How to use a traf­fic cir­cle prop­erly

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

FOR the ma­jor­ity of driv­ers, one of the most con­fus­ing driv­ing laws is the cor­rect use of a traf­fic cir­cle.

In fact, many mo­torists don’t know that there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween the larger traf­fic cir­cles and the mini traf­fic cir­cles, other than their size. Can you re­ally be frus­trated if some­one cuts you off at a traf­fic cir­cle if you don’t know the rules? We shed some light on the is­sue.

What is the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two cir­cles?

A traf­fic cir­cle is clas­si­fied as large when it has a min­i­mum di­am­e­ter of about 16 me­tres and a 1.5 to 2 me­tre flat­tened curb which al­lows heavy ve­hi­cles to drive onto a small sec­tion of the cir­cle. A mini traf­fic cir­cle is nor­mally not more than seven to 10 me­tres in di­am­e­ter and the en­tire cir­cle is mount­able for heavy ve­hi­cles.

There are dif­fer­ing rules for each.

Large traf­fic cir­cle As you ar­rive at a large traf­fic cir­cle, traf­fic com­ing from your right has right of way, re­gard­less of how many cars there are.

Wait un­til there is a gap in the traf­fic and then ease into the cir­cle. Sig­nal when you are go­ing to turn. If you are tak­ing the first exit, i.e. you’re turn­ing left, then flick on your left in­di­ca­tor and keep in the out­side/left-hand lane.

If you’re turn­ing right or per­form­ing a Uturn, keep in the in­side/right-hand lane. Only sig­nal left and change into the left-hand lane once you’ve passed the other ex­its and only yours is ahead.

Mini cir­cle The first ve­hi­cle to ar­rive at the mini-cir­cle has right of way, no mat­ter whether they’re to your left or right. This works in much the same way as a four-way stop, ex­cept that at a mini-cir­cle it’s suf­fi­cient to yield in­stead of com­ing to a com­plete halt.

In terms of sig­nalling which way you’re turn­ing, also treat the mini-cir­cle as a four-way stop. In other words in­di­cate your de­sired di­rec­tion of travel be­fore en­ter­ing the cir­cle. The rule is there­fore dif­fer­ent to a round­about, where you only in­di­cate your in­ten­tions once in­side the cir­cle.

Hope that clears it up, and will spare you some road rage in fu­ture. — Star Mo­tor­ing

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