Roundabouts for Dummies!

Roundabouts can look complicated and frightening when driving on one for the first time. Even the thought of approaching one can be daunting. Roundabouts can range from the small nonthreatening ones to the very large multi laned ones. Being faced with one of these bad boys for the first time will obviously be bewildering for the learner driver: Which exit to take? Which lane to get into to actually take that exit? What happens if you miss the exit? What happens if you find yourself in the nightmarish situation of constantly going around in circles? Luckily these are all questions that your Want Driving Lessons Instructor will help you with, he or she will guide you through everything to do with Roundabouts and driving through them.

But we will try and unravel some of the mystery that are roundabouts for you (knowledge is power as they say): You can find roundabouts in every town and every city, there are literally millions of them worldwide. This in itself is a fantastic and mind blowing concept for Driving Geeks.

They are generally aimed at making the passage through certain junctions easier, the humble roundabout has become an institution in itself! They are also known as ‘Traffic Circles’ when one is in the United States to save confusion. Both these terms are used for these circular areas where entering traffic must allow access for those already driving through through.

Here is a little bit of roundabout history for you!  The term ‘Roundabout’ dates all the way back to the early 1900′s.  Although the earliest idea for a roundabout can be seen in the Bath Circus completed in 1768. It’s exists today as an early idea for a roundabout, although it would be described as more of a ‘circular junction’. Modern roundabouts were thought up by a Raymond Unwin in the publication Town Planning in Practice 1909. The book shows a ‘carrefour a gyration’. Also the original idea was said to have come from France the earliest known roundabout in Britain is still in Letchworth City.  Built in 1905 it claims to be the UK’s first one.


This is the sign you will see on approaching a roundabout here in the UK.

Here’s the ‘Science’ bit: The modern roundabout that we see today has been designed and developed by the UK Transport Research Laboratory. Started in 1933 it has been responsible for providing road traffic solutions ever since and is still in operation to this very day.

What to do in a roundabout emergency

If you have the misfortune of being on stuck on a large roundabout (‘stuck’ means accidently missing your intended junction several times so that you are just driving around in circles)

First thing to do is to not panic! Take deep breaths and concentrate on the road ahead. It doesn’t matter if you have been in circles five times or fifty-five times-The grat thing about roundabouts is that you can never really get lost! Because as sure as day follows night your junction will soon come around again! Keep this in mind if you ever feel a roundabout-induced panic attack coming on!

Once you are nice and relaxed be aware of the road signs around you. Carefully position yourself so that you can get into the necessary lane and then indicate-Move towards your junction as you approach it. Hey Presto before you know it you are off it and hopefully going in the direction of your destination! Viva La Roundabout!


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