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On approaching a roundabout use the M-S-P-S-L routine and act on all the information available to you. This can be traffic signs, traffic lights, lane markings and other vehicles.

Start to check to your right, straight ahead, to your left and all your mirrors as you approach the roundabout. By carrying out your observations in this sweeping/scanning motion, you are more likely to pick up if the car in front decides not to go. Keep a safe gap between you and the vehicle waiting to get on. A rear end shunt can thus be avoided.

Some drivers approach roundabouts planning to continue unless they have to stop. It's best to approach planning to stop but looking to go. Look for gaps, not just vehicles. Look for "blockers" coming clockwise from the left as they prevent cars on your right from joining the roundabout, thus giving you the opportunity to join.

Once on the roundabout be alert. Not everybody will position themselves correctly to get off. You may find vehicles sweeping across you to get to their exit. Remember that trucks and buses need more room.


When taking the first exit on the left:
Signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
Keep left on the roundabout and keep signalling left to leave
Unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle:
Signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
Keep to the right on the roundabout until changing lanes to exit 
Signal left after passing the exit before the one you want
Unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

When taking any intermediate exit:
Select the appropriate lane on approach to the roundabout 
You should not normally need to signal on approach
Stay in this lane until you need to exit the roundabout
Signal left after passing the exit before the one you want
Unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

If there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and throughout.

Mini-roundabouts. Approach in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles must pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are too big to do so. As there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal, keep your speed down to buy yourself time. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts but beware of others doing so.

If you approach at the same time as an other vehicles, indicate your intention then do a visual check. Make eye contact to send a message and avoid a tricky situation when nobody is quite sure who should go first.


Double roundabouts. At double mini-roundabouts treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right.

Northampton Road / Northfield Avenue. Northamptonshire County Council contractors are preparing to start work on the junction of Northampton Road and Northfield Avenue to remove the traffic lights and replace them with Kettering's first double roundabout. The project will take about 5 months to complete.

The first phase will focus on Station Road and will also include the former used car lot which has been bought by Kettering Council to widen the junction. In 2011 attention will turn to the Northfield Avenue and Northampton Road approaches to the roundabouts. Crossings for pedestrians and cyclists will be installed.

Disruption is inevitable on all roads in the immediate vicinity so allow extra time for journeys.

Plans for the new Northampton Road / Northfield Avenue double roundabouts are shown below.


Atom driving lessons are safe and fun. You get real value for money in a relaxed, encouraging environment. Reach me on my mobile 07722 037709, phone 01536 502436 or email.

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