The purpose of a roundabout is to keep traffic flowing quickly and smoothly in one direction around a central traffic island. Roundabouts are meant to reduce traffic congestion by allowing drivers to turn left or right, go straight ahead or make a full turn (U-turn), but the rules of using roundabouts are commonly misunderstood. So, what are the rules for roundabouts?
Who Has The Right Of Way In A Roundabout?
When entering a roundabout, you must give way to any vehicles already in the roundabout. Although the vehicles you are required to give way to may often enter the roundabout from your right, you still need to give way to all vehicles that are already inside the roundabout, regardless of which direction they are entering from. In some states like Victoria, you are also required to give way to any trams entering or approaching a roundabout.
How Does A Multi Lane Roundabout Work?
Understanding roundabouts with more than one lane can be confusing. Keep an eye on the signs and lane markings as you’re approaching a roundabout with multiple lanes to ensure you choose the correct lane. Usually, if you want to take the first exit, you’d need to be in the left lane. Whereas if you want to take the third or subsequent exits, you’d need to be in the right lane. To continue straight, you can usually be in either lane.
If you realise you’re in the wrong lane, you are allowed to change lanes in the roundabout as long as it is safe to do so and the lanes are marked with broken lines rather than unbroken ones. If the lanes are marked by unbroken lines, you’ll need to stay in your lane – even if it isn’t the correct one for the direction you’d like to go.
What To Do When Entering A Roundabout
Slow down when you approach a roundabout and make sure you position your vehicle in the correct lane for the direction you want to travel. Give way to vehicles already in the roundabout and enter the roundabout only when there is a safe gap for your vehicle. Make sure you indicate your intentions as you enter the roundabout: if you’re going left, then indicate left and if you’re going right or making a U-turn, then indicate right. There is no need to indicate if you’re going straight through a roundabout.
What To Do When Exiting A Roundabout
When you leave a roundabout, you should indicate left only if it is practicable to do so. If you indicated when you left the roundabout, turn off your indicator as soon as you are out of the roundabout to avoid confusion on the road.
Differences in Roundabout Rules by State
There are some slight, yet important, roundabout rule changes depending on the state you are driving in:
|Jurisdiction||Rules for Exiting a Roundabout||Additional Notes|
|All States||Must give way to vehicles already in the roundabout (both left and right). Indicate direction when not driving straight through.||In multi-lane roundabouts, follow the direction of signs or arrows on the road.|
|Queensland, WA, NT||Indicate when leaving, even when driving straight through.||–|
|All others (excluding ACT)||Indicate when leaving if “practical to do so.”||–|
|ACT||Follow the ‘halfway around’ rule.||Drivers exiting before the halfway point must enter using the left lane and indicate left. Those exiting after the halfway point must enter using the right lane and indicate right. If driving straight through, “indicate off” after passing the preceding exit.|
Who is at Fault in a Roundabout Accident?
Determining who is at fault in a roundabout accident depends on the specific set of circumstances and how each of the involved drivers acted.
- Right of way: In all Australian states, vehicles entering the roundabout must give way to any vehicle already on the roundabout, regardless of position. If the entering vehicle enters the roundabout and does not yield to the vehicle already in the roundabout and causes an accident, they are generally found to be at fault.
- Indicating: If a driver does not use their indicators to inform other drivers of their intended direction of travel, and as a result, contributes to an accident, then they could be considered an at fault party.
- Exiting Roundabouts: If the accident occurs in QLD, WA or the NT, where indicating on exit is required, due to a lack of indication, then the driver may be found at fault. In all other states except ACT, drivers are only required to indicate if it is practical, which can make it more difficult to determine who is at fault in these jurisdictions.
- Multilane Roundabouts: In the case of a driver making an unsafe change on a multilane roundabout, they may be found at fault.
- Pedestrians and trams: If a vehicle in Victoria does not yield to a tram and causes an accident as a result, they could be found to be the at fault party.
If You’ve Had An Accident In A Roundabout And It’s Not Your Fault
Roundabouts can be confusing, and despite following all the correct rules, you may still be involved in a car accident. If you’ve had an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have the right to be placed back into the position you were in before your accident. With Right2Drive, you may be eligible for a like for like accident replacement vehicle for the entire duration of your repairs and at no cost to you.
Make sure you collect the correct information after your accident and if possible, get independent witness statements and contact details. If you’re able to provide or acquire dashcam footage, that would also prove helpful.