Driving Lesson #8

August 14, 2008 – 21:28

If you are following me on Twitter you will have seen that Peacehaven was very wet this morning, of course by the time I have left my basement office it was bright sunshine. I was glad of it as we went off towards Shoreham and then onto the A27 to head back towards Newhaven. It seems that driving fast and overtaking comes fairly easily to me, perhaps being on my bike has provided me with practical practice.

Roundabouts unfortunately don’t come so easily to me, at the moment there is too much to think about. For some reason I struggle with slowing down in time, changing gear, seeing what is coming round and getting the indicators properly. Practice I feel will be the order of the next few lessons.

So anyway here are some “pretty pictures” of roundabouts and what I have in my head with regards to what to do with them. As always this is not intended to be instructional, and it may well be inaccurate, I have had to make corrections to several of my previous posts.

Priority on Roundabouts

I made the sudden realization when in the car today that roundabouts are circular one way streets, traffic will only be coming from the right! As an analogy it is not very useful, I thought it was quite amusing.

In this diagram the red car is me, I will try and describe what the other cars are there for as I go along.

On roundabouts you must give way to cars already on the roundabout (in the picture the yellow car). Assuming that the green and purple cars moved off at the same time as me at the same speed (which should be slow, i.e. 10mph), then the three of us would move round the roundabout without affecting each other.

Again this was not something I had thought about before, but roundabouts allow traffic at intersections to split, merge and continue very quickly.

Turning left at a Roundabout

On the approach to the roundabout first thing I need to remember is to slow down to 10mph or below (I will mention this several times). This will allow for the maximum amount of time to assess the situation.

Essentially the roundabout is treated in the same way as a T-Junction on a one way street. On the approach to the junction I need to use the Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre-Position-Speed-Look procedure.

So on the approach, I need to check the left hand mirror then signal to the left, the manoeuvre comprises of: position, that is being in the correct lane and being in position to make the turn, speed, below 10mph and in the correct gear – second gear if moving or first gear if stopped.

Once the way is clear move round the outside of the roundabout and out of the first exit.

Going straight ahead at a Roundabout

This section used to be titled “Going straight over a Roundabout”, Kev since mentioned that wasn’t the way to describe it, however I must point out that the Police and local council don’t take kindly to driving over roundabouts… it tends to damage the floral displays.

Again going straight over requires the use of the MSM-PSL procedure, however in this instance you do not indicate until you have passed the first exit. This prevents following vehicles from expecting you to turn left onto the first exit.

It is important to note that the outside edge of the roundabout should be followed as if you use the inner lane of the roundabout you are cutting up the drivers turning right.

Going right at a Roundabout

MSM-PSL procedure as expected; So first check the internal and left mirror signal to the right, positioning myself to turn onto the roundabout, if the way is clear I would continue or move off onto the roundabout.

Unlike the previous examples I would use the inner lane of the roundabout continue to indicate right until I pass the exit before the exit I wish to take, at this point I apply the MSM-PSL procedure to move off the roundabout on the exit I wish to take.

Summary

As I mentioned, I find roundabouts very difficult, I never really got them when I was on a bike, as it felt like you were putting yourself in the middle of the traffic on a vehicle that appears to make you invisible.

I am sure that I will spend more time practicing roundabouts, and over the course of the next lessons I am sure I will be able to update everyone on my progress. Still enjoying it all, although today was particuarly tireing.

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