Mini roundabouts are almost certain to be a part of a driving test if they are located within the driving test centre test routes radius. Mini roundabouts are often put in place of T-junctions in quieter residential areas. A mini roundabout offers two purposes; a junction between two or more intersections and an effective form of traffic calming. Due to the small size of mini roundabouts, they can often be confusing as to who has priority, especially for the inexperienced driver. This tutorial will provide the correct procedure for driving on mini roundabouts along with the correct rules for drivers, plus those learning to drive.
Learning mini roundabouts
Although the general procedure for using mini roundabouts is similar to their larger versions, due to their small size and placement, often found in narrower residential areas, a great deal of observation and care needs to be taken whilst dealing with mini roundabouts.
Mini roundabouts can be difficult to see due to their size. A blue mini roundabout sign isn’t always located before the roundabout, so during a driving test, keep a keen eye on road markings and road signs. Whilst driving, look for road signs, traffic crossing in front of you, junctions to the left and right or road markings that may help you identify a mini roundabout. Mini roundabout road markings are either a painted circle or a white circular hump with 3 clockwise directional arrows around the inner circle.
Open and closed mini roundabouts
Due to the locations of mini roundabouts, they have a greater chance of being located at closed junctions. A closed or blind junction is where very little can be seen of approaching traffic. Mini roundabouts are used frequently during a driving test for your ability to correctly establish is a junction (or roundabout) is open or closed and to act accordingly. A closed roundabout must be approached very slowly and if in doubt, stop before proceeding. Edge forward using clutch control slowly, constantly checking all exits and entrances.
Mini roundabout right of way
As with all roundabouts in the UK, drivers approaching a mini roundabout must give way to traffic to the right that is already on the roundabout.
Mini roundabout and indicating
As with normal roundabouts, if turning left or right at a mini roundabouts, an indication must be applied. As mini roundabouts are small however, a secondary exit signal does not have to be implemented. On normal roundabouts, vehicles frequently do not indicate, on mini roundabouts however, vehicles usually indicate, especially if they intend on turning right. If a vehicle is turning right at a mini roundabout, due to its small size, it is far too dangerous not to indicate.
Mini roundabout rules
During a driving test, the examiner will expect these rules to be followed.
Turning left at a mini roundabout
Initially look into the interior mirror, followed by the left mirror and indicate to the left. As it is likely to be a residential area, just before turning left. check the left mirror again for cyclists.
Mini roundabouts are junctions and therefore potential hazards. The examiner will expect you to be checking your interior mirror on approach to a mini roundabout. Unlike large roundabouts, there is no need to indicate left after the first exit.
Turning right at a mini roundabout
Check the interior mirror, followed by the right wing mirror and indicate to the right. There is no need to indicate to the left just after the 2nd exit as you would on normal roundabouts.
Mini roundabout road markings
The white centre circle of a mini roundabout can be either simply painted onto the road or it may actually be a circular hump in the road. Whilst navigating a mini roundabout during a driving test, try to avoid driving on the centre circle. Although clipping the circle slightly with the wheels is unlikely to fail a test, blatantly driving over the circle is likely to result in a failure.
Try also to avoid driving over any hatch marking lines on or close to the roundabout. These markings are put in place as a safety feature to separate vehicles. Hatchings surrounded by a solid white line must not be crossed, hatchings surrounded by a broken line can be crossed but it is advised not to.
Mini roundabout U-turn
Avoid if at all possible to make U-turns on mini roundabouts. As they are so small, this manoeuvre is highly dangerous. Locate a safe and quiet road to make a turn in the road or reverse round a corner. Be cautious, especially as an inexperienced driver, that other vehicles may make U-turns at mini roundabouts.
Mini roundabout accidents
As mini roundabouts are so small, it is essential that if you intend on turning right, as you approach a mini roundabout you must indicate to the right. Failure to do so is likely to result in an accident with a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Lack of indicating and unnecessarily stopping at a mini roundabout when vehicles behind you aren’t expecting you to stop are the most frequent cause of mini roundabout accidents.
Stopping at mini roundabouts
Unnecessarily stopping at mini roundabouts is an easy way to fail a driving test. The reason, a vehicle behind you will not be expecting you to stop and so could result in a rear collision accident. If the roundabout is closed or you need to give way to a vehicle or cyclist from the right, this is usually the only reason you should need to stop.
Obviously mini roundabouts are small and for a learner driver to see a car approaching the roundabout from the left, can be tempting to stop, especially if the vehicle appears to be traveling at speed. Unless the vehicle is relatively close to the roundabout, is traveling at excessive speed and you feel that they will not be able to stop, don’t be tempted to stop and give way to them. Remember, this is dangerous for vehicles behind and will fail the driving test.
Mini roundabouts and cyclists
Although it is legal to overtake a cyclist on a mini roundabout, during a driving test it may be more appropriate to slow down behind the cyclist and wait till they have cleared the mini roundabout before overtaking. This is for two reasons; cyclists can be unpredictable and change direction on or close to the roundabout or there may not be adequate room to overtake the cyclist without driving over the central circle.