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Instructors Tips

Mini Drive Instructors

We have a wealth of experience to share with all who are learning to drive. This blog has been setup to give information & advice to help with your lessons and any private practice. You can find more at

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Judging Traffic without any Risk

Roundabouts Posted on Sun, March 11, 2012 21:30:44

Once you have learnt how to approach roundabouts safely, the next challenge you will face is being able to judge when you can move into the traffic flow.

Don’t be worried if you find this difficult at first, most people do. However there is a way you can teach yourself the technique without any risk.

The first thing to realise is that you are not really looking for cars at a roundabout you are looking for space. If as you approach you see a vehicle coming from the right, don’t immediately think “I’ve got to stop” look beyond the car to see if there is space behind it. This way you can adjust your speed so that the vehicle passes as you get to the roundabout and you can move in to the space after it. If there is a line of traffic then you will know that you have to stop. The key though is to start looking early at the traffic flow at a roundabout. If you leave it to the last few metres it’s more likely to go wrong.

When you are in the passenger seat with parents or friends, practice looking at the traffic and trying to judge where each vehicle is going. But because you are in the passenger seat while someone else is driving there is no risk if you get it wrong. As you practice more you will get more confident that you can spot
spaces in the traffic and identify opportunities to move into traffic. You should then be able to take this confidence into your own approaches into roundabouts.

So to recap,

Look early as you approach the roundabout looking for spaces in the traffic.
If possible adjust your speed to be able to use those spaces.
If there is no space then stop, and look for other spaces to move into.

Practice by sitting with parents and looking at the traffic flows.

Roundabouts – It’s all in the approach

Roundabouts Posted on Sat, February 18, 2012 16:00:17

Does this sound familliar…

“I hate roundabouts! I never know whether to go or stop. I’m so confused I just stop and rely on my instructor to tell me when to go…”

If this does sound familiar or if you have other issues with roundabouts then you can take some comfort in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Many new drivers struggle with roundabouts, but hopefully I can help shed some light on things. This post deals with the approach.

Understanding Roundabouts.

First of all you must understand why we have roundabouts in the first place. Why use them when a set of traffic lights do a similar job? Well the main difference between a roundabout and a set of traffic lights is that roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing where two or more roads intersect. (With traffic lights if yours is on red you can’t move until it goes green, even if there is no traffic flowing from any other direction).

So the First point is that your approach should reflect the fact that we need to keep traffic moving where possible.

Use a structured approach.

You need to follow a structured approach. Use the Mirror-Signal-Position-Speed-Look routine religiously when approaching any roundabout.

1: Check all mirrors

2: If you’re taking the first exit signal Left, if you’re turning right signal right. Any other exits no signal

3: Position your car to the appropriate lane

4:Slow down! This is a very critical stage. Many people underestimate how much to slow down. You will also need to change gear (usually to 2nd) once you have reduced speed.

5:Look. After you have completed this routine you should be 10-20 meters from the roundabout with your left foot covering the clutch pedal and your right foot covering your brakes. Your speed will be around 10-15MPH Once you have the car under control it will be easier to look for space to enter the roundabout.

If space is there then a gentle press of the gas pedal will get you into the roundabout. If it is not clear then a push of the clutch and brakes will bring the car to a halt at the line smoothly and under control.

You can then move the car away when there is a space to move into.

Click here to see a video