How to use a traffic circle properly
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