By Samuel Smith
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Despite being an easy concept to understand on paper, roundabouts seem to have mystified motorists since their inception. From spontaneous lane changes to erratic indication, learn what not to do with our 5 common roundabout wrongdoings. Illustrations: Tonwen Jones.
1. Not giving way to vehicles already on the roundabout
We’ve all been taught to give way to the right which, in most cases, is correct. But when approaching a roundabout, there’s more to consider. Australian law says you must give way to any vehicles, including bicycles, already on the roundabout. It’s still important that you pay attention to your right, as this is the direction most vehicles will approach from.
Failing to give way to a vehicle on a roundabout will set you back $428 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. The offence attracts 3 demerit points.
2. Entering a multi-lane roundabout from the wrong lane.
Multi-lane roundabouts can mean double the trouble – one of the most common mistakes motorists make is entering from the incorrect lane.
As a general rule, you should always enter a roundabout in the left lane if you want to take the first exit on the left (and it’s less than halfway around a roundabout). When turning right (more than halfway around a roundabout), you must enter from the right lane and indicate when approaching your exit. The same applies if you want to go all the way around.
If you’re travelling straight through, you can enter using either the left or the right lanes. These rules, however, can be overridden by lane markings on the approach to a roundabout. Often, warning signs will help you choose the correct lane.
Failing to enter a roundabout from the correct lane will set you back $364 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. The offence also attracts 3 demerit points.
3. Failing to indicate correctly when leaving a roundabout
Indicating before leaving a roundabout might seem like common sense, but when you’re halfway around, with cars approaching from every direction, logic can escape even the most confident driver.
To avoid disaster, remember to indicate left whenever you’re exiting a roundabout. If you’re taking the first left exit, simply keep your left indicator on. When turning right, make sure your right indicator is flashing when you enter the roundabout, then switch to your left indicator when you pass the exit prior to the one you wish to use.
If you’re going straight ahead, there’s no need to indicate when you approach the roundabout. Just be sure to flick your left indicator on when you pass the exit prior to the one you wish to use, if the roundabout is large enough to do so.
Failing to give a correct change of direction signal when leaving a roundabout attracts a $317 fine, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and 2 demerit points.
4. Attempting to pass a long vehicle on a roundabout
Large trucks, especially those displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign, are often too big to navigate a multi-lane roundabout without crossing lanes. It’s legal for these vehicles to stay in the left lane of a roundabout, even when they’re making a right turn.
A common mistake is attempting to overtake a long vehicle exiting a roundabout to the right. If a truck needs to cross the dotted line while a car is next to it, a crash could occur.
Passing or overtaking a vehicle displaying a ‘do not overtake turning vehicle’ sign will set you back $208 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy. The offence attracts 2 demerit points.
5. Cyclists failing to give way to a vehicle leaving a roundabout
Picture this: You’re navigating a roundabout and indicate to turn left, when you notice a cyclist approaching on the passenger side. You start to turn off the roundabout, but before you know it, the cyclist has collided with your car door.
Who is at fault? You may think it’s you, but in fact it’s the cyclist. The law states that anyone cycling on a roundabout must give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout.
Any cyclist who fails to give way to a vehicle leaving a roundabout will receive a fine of $57 plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy.