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Thread: Highway Code - ambiguous issues discussion

  1. #1
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    Default Highway Code - ambiguous issues discussion

    I thought it would be interesting to have a chat about highway code issues many of us come across on the roads.

    I was thinking of ambiguous situations where sometimes confusion seems to set in. I have an opinion on the answers, but could be wrong! Please join in if you have questions of your own or know any better!

    We are at a junction that resembles a cross roads, where two minor roads are directly opposite each other and both lead onto a main road. They obviously have double staggered white lines telling drivers to give way to all traffic on the main road.

    1) If two drivers are on these minor roads opposite one another, one turning right onto the main road and the other wishing to go straight on into the opposite minor, the car going straight on has right of way once the main road is clear. Correct?

    There is a mini round about with four roads, 6, 9, 12 and 3 o'clock, essentially like above resembling a cross roads. The markings are usually single staggered lines, which mean "give way to traffic on your right".

    2) Two drivers arrive at the same time. The one at 6 o'clock wishes to turn right. The one at 12 o'clock wants to go straight ahead. Who has right of way? This time I would suggest it's the opposite to scenario 1) - the guy turning right has right of way at a mini roundabout.
    It's slightly ambiguous however - do you only have to give priority to traffic already on the roundabout coming from your right, or also include any waiting to enter from your right or turning right from straight ahead?

    3) The same scenario as 2), but now both drivers opposite one another want to turn right. If one arrived slightly ahead of the other, they should go first. If not, someone is going to have to take charge of the situation and use their initiative.

    4) The same mini roundabout is busy - it's rush hour. Essentially traffic is arriving at the same time at all four junctions. A period occurs where the roundabout is empty but traffic is waiting at all four entry points. This is a gray area, as all have to give way to traffic on their right, but no one is actually on the roundabout. Generally, it should be a first come first served onto the roundabout situation, but it's difficult to keep track of who got to each entry first. Generally it's a stand off where people have to take the initiative and go first.

    There is a roundabout that has two lane entries, but one lane exits (very common in towns and residential areas).

    5) Unless the makings say otherwise, I'd say the golden rule for this style roundabout is left lane for left turn (1st exit) and straight ahead (2nd exit), right lane for right turn only (3rd exit).
    As you set off in the left lane going straight ahead, the driver beside you in the right hand lane also decides to go straight ahead and therefore has to cut across you in order to make the same exit. It can be a dangerous situation, but is not against the highway code, so always make sure you let traffic on your right taking the shorter route round overtake you before the exit!

    So, can anyone offer opinions or put forward other ambiguous scenarios? We could all become better drivers in this thread!

  2. #2
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    All these scenarios are covered in the highway code

  3. #3
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    Angry Mini-roundabouts

    These abominations are my number one pet hate! No-one knows how to use the damned things and your question shows precisely why that is.

    The "entrances" to mini-roundabouts are NOT always all normal broken white lines meaning an equal "give way" to all drivers. In every case I have ever seen ONE of the "entrances" (usually on what would be regarded as the "main" road is actually marked with double broken white lines AND A GIVE WAY sign. Otherwise, if 4 drivers arrived at the same time no-one would have priority under the usual "give way to the right" rule, so they would all be sitting there forever.

    For some reason that completely escapes me, the convention has become "He/she who is turning through 90degrees through the GIVE WAY assumes priority. Where the hell did that come from? Where else does GIVE WAY only apply unless you are turning right??

    I have personally witnessed several collisions at these ridiculous junctions for the very reason that no-one understands how to use them; the best way to cause collisions is to confuse drivers and mini-roundabouts do it very very well!

    You want ot ry to negotiate the "Magic Roundabout" in Hemel Hempstead when the brain-dead are out and about!!

  4. #4
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    Default Traffic Lights

    We have had a new Supermarket opened near me with TLs now on a main road to allow drivers to turn into road leading to Supermarket road. I have had a couple of near misses due to a filter light being green at the same time as the opposite TL being green on main road.

    As I approach the lights there is a filter lane going left with a filter arrow on traffic light. As it was green I followed the road only to find somebody cross in front of me having turned right off the main road as they also had a green light!

    I sent E Mail to local council who said that I should have given way (even though there is no give way sign or markings) to which they later admitted this was an oversight! They maintained the lights were OK!

    So highway code question (or rules on traffic lights) is, should it be possible to have a green TL on a Main road and a green arrow on filter from the opposite side of TLs at the same time? I am still convinced in my own mind that this should not happen. Any views (assuming I hade explained it well enough!)

  5. #5
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    I can't find the first scenario anywhere in the highway code, does anybody know if this is true ?

    We are at a junction that resembles a cross roads, where two minor roads are directly opposite each other and both lead onto a main road. They obviously have double staggered white lines telling drivers to give way to all traffic on the main road.

    1) If two drivers are on these minor roads opposite one another, one turning right onto the main road and the other wishing to go straight on into the opposite minor, the car going straight on has right of way once the main road is clear, right ?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxymadbaz View Post
    All these scenarios are covered in the highway code
    How informative, but you fail to say what the highway code states? I've looked through it with a fine tooth comb and can find answers to the following scenarios:

    1) m600ant, yes I'm sure it's correct.

    2) No clear answer, although I'd imagine mini's are often used to facilitate right turns on main roads. Therefore I'd say you have to give way to traffic straight ahead wanting to turn right, waiting to enter the mini.

    3) I'll stick with my initial comment, though can't see this issue covered in the highway code.

    4) As watcher said, road signs and markings help. But many mini's where I live have the same markings and signs at all junctions causing the "waiting" or "all going at the same time" scenario at busy periods. Plus as watcher said, no one notices any differences in road markings anyway at mini roundabouts. They are, in may areas, badly laid out.

    5) This is more of a statement, and as I said I'm sure that's the rule in the highway code even though it could cause an accident.
    Last edited by OilBurner; 11-09-07 at 17:26.

  7. #7
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    1, the car going straight on has to give way to traffic from left and right, this includes traffic turning right opposite. (I have to confess I can't find this in the highway code, but I have always regarded traffic turning right in this scenario is to be treated as if they are on the main road)

    2, right of way is for the car turning right. Highway Code 160-166: Roundabouts

    161: When reaching the roundabout you should

    give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights

    Crown copyright 2004



    3, the car which enters the roundabout first has right of way.

    4, as above.

    5, the lane positioning is quite correct, as per the 1st diagram in the above link, however, rule 162 states:

    162: Signals and position, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise.

    When taking the first exit

    signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
    keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

    When taking any intermediate exit

    select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout, signalling as necessary
    stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
    signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

    When taking the last exit or going full circle

    signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
    keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
    signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

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

    Crown copyright 2004


    When on the road I guess in a lot of cases you have to use your judgement and common sense, I used to do a lot of cycling and the best tool I had (and still have)for awkward situations was eye contact, if I did not have this with a driver crossing my path then I was extremely wary.

    On the road (esp roundabouts) you will always get your chancers and the plain clueless, just as long as you are aware of whats going on and make others aware of what you intend to do, you should be fine.

    ps, apologies for offhanded reply earlier in this thread.

  8. #8
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    Angry I beg your pardon??!!

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxymadbaz View Post
    1, the car going straight on has to give way to traffic from left and right, this includes traffic turning right opposite. (I have to confess I can't find this in the highway code, but I have always regarded traffic turning right in this scenario is to be treated as if they are on the main road)

    2, right of way is for the car turning right. Highway Code 160-166: Roundabouts

    161: When reaching the roundabout you should

    give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights

    Crown copyright 2004



    3, the car which enters the roundabout first has right of way.

    4, as above.

    5, the lane positioning is quite correct, as per the 1st diagram in the above link, however, rule 162 states:

    162: Signals and position, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise.

    When taking the first exit

    signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
    keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

    When taking any intermediate exit

    select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout, signalling as necessary
    stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
    signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

    When taking the last exit or going full circle

    signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
    keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
    signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

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

    Crown copyright 2004


    When on the road I guess in a lot of cases you have to use your judgement and common sense, I used to do a lot of cycling and the best tool I had (and still have)for awkward situations was eye contact, if I did not have this with a driver crossing my path then I was extremely wary.

    On the road (esp roundabouts) you will always get your chancers and the plain clueless, just as long as you are aware of whats going on and make others aware of what you intend to do, you should be fine.

    ps, apologies for offhanded reply earlier in this thread.

    I really must argue your point no 2 as strongly as possible - the Highway Code ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT say that you have right of way when turning right at a mini-roundabout!

    I'd love to know where this ridiculous idea has come from! The HC DOES say to treat a mini like an "ordinary" one, i.e. give way to traffic APPROACHING from the right, UNLESS signs dictate otherwise.

    I challenge you to go back and read it properly, then try to prove me wrong by quoting the exact phrase you are relying on. I can promise you that you will render yourself liable if you are involved in a collision caused by your turning right through a "give way" whether it is on a mini-roundabout or anywhere else!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher View Post
    I really must argue your point no 2 as strongly as possible - the Highway Code ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT say that you have right of way when turning right at a mini-roundabout!

    I'd love to know where this ridiculous idea has come from! The HC DOES say to treat a mini like an "ordinary" one, i.e. give way to traffic APPROACHING from the right, UNLESS signs dictate otherwise.

    I challenge you to go back and read it properly, then try to prove me wrong by quoting the exact phrase you are relying on. I can promise you that you will render yourself liable if you are involved in a collision caused by your turning right through a "give way" whether it is on a mini-roundabout or anywhere else!!
    Aah, I sincerely apologise, I failed to see the distinction, right turners do not have priority, you have to give way to traffic approaching from the right, which includes traffic coming from the straight ahead position turning to their right.

    As for rendering myself liable, I doubt it, read my previous post, I regard myself as a defensive driver, even in my big white van, and have had some close calls but I think driving at a speed suitable for the road, (even if it means 15 in a 30), clearly showing my intentions (without any gesticulation), making eye contact with other drivers (not just the blonde ones), and being aware of whats happening around me (not just the car in front of my bumper, but whats happening as far as I can see), has left me relatively unscathed.

    I really must get out more

    ps. dont shout, I get the point.
    Last edited by galaxymadbaz; 20-09-07 at 21:26. Reason: added the ps

  10. #10
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    Galazymadbaz, you’re not offending at all – in fact your very polite and discussing your points eloquently. Thanks for your detailed response.

    Ok, well the fact that there is disagreement kind of proves that these are ambiguous points.

    Everything quoted from the Highway Code above is what I’ve already read and just highlights my initial points about ambiguous situations. I still really don’t think those scenarios I’ve highlighted (and probably a few good more) are covered in the Highway Code.

    The issue is it’s not so easy to find specific rules. It’s apparent how much initiative and interpretation has to be the deciding factor, leading to confusion. Perhaps discussing it is pointless too, as you can never guarantee others on the road will follow or know the correct rules so you still can never be sure. As Galazymadbaz rightly said, common sense is the main tool we try and use whilst driving but that isn’t always enough.

    Going over the points again (with everyone):

    1) I’m afraid that those who say the driver going straight on has to give way are wrong. As I initially said (although I agree it seems anti-intuitive), the driver going straight on has right of way as the one wishing to turn right has to cut across the others path. That’s the deciding factor - the one who has to cut across the others path gives way:

    http://www.drivertrainingtoday.co.uk...rossroads.html

    http://www.drivingschoolrochford.co....eigh/index.htm

    2) The quote above from the Highway Code by Galaxymadbaz:

    “give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights”

    Again, “approaching from your right?” Ambiguous in the scenario’s I’ve described. We all know to give priority to our right for traffic already on roundabouts, but does it also mean (as mentioned in my opening post):

    a) Traffic waiting to enter from your right?
    b) Traffic waiting to enter from straight ahead and turning right?

    If traffic is sat there waiting, then it’s not “approaching” and it’s certainly not already on the roundabout.

    Watcher, I’m not sure what you’re implying? I agree with you the highway code doesn’t state priority in this situation and is therefore left open to interpretation which is why I brought the point up. Going off my initial statement:

    “Two drivers arrive at the same time. The one at 6 o'clock wishes to turn right. The one at 12 o'clock wants to go straight ahead. Who has right of way? I’d say the guy turning right has right of way at a mini roundabout.”

    I still think the guy turning right at a mini has right of way if you both arrived at the same time. That’s what all the sources on the internet that I’ve read imply. Mini’s are used to facilitate right turns, so drivers are expected to giveway to traffic waiting to enter both on their right and from those straight ahead turning right.

    3) and 4), essentially people are agreeing with me. It’s who arrives first, but if people arrive at the same time someone has to use their initiative and enter first as no mention of such scenarios exist in the highway code. The person who decides to get on the roundabout first will gain priority. Again ambiguous.

    5) This point was just a statement of fact, and as the highway code quote kindly provided by Galazymadbaz shows, if someone chooses the right hand lane to go straight ahead and has to cut across you to exit, that’s perfectly fine so give them room.

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