Roundabout rules explained

  • The roundabout sign means Slow Down, prepare to Give Way and if necessary stop to avoid a collision.

  • When approaching a roundabout, you must get into the correct lane, indicate if turning, and give way to traffic already on the roundabout.

  • Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in the traffic.

  • When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so.

  • The rules for using a roundabout are quite simple. But, as common as roundabouts are, the number of crashes at intersections with roundabouts suggests that when we approach one, we still aren’t quite clear on the rules.

  • Part 9 of the Road Rules 2014 details the legislation that covers roundabouts. Motorists should know what a roundabout is and what they’re for. It is the way they should be approached and used that seems to be causing the confusion.

  • Reg 114 explains how to give way when entering or driving in a roundabout, and reg 118 outlines indicating when leaving a roundabout. 

Giving way when entering or driving in a roundabout

  • A driver entering a roundabout must give way to:

    (a) any vehicle in the roundabout, and

    (b) a tram that is entering or approaching the roundabout.

For this rule, give way means the driver must slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision. There is no specific legislation stating one must give way to the other if entering the roundabout at the same time, only that you must give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout.

However, common sense must prevail. As the rule states, a driver must slow down enough to be able to stop to avoid a collision if necessary. Many drivers enter/approach roundabouts too fast and if there was a collision and it was a result of them not slowing to be able to avoid a collision, then they may face penalties from the authorities.

These are the rules and you can be fined for not abiding by them. If involved in a crash, you might be liable when you thought you weren’t.

Roundabout risks

Risks to watch for:

  • Take extra care whenever you drive in a roundabout.

  • Keep an eye out for cars that are leaving the roundabout.

  • Be careful if changing lanes in a roundabout, particularly when leaving.

  • Look out for vehicles that are making a full turn.

  • Watch for bicycles, long vehicles and motorcycles.

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