Mini Roundabout

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 roundabout
Mini roundabout road markings diagram with mini roundabout road sign

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.

Right of Way at a Mini roundabout

As with all roundabouts in the UK, drivers approaching a mini roundabout must give way to traffic approaching from the right.

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.

  • Straight ahead

    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, always avoid driving on the centre circle. Some mini roundabouts are particularly small (even for cars) and some may have very worn road markings, so although clipping the circle slightly with the wheels might not fail a test, blatantly driving over the circle will 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.

Tutorials and guides related to mini roundabouts

49 thoughts on “Mini Roundabout”

  1. Very clear and straight forward. Nicely split up into different sections, and no waffle.

  2. Neal Millett

    ‘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.’
    What about the situation where you are turning left at the roundabout and at the give way line but a car is fast approaching from the right, doesn’t look like it wants to, or can, stop but is some 10 metres from the give way line? I know it’s common sense for you to stop in case the driver on the right, assumes right of way but as you’re at the island first you should have the right of way.

  3. A lot of driving tests are failed at mini roundabouts due to the confined nature of them. Many learners fails for giving way when they should push on. That said, the fundamental rule is to give way to the right regardless of who reaches the junction line first, so it’s often careful, but quick judgement and decisions needed as every situation is different.

  4. lee

    Can someone please clarify for me!! On a normal 4 way mini roundabout if two cars are approaching each other with no cars approaching from the right and one of the cars wants to turn right who gives way?? is it the car that is turning? or the car going straight ahead?

  5. Hi Lee,
    It’s the same as a normal roundabout – so, in your description, there is in fact a car approaching from the right, it’s the car that wants to turn right. So it will be the car going straight that must give way.

  6. lee

    So regardless of which car that is turning, the car that is turning has right of way.. thankyou for that.

  7. Mark

    The problem I have with mini-roundabouts is some drivers turning right cut across the centre (or even to the right of!) the circle on the road. I tend now to be careful to go round the circle as much as I can, but it does confuse some people.

  8. Mini roundabouts certainly are one of the more risky junctions simply because you’re driving at very close quarters to other road users and are very dependent on their ability to drive safely. The situation that you explain can be hazardous, but it’s also worth remembering that larger vehicles often find it necessary to cut across the centre circle and therefore often require extra room from other vehicles.

  9. Lottie

    Mini roundabouts do not work! I do a lot of town driving every day, and the amount of times myself and 2 other cars have arrived at a mini roundabout at the same time, and everyone just sits and looks at each other, until someone has the guts pull off (praying that the other two have decided to stay put to avoid crashing) it’s like playing Russian roulette! For me the idea of a roundabout is that traffic flows around it, and this is most certainly not the case with a mini roundabout.

  10. Hello Lottie,
    Agreed, there certainly are more hazards associated with mini roundabouts when compared to normal roundabouts. Drivers who don’t bother indicating can be a problem, particularly if they’re turning right and crossing your path – annoying on normal roundabouts but dangerous on mini roundabouts. Drivers using mini roundabouts to make a u-turn can also be unexpected.

  11. Joe

    The Mini Round about ruling is riduculous.
    2 Cars approach simultaneously 1 turning right and 1 straight through.
    A car NOT impeding the line of traffic flow (Going straight through) has to give way to a car crossing the line of traffic (Because of the give way to the right rule)
    Yet both sit on a Give Way point.
    This differs slightly from a normal roundabout where the car is physically on the roundabout already or to your immediate right.

  12. John

    I totally agree Mark, especially if I am turning left I have experienced some drivers who are turning right on a three way mini roundabout have cut over the middle and almost caused a collision.

  13. John

    I would say that it’s common sense to drive according to the conditions, in other words if any individual situation doesn’t look safe as the one you just mentioned where you even think you have the right of way, don’t risk it, it only needs to happen once. I would say let it pass and live to drive another day. As with a lot of things today, standards have dropped in road manners as with everything els.

  14. Martin Allen

    Hi….could you clarify at a mini roundabout with only three exits.
    Firstly if your turning left and cars coming across in front of you wanting to go tha same direction who has priority ?

    Another situation is your going across the round about but don’t have a junction to your right but car in front of you wants to turn right across you…
    Who has priority???

    Two round abouts near me and everyone gets confused

  15. Hello Martin,
    For the first mini roundabout in your example, if you’re turning left and there are cars coming from straight ahead wanting to turn right, those cars would have priority over you. If you think of this situation as a larger roundabout, these vehicles would be approaching from your right, so you would need to give way.

    The exact same situation would apply to your second example, they would be approaching from your right, therefore you would need to give way. Try and think of it as a bigger roundabout and it makes sense.

    Mini roundabouts can be confusing, especially when they’re busy. Regardless of priority, it’s often best to be very cautious at busy mini roundabouts, particularly due to drivers who forget (or just don’t bother) to indicate.

  16. Mark


    Am I right it thinking if you come to a mini round about that Is quite big and on a main road, as long as I can see all exits and cars on them (and obv my right is clear) I simply have a quick glance at all exits and proceed when safe (simply just slowing down, not stopping at all).

    But say on a small residential street that’s a lot quieter, with the exits harder to see clear because the area is built up, I’d stop at the road about and slowly proceed when clear (kind of like peep and creep) because it’s harder to see

  17. Hello Mark,
    Yes that’s correct. Roundabouts are of course junctions and with any junction, you get open (clear to see any traffic approaching) and closed (potential traffic is obscured by trees, fences etc). It’s all about using the appropriate speed when you approach a roundabout as this will enable you to properly observe and safely make a decision on whether you need to stop or continue. Remember that stopping at a roundabout that is open and clearly safe to proceed can also be dangerous (rear vehicles), so it’s all about your ability to judge each situation correctly.

  18. R Eastaff

    What if a vehicle from the opposite direction does a u/turn at a mini roundabout ,which can be dangerous.

  19. Making a u-turn at a mini roundabout is dangerous and I never understand why some drivers choose to do this rather than carry on a little further to find a safer method.

  20. Peter Bates

    The Highway Code (rule 188?) clearly states it is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE to cut across the central island of a Mini-roundabout (except if the vehicle is too long for the particular Mini-roundabout location)

  21. Jen Hartman

    I agree- the number of times I’ve seen another 2 cars on a 3 junction mini roundabout on my way to work and don’t want to move. Even worse, on that mini-roundabout are people indicating right when they want to come off at second exit as it is offset to the right. It is frequently used for U turns as the road is cut off with a central reservation on one side so they come out of a side road before the roundabout, turn left and then U turn at roundabout.
    This is a very busy road with school, college, hospital, home and businesses surrounding. Junctions inside urban estates worked perfectly well on the whole in the past, but this particular one is very busy and requires lights now.

  22. Anna

    I just wanted to know the mini roundabouts with 3 exits if I intended to go right which is going to be my 2nd exit is there any need to give right signal/ indicator for 2nd exit? Normally we dont do that with the 4 exits roundabouts for 2nd one?

  23. Hi Anna,
    It’s important, particularly on mini roundabouts to avoid any confusion. It depends on the layout of the mini roundabout. If the 2nd exit is directly ahead from you (12 o’clock) then no indication is required. If the exit is further round towards 3 o’clock, then indicating would make your intentions clear.

  24. Jurgen Zaka

    I have a problem. I didnt have an accident but i was in a roundabout and i was in the middle of the road because there was no sign or traffic light and the other car entered the roundabout and almost hit me. I was slow because i drive slowly most of the time as i know how traffic in my place works and how the people are here and i could manage the situation but that car drove fast and i was entering the roundabout. There was not much road because its a small one. I was about to pass after another car passed and my way was free for a moment. Then the other car entered so fast and i stopped immediately avoiding the accident. I think im right because i had already blocked the way but he still didnt care. There was no sign or traffick light.

  25. Hello Jurgen,
    A lot of drivers do approach and enter roundabouts too quickly. This can make roundabouts, particularly mini roundabouts very dangerous.

  26. Lol

    In reply to lee.

    Always give way if someone is coming from the right

  27. Lee


    What if it is a four-way mini roundabout and a car on the opposite side of the junction wants to turn right whilst I want to turn left (basically turning into the same exit)? Who has the right of way then?

  28. Hi Lee,
    It depends where the other car is in relation to your car. If the other car is very close to the roundabout, or already entered it, you must give way to the right, therefore the other car has priority. If your car is closer to the roundabout than the other car, you’ll probably be able to continue to turn left without causing an issue to the other vehicle.

  29. Dave h

    If any part of your vehicle has crossed the give way line then you have priority over any vehicle who has not yet crossed the give way line .simple isn’t it

  30. In general that’s how it works, but it’s not quite that simple at mini roundabouts because of how small they are. It’s about anticipation and getting your timings right, which for a learner, takes practice.

  31. Dave h

    I agree,anticipation and getting your timing right applies to where ever you are driving on the highway.if everybody followed my simple rule about priority then I am certain there would be less road rage and anger at mini r/bs.reduced speed when approaching,be prepared to stop if necessary is the answer

  32. Dave h

    In reply to doing u turns on mini r/abouts.if the vehicle doing the u turn is indicating and you ignore that indication then it is you who is causing a danger.if that vehicle is not indicating then it is them who is causing a danger

  33. Dave h

    People keep saying give way to traffic on to right at mini r/bouts.this is confusing for a lot of drivers.what you should be saying is give way to traffic that is already on the r/about on the right

  34. Dave,
    Although technically what you’re saying is correct, in reality, mini roundabouts are different simply because of their size. For example, if you see a vehicle to your right approaching at speed, even if they have not crossed the give way line, then it would be highly advisable to give way to them, providing that you can stop safely. We all see other road users approaching mini roundabout far faster than they should do and not all drivers indicate. So it’s about judging each situation individually and reacting accordingly.

  35. Patience

    If I approach a mini roundabout wishing to turn right and indicating so, and there is a car approaching from the opposite direction not signalling, and not to my right, who has right of way to go round the mini roundabout ?
    thank you,

  36. Hi Patience,
    Mini roundabouts work in exactly the same way as any other roundabout, the difference being of course, they’re very small. You have the right of way because as you go round, you’ll be to the driver’s right, that’s approaching from the opposite direction. Mini roundabouts can be a little challenging due to their size and can be particularly challenging if people don’t bother indicating. Although you have priority, always keep an eye on what the other driver is doing. Does it look like they’re slowing down to give way?

    I’ve had on a few occasions, where I’ve been going straight ahead at a mini roundabout and an approaching driver, directly opposite turning right, but not bothering to indicate. As a result, had to brake harshly to avoid a collision. So always be prepared for the unexpected.

  37. Sean C

    I’m confused. Drivers approaching directly opposite from you at a mini roundabout are across from you – not to your right.
    So why would you give way to them unless maybe they were signalling to turn right thus crossing your path.
    In patiences example I would say both drivers have right of way as there is no vehicle to either drivers right.
    You could just as easily say they have priority over you because as they go round they will be to your right. So this rule is complicating things I think.

    Shouldn’t both drivers be able to join simultaneously as long as one is going left or straight on?

    Also my instructor says you don’t necessarily always give way to your right if they are signalling left and positioned left. As they will not affect you as they’re leaving roundabout. Stopping just because they’re there can be seen as hesitation. Is this not correct?

  38. Hi Sean C,
    Yes, you’re correct; drivers approaching directly opposite from you (no signal) will be going ahead, so no need to give way to them. The only hazard you need to be aware of is if you’re approaching at the same time and the other driver is in fact turning right, but has not applied a signal. I’ve witnessed this a few times and as you can imagine, it usually results in an emergency stop.

    In Patience’s example where you are approaching a mini roundabout and signalling right and there’s a car approaching from the opposite direction but not signalling, you would have priority because you are turning right, therefore you would be crossing their path from the their right.

    Your instructor is correct; if a car is approaching from your right and signalling left, there is no need for you to stop. It can be hazardous to stop unnecessarily, but as I’ve said, mini roundabouts are generally more hazardous due to their small size and drivers not signalling when they should. Always approach a mini roundabout at an appropriate speed for the conditions and based on what you can or cannot see. For mini roundabouts, this is usually slowly. If something doesn’t look right, it then gives you enough time to stop without being hazardous to vehicles following you from behind.

  39. Sean C

    Thanks for replying! My test is coming up and I want to make sure I fully understand this.

    So with all that in mind, do you think ultimately its better to give way to traffic directly across from you if they’re signalling to turn right?
    If they’re not signalling it should be safe to assume they are going straight on surely? If they decide not to signal and are going right, you either just have to hope you’ve past behind them by the time they’re turning in front of you, or should you actually wait till they’re coming off before you go on so you fully know their intention from their road position and you can then use them as a blocker to vehicles on your right?

    Basically is it better to join when traffic directly across joins, or to join as they’re coming off?

    All this of course assuming that you and they both approach give way line at same time – as if you arrive earlier than them they should wait for you to pass and vice versa.
    Apologies if that is maybe too in depth an explanation.

  40. Sean C

    With the example by Patience I thought both drivers had equal priority because there was nothing to either drivers right. And because one driver is not signalling or signalling left they aren’t going to cross paths.
    But in terms of who has priority in that example is it not both drivers have priority? – because their immediate right is clear.

  41. Hi Sean,
    Patience says: ‘If I approach a mini roundabout wishing to turn right and indicating so’
    That means their car (the car turning right) would be crossing in front of the car approaching from the opposite direction.
    On a normal large roundabout, this of course would be irrelevant, but on a mini roundabout, the car turning right would have priority because of the small size of the roundabout.

    So if there are two cars, directly opposite each other approaching a mini roundabout at the same time and speed, the car going straight ahead will give way to the car turning right.
    This would not necessarily apply to a normal large roundabout due to its size, because you’d have time to enter the roundabout before the car turning right reached you.

    You need to gauge each circumstance on a mini roundabout as it happens because of the restriction in size. So it is about priority, but because of a mini roundabouts small size, it also relates to where another vehicle is and at what speed they are approaching.

  42. Hi Sean,
    Yes, if you and another vehicle ahead approach the roundabout at the same time and they are turning right, give way to them. Because a mini roundabout is so small, they will be on your right almost as soon as they enter the roundabout. If you get there a little earlier then they do, you may be able to continue without stopping.

    If they are not signalling, then you will generally assume that they are going ahead, so just carry on (assuming it’s safe to do so elsewhere). But roundabouts, particularly mini roundabouts (as with all junctions), are susceptible to mistakes and collisions. So always be prepared for the unexpected and for other drivers not signalling as they should. Unfortunately on a mini roundabout, you might not always have enough time to react.

    As I said, you need to assess each time you approach and enter a mini roundabout on an individual basis because of its small size. Assess the speed at which another vehicle is approaching, if they are signalling or not. Try to gain eye contact with the other driver (are they aware that you are even there?). If it doesn’t look like they are approaching in a particularly safe manner and something seems a little off, then it might be best to wait for them to enter and exit the roundabout first.

    Mini roundabouts can be confusing and you often see situations where nobody knows who should go. Approaching the mini roundabout slowly will give you more time to prepare, observe and move (POM). Good luck on your test 🙂

  43. Sean C

    Thanks for that:) so in the example, you’re saying the reason you should give way if they’re going right and why you have priority if you’re going right is because you’ll cross paths very quickly if it’s a small roundabout?

    But what if both drivers are going right then it really must be a stalemate and both drivers would have to negotiate who goes first?

  44. Yes, that’s right Sean.

    Yes, this is where I said about where traffic on a mini roundabout sometimes comes to a standstill because everyone has to give way to another driver and they all meet at the roundabout at the same time. Somebody usually makes the first move and being as you’re a learner driver and on your driving test, I would recommend that if such a situation occurs on your test, you let the other driver(s) sort it out, then make your move when the stalemate has passed.

  45. Sean C

    Perfect, It all makes sense now:) thanks so much for this invaluable article!

  46. Sean C

    I failed because I didn’t increase enough pressure on break as I brought car to a hault on emergency stop.

    Can’t believe that could be a thing you would fail for?

    Oh well… Back to it I guess

  47. Hi Sean,
    Oh no, that’s unfortunate. The car you were driving almost certainly had ABS (Anti-lock Braking system) as it’s been mandatory in all new cars since 2004. That means that you can press the brake pedal quickly and firmly, yet the wheels wont lock up. Best just to check that your car does ABS, else you will need to use a slightly different technique, but it almost certainly will. There’s really not much technique involved if your car has ABS.

    Good luck for next time. Cheers for letting us know.

  48. Hi Dave h,
    I think there’s likely to be more sensible places in the local vicinity to turn the car around rather than a mini roundabout (in particular busy roundabouts), regardless of indicating.

Leave a Reply