Dubai: Have you ever been honked at by other cars while you navigate a roundabout and try to make sure you don’t miss your exit? Chances are you are not following the basic rules of driving when it comes to these intersections.
A Gulf News reader wrote in, complaining about how many motorists fail to follow roundabout rules, and oddly enough, others get an earful from other motorists when they are abiding by the rules.
She said: “I recently read an article Gulf News published about how to drive in the fast lane and the rules pertaining to the fast lane. I was hoping that you could do another one on the rules regarding roundabouts because I am dumbstruck at the logic in which they are treated and the near accidents on many occasions. For me, it defies all logic that a person can be on the innermost lane and cut across all traffic and exit the circle. On the other hand, if anyone should be on the outer lane and doing the same, they are flashed by cars coming from behind. I would appreciate the clarity.”
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) issues driving handbooks that educate learners on the rules they need to follow when they are trying to apply for a UAE driving licence.
The rules for using a roundabout can be a little complex, but once you understand the flow of traffic and how the rules ensure that cars navigate the intersection smoothly, it is easy to follow. However, the specific rules can vary depending on the number of lanes that a roundabout has. Here is all you need to know about driving in the right way at a roundabout.
Know the sign
The most important part about using a roundabout is to be aware of the route you are taking and plan your movement accordingly. For this purpose, it is important to keep an eye out for the rounabout sign, which is often placed a few meters ahead of the intersection.
The sign has a circle, with arrows indicating the flow of traffic. As the road rules in the UAE are for left-handed driving, the flow of traffic at roundabouts will always be in the anti-clockwise direction.
Once you spot the roundabout sign, select the lane you need to be in, depending on the exit that you need to take from the roundabout. Be aware of the exact lane that you should be in and move into it early, to avoid last minute lane changes.
Stop at the intersection
Once you have selected the correct lane and are about to enter the roundabout, you must give way to all vehicles already in it moving towards you from the left. Only enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so.
While at roundabouts, it is very important to have good steering control, and drive at the correct speed and use indicators and mirrors, so that you do not confuse other drivers about where you are intending to travel. If lanes are painted on the road, it is critical that you stay in the correct one for your intended position after the roundabout.
Here are some procedures for specific types of roundabouts.
Approach the roundabout while you are in the right lane and stay in that lane.
When approaching the roundabout, turn on your indicator, signaling that you will take a right.
Check the traffic flowing into the roundabout from your left and give way if there are cars approaching.
Enter the roundabout only when the traffic in your lane is clear.
Keep the signal on until you have left the roundabout.
When you exit the roundabout, enter the right-hand lane of the road.
Decide whether you are going to turn right, left or go straight before entering the roundabout, so that you can choose the correct lane on entry.
Going straight ahead
Selecting the right lane as you approach the roundabout in this situation will depend on the lane you wish to be in when you exit the intersection. So, if you wish to be on the left-hand lane when you exit the roundabout, you should be on the left lane when you are entering the intersection. If you intend to turn right soon after leaving the roundabout, you should choose the right-hand lane to enter and leave, being careful to stay within the lane as you move around the roundabout.
As you enter the roundabout, check for traffic on your left. Give way if there is traffic approaching. Proceed only when it is clear.
Turn on your indicator to signal to the right after you have passed the first exit, to let other motorists know that you will be leaving at the next exit.
Always approach the roundabout in the left lane or as shown by arrows on the road. Keep in the same lane as you travel around the roundabout and follow the corresponding lane on the road you enter, after you exit the roundabout.
Signal to the right after you have passed the second exit to let other drivers know that you will be leaving at the next exit.
Check for vehicles on your right as you are about to exit.
The procedure here is the same as that for a two-lane roundabout.
Approach in the right lane and stay in that lane.
Turn on your indicator to signal to the right as you approach the intersection.
Check the traffic on your left. Give way if there is traffic approaching.
Keep the signal on until you have left the roundabout. Leave in the right-hand lane.
Going straight ahead
The procedure is similar to a two-lane roundabout.
The choice of lane will depend on what you need to do after you proceed through the roundabout. This will determine whether you choose the right-hand lane or the centre lane. If you need to do something on the right once you leave, choose the right lane, otherwise you can choose either the right lane or the centre lane. Do not choose the left-hand lane as that lane should only be used by left turning vehicles.
Check for traffic on your left as you enter the roundabout and give way if there is traffic approaching.
Proceed when it is clear, stay in the corresponding lane as you travel around the roundabout and as you leave.
Signal right after you have passed the first exit to let other drivers know that you will be leaving at the next exit.
When you are about to exit the rounabout, check for vehicles on your right.
This procedure is also the same as that for a two-lane roundabout. However, planning is even more important here.
Make sure that you check the directional signs and road markings very carefully. They will direct you into the correct lane. Keep in the same lane as you travel around the roundabout and turn into the corresponding lane as you leave.
Turn on your indicator to signal to the right after you have passed the second exit, to let others know that you will be leaving at the next exit. This is particularly important for three-lane roundabouts as you may be crossing two lanes of traffic as you leave.
Make sure that you check for vehicles on your right as you are about to exit.
By planning ahead of time and using your vehicle indicators to communicate clearly with other motorists, you can ensure that you have a safe driving experience.