The Meeting Place

Roundabout road rule sparks fierce debate

A Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland (TMR) test of drivers of Facebook has sparked fierce debate about a simple road rule.

TMR posted this photo of a blue car entering a roundabout. It posed the question: “The blue car wants to travel straight ahead at the roundabout. How should they indicate?”

Picture: Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland/Facebook Source:Facebook

A surprising number didn’t know the answer.

Most (like me) believed the driver didn’t have to indicate at all when driving straight through a roundabout.

Others said you have to indicate both when you enter and exit the roundabout.

One said a driver going straight should indicate right on entry but must also indicate left when leaving the roundabout.

Basically, not many people had it right.

When TMR posted the correct answer.

“Because they’re travelling straight through, the driver of the blue car *doesn’t* need to indicate when they enter the roundabout,” the post read.

“They do though need to flick on the left indicator to exit the roundabout (and off again once they’ve exited).”

TMR said they should think of a roundabout like a clock face.

“Any turn that exits before 12 o’clock can be considered a left turn (so you’d indicate left when you’re entering the roundabout),” the post read.

“Any turn that exits after 12 o’clock can be considered a right turn (so you’d indicate right entering the roundabout).

“Straight ahead at a roundabout can be considered 12 o’clock (so you wouldn’t indicate on entry).”

Many people disagreed with the rule, with some saying it was a “dumb, stupid rule”.

Regardless of opinion, not obeying this rule can lead to big fines.

In NSW you’ll cop a $191 fine and two demerit points. In Victoria it’ll cost you two demerit points and a $165 fine and in Tasmania it’s a $126 fine and two demerit points. Queenslanders cop an $80 fine and loss of two demerit points, while in Western Australia it’s a $100 fine and two points lost; in the ACT it’ll cost you two demerit points and a $292 fine; in the Northern Territory and South Australia it’s two demerit points and a total fine of $393.

Did you know this rule? Is this Australia's dumbest road rule?

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22 comments

I do indicate off a dual laned roundabout because the law book says so. However NO ONE else seems to at all. I love the way the rule book is continually changed and yet we are never sent updates when it happens.

 

I don't think the rule has changed since I have been aware of roundabouts in NSW, NT or Tasmania. If it has it has made no difference since I have always indicated when exiting a round-a-about. Just common sense.

Also common sense to indicate left or right on entering if you are going either left, right or returning.

Perhaps these little round-a-bouts made in normal street intersections where quite a lot of people appear not to make the time to indicate properly have effected some nonchalance.

Instead of fines an order to have them wind down their windows and make proper hand signals for a week might inject enough appropriate wisdom.

Good signalling is essential and it goes well beyond indicator lights. How many times do you see someone sitting well forward at an intersection looking at their passenger  like a stunned mullet rather than exchanging glances to traffic especially right and left to let them know they are aware of their position? How often do drivers move wide to take a (in particularly) left hand corner?

Everyone's safety is dependent on giving and reading good signals. 

 

It doesn't make sense to flick the left indicator when exiting the roundabout going straight through at 12 o'clock because when you have driven past the left turn you are already exiting and there would be no indicating time.. You would only be pointlessly indicating after you are already exiting. That is why everyone on a roundabout would know that you are going straight through and where you are exiting by not indicating the same as you would not indicate when continuing in a straight forward direction anywhere else. They must have changed the rules because when I did my driving lessons and tests the rulebook said do not indicate at all going straight through a roundabout, and when I was directly behind a police car going through a roundabout they did not indicate either and they get put through advanced driving tests. I think if they change the rules they should at least send the rule update to you with your licence or rego renewal notice. 

Bear in mind that indication of your intention is not only for you or the car behind you. It is also for the car waiting for entry onto the roundabout, so that they know whether it's safe to enter or not.

I do, however, agree with you that any rule changes should be conveyed to you with your licence / rego renewal.

Whilst on the subject of indicators, the majority of drivers in Australia seem to think that the time to indicate a left or right turn is as they are making the turn. How dumb can they get?  If one asks any driving instructor or policeperson, they will tell you that it is common decency to advise other road users at least 100 metres before the turn, NOT as they are turing.

 

It does make sense to me to indicate left at exit on a 2 lane roundabout if you are in the centre lane, because you are crossing/changing lanes. I also indicate to exit on single lane roundabouts as a courtesy to those drivers at the bottom of the pic waiting to enter.

Sometimes I think councils plant deliberately to speed traffic up - I am short and can't see cars on the other side so I just have to judge if the gap looks big enough...but I drive in NSW where the rule is not give way to the right - it is give way to everyone already on the roundabout - so the commonly used rule is "first in best dressed'.

Yes my neighbourhood also has people who don't indicate until they are actually turning, and even more who indicate right to leave the roundabout - they need a GPS to say "the other left" ... anyone with a partner who cannot navigate will know what I mean :)

It's absolutely DUMB by the Councils !!! ....to have bush shrubs planted in the centre of any roundabout that obscure driver's vision of oncoming traffic and vehicle's indicator.

Agree with you about the shrubs and bushes planted in the  roundabout that obscure the driver's vision Arvo

The blue car should not be indicating at all if it wants to go straight ahead and stay in the same lane. It’s already in the inside lane and if it wants to continue, no need to signal. Only necessary if the driver wants to change lanes to go into the left lane.

Of course you're right Banjo. If folks have driven on the Trafalgar Sq roundabout in London, or the autobahn in Germany, they would have no trouble handling this simple roundabout.

Rule of thumb, if a silly rule exists, follow it or cop a fine.

 

Or spend a few days in Canberra. Known as the roundabout capital of Australia! 

No wonder our PM keeps going round and round and roundabout and getting nowhere.

Still collecting your welfare payments? Then, the PM is doing his job.

Spoken like a true blue government troll.
For the record, I am not and never have been on any form of welfare.

@ Aviator, yep, ana the forum troll is still collecting.

The thread by the way ana is not about politics. It's about "roundabouts." Take note.

A Canberra roundabout. Been on this one Aviator?

Canberra roundabout

 

Source: Lonely Planet

I'm sure I have during my travels ABE. When compared to the Magic Roundabout in Swindon, UK, anything in Australia seems rather tame to me. Here have a look:

Image result for swindon's magic roundabout

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OGvj7GZSIo

Goodness, our simpleton LNP Pollies get bamboozled by the simplistic Canberran roundabouts, going round and round and round in circles. Imagine how they might deal with a really complex roundabout like in Swindon, UK? The mind boggles aviator and I agree with you that our pollies are too tame (or weak) to deal with such complicated journeying.

How exceedingly weird..agreeing with something Aviator never said!!

Aviator, I remember the Magic roundabout well and would avoid it like the plague. The most terrifying experience. Must say though, the British are very polite drivers when it comes to roundabouts. Driving in Paris is quite another experience and not for the faint-hearted. A little trivia…

The world's first roundabout is 112 years old..the Etoile which surrounds the Arc de Triomphe in Paris  has eight lanes and took thirty years to build! Until the spring of 1907, traffic, mostly horse-drawn, was allowed to go around the Etoile in any direction that it fancied. Can you imagine that, horses in every direction! Today the Etoile is known as Place Charles de Gaulle. Nothing much has changed, it’s still crazy!

The British did not introduce their roundabouts until the early 1960s. I happen to like roundabouts, takes some of the monotony out of driving!


Yes I knew that rule. It's common sense and good manners to let other drivers know you are leaving the roundabout by flashing left blinker. So many drivers don't seem to know the rules and cause confusion by flashing their right blinker when leaving the roundabout after travelling from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock.

So many drivers don't seem to know the rules ...

AGREE

Just home on a Friday afternoon after passing through many roundabouts amidst the early rush hour of desperate and dangerous tradies and oblivious school pick-up parents.

Hair-raising to say the least!!

Tradies do drive like maniacs! Glad you got home safely RnR :)

I was advised when this rule came in and have had many an argument with people who don't know of it. Thanks NY19

I was advised when this rule came in and have had many an argument with people who don't know of it. Thanks NY19

 

 

I think the diagram on https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/roundabouts.html  explains it well

 

Diagram providing information on how to indicate and give way in a roundabout, as described in the text that follows.

Cannot see what the confusion is about ???

But it would help if YLC indicated which state the members came from.

Roundabout rules by state.

NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, WA, TAS, NT, ACT

They all seem basically the same to me. Knowing the rules plus exercising a bit of commonsense and restraint seems to be the go.

Thanks for that RnR

Had a quick squiz through the and NT is the only state that has the simplified diagram that is easily understood.

The other states have minute variation and differences of the same which I find confusing, so am pleased I am driving in NSW even if they have the highest fine.

If you think people get confused with roundabouts you ain't seen nothing yet.  Less than a block away we have a road with two intersections with stop signs on all four corners of each intersection.  There are around four of these intersections just in this suburb.

My 'other half' reckons they revert back to the give way to the right rule. Even the police are confused, one I asked agreed with my partner, another one reckoned it was first to arrive, first to move.  When asked what happens if four all arrive at once (and it has happened more than once) he said it then reverts back to give way to the right.  The problem with that is that if four vehicles all arrive at once we all have someone on our right. 

Most people seem to take the first in best-dressed option and when it's four vehicles at once everybody sits there for what feels like ages before one brave soul takes the plunge and just - goes.  LOL

I heard anecdotally that at least one of them used to be a roundabout but they changed it because there were too many accidents.  There are still a lot of accidents but I guess at least they are at a slower speed so not as much damage is done.

Personally I just avoid them.

When there are multiple Stop and/or Give Way signs at an intersection they cancel each other out and you revert back to the rules as if no signs existed at all. So your other half is correct.

In regards to the police, I don't understand why people have this thought that the cops know it all, traffic cops should know more but regular cops in general have a poor understanding of the road rules. It's just not their main focus and often "get it wrong". The "first there, first to go" is how it works in the USA, but most definitely NOT how it works here. 

The four -way stops are all over the USA and work well because over there the drivers generally are far more courteous to each other - I always found myself going first because everyone just looked at each other and didn't want to move first.

 

Ha ha, Greg ... "I always found myself going first because everyone just looked at each other and didn't want to move first."

We must be more courteous in Ipswich too because that's exactly what happens here. :)


Given Australians have no idea how to deal with roundabout in the first place, whether to indicate when exiting seems to be a moot point.

 

Most Australians don't even know they have an indicator lever at all!

I disagree KSS. Everyone knows they have an indicator lever and it doesn't take much brain power to understand the rules of a roundabout. What is mind boggling is that so many people don't understand the rules.

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