U-turn)
As with the left turn, to turn right you should approach the roundabout in the right-hand lane or a lane marked with a right arrow. Start indicating right while you look for a safe gap in the traffic.
Give way to all vehicles on the roundabout and stick to your lane. Use your left indicator just before you exit the roundabout. A good rule to follow is that you start indicating left when you’ve passed the last exit before your exit. This lets drivers know exactly where you plan on turning off.
To make a U-turn, you follow the same rules as a right-hand turn (just think of it as a really big right hand turn!)
To drive straight ahead, you don’t need to indicate when approaching the roundabout. You can generally enter from either the left or right lane, unless road markings say otherwise. However you must indicate left when leaving, if it’s safe to do so. Don’t forget to turn off your indicator after you’ve safely exited the roundabout.
Most bike lanes will end at roundabouts, meaning cyclists will need to merge with traffic, from the left. One little known rule is that cyclists are allowed to turn right from the left lane at a roundabout. Make sure you keep an eye out for them and watch for their hand signal.
Roundabouts might look confusing, but there’s really nothing to them. Remember to give way to traffic already on the roundabout, approach from the correct lane and indicate when you’re exiting. Easy!
Unfortunately, we all know that no matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s always important to have the right car insurance to keep you protected. If you’re in QLD, SA, WA, TAS, NSW, ACT or NT, check out NRMA’s range of car insurance products to find the right cover for you.