Poll: Would you use right hand lane when roundabout busy?

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Thread: What lane to use on this roundabout?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation What lane to use on this roundabout?

    Any advice on choice of lane at a roundabout when taking 2nd exit at the specific 4-way roundabout that can be found on Google maps at: 52.140781,-0.545143 (use the satellite view obviously). I would like the question addressed as 'normal driving' rather than passing a driving test.
    Highway code advice is: "Choose the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout. If you can't see the markings on the road then it is usually the safest option to keep in the left lane."
    You are approaching from bottom of map and leaving at top of map. There are two lanes on entry to the roundabout and one and a bit on exit. Using highway code suggestion, since there are no lane marking arrows on approach and the exit road is only one lane, this all lends weight to approaching in the left lane.
    However, in the rush hour the approach is very busy with my guess at typical traffic flow being 50% left, 45% straight on and only 5% right. If everyone takes the left lane then roundabout throughput is dramatically reduced and a massive tailback ensues.
    If you encounter 6 or 7 cars queueing in the left lane and the right lane is completely empty, the right lane option seems sensible as long as your approach and signals are done correctly. However, this can be problematic if the car that you find on your left when on the roundabout is also going off at the same exit - especially if he's in a bad mood.
    I've been doing this roundabout daily for years but would be interested on opinions - especially if anyone reckons they have a definitive answer.

  2. #2
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    You can go straight across a roundabout from either of the lanes. If the exit road is two lanes merging into one, then I would expect the traffic from these lanes to merge sensibly. If there is not enough room for merging on the road, then I would expect merging of the two lanes on the roundabout.

  3. #3
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    Just like Rolebama said. First or second exit could use either lane but, Looking at the pictures the exits look to be single lane so I would probably stick to using the left lane for exits 1 and 2.

    I've often found that roads where they go from 2 lanes to one are slower than the same volume of cars on a road that is just single lane as people don't have to merge.

    I never answered the poll as I don't understand the question "Would you use right hand lane when roundabout busy?" are you asking would people purposely use the wrong lane because of being impatient to wait in the correct lane?
    Last edited by MrDanno; 20-03-10 at 12:12.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolebama View Post
    You can go straight across a roundabout from either of the lanes. If the exit road is two lanes merging into one, then I would expect the traffic from these lanes to merge sensibly. If there is not enough room for merging on the road, then I would expect merging of the two lanes on the roundabout.
    Thanks Rolebama. That's what I thought. Needless to say, the question arose when a guy got very irate and had no intention of merging sensibly so I just wanted to check I wasn't being wrong/unreasonable.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by thinkfiat View Post
    Thanks Rolebama. That's what I thought. Needless to say, the question arose when a guy got very irate and had no intention of merging sensibly so I just wanted to check I wasn't being wrong/unreasonable.
    I guess you were using the right hand lane then? It is perfectly acceptable to do so but, the reason I wouldn't is because of what you describe.

    I really wished we would have compulsory checks on drivers as some people just pass a test and forget everything about Signs, Lane discipline, Road markings etc.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for reply. Apologies if poll was unclear.
    I wasn't meaning to ask if you should purposely use the wrong lane because you are impatient. My question was more fundamental - "Is the right hand lane OK or is it WRONG?".
    Rolebama seems to think its OK to use but you seem less convinced.
    I agree about flow being faster if no merging is needed. On this roundabout, it is not unusual to find everyone going left so merging is not needed. If one car is going straight, again you can avoid the need for merging by varying your speed from the right lane. I agreed its less straight forward if two or three consecutive cars are going straight.

  7. #7
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    There really is not a wrong or right, just what you are comfortable with.
    I went for ride to look at a similar problem experienced by a neighbour (2 years experience), his problem turned out to be trying to traverse the roundabout far too fast. He said he went too fast because other cars would not let him slow down. After I demonstrated that life is easier and safer going through the roundabout in control and the world did not come to end because we had slowed, he now finds roundabouts less of a problem.

  8. #8
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    The only 2 situations I will go in the right-hand lane to go straight on at a standard 4-road roundabout is (1) if an arrow on the road or on a sign directs you to do so, or (2) if it's on a dual carriageway that continues as a dual carriageway after the roundabout.

    It appears you would be OK to go in the right-hand lane on the roundabout you have shown us, but there is the risk that other people might get cross and not let you in, leaving you stuck on the roundabout and holding up more traffic trying to get across it in other directions.

  9. #9

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    There is only 1 exit road so you should use the left lane. You can clearly see there's not enough room to merge.

  10. #10
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    I am not familiar with the road well enough to pinpoint locations, but I have seen a couple of roundabouts in Norwich Outer Ring Road where traffic is advised to use both lanes to cross roundabout into a single lane road, with signs saying 'Merge In Turn'. Perhaps someone with local knowledge could point them out? (I cross them travelling from the A11 clockwise to Sprowston.)

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