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Navigating Roundabouts – With Driving Instructor Stephen Hicks
Roundabouts can be one of the most difficult parts to master when learning to drive. To help just a little bit, we decided to check in with driving instructor Stephen Hicks to see what advice he has for learner drivers trying to master the tricky feat that are roundabouts!
Hi Stephen, what would you say is key when approaching a roundabout?
“Patience is the key to negotiating, entering and circumnavigating roundabouts. Even the most experienced drivers didn’t learn how to navigate a roundabout properly all those years ago, so now new drivers have to deal with that too.”
Were there not many roundabouts around back in the day then?
“Myself, passing my driving test in 1974 and to my memory, can only remember ever seeing one roundabout while learning to drive with my then driving instructor “Cliff Warner” of Waltham Cross. The roundabout was experimental at the time. It was located at the junction of “The Great Cambridge Road” (A10), out of London and Bullsmoor Lane, that linked a place called “Freezywater” and “White Webbs” near Enfield in Middlesex.
It is my strong opinion that new drivers taking their driving test today on our very busy roads are more skilled in many ways, than the so called “experienced drivers” using our roads on a daily basis.
Experienced drivers can assess the speed of approaching vehicles at junctions including entering roundabouts but, that is about it as far as skilled experienced drivers. Once on the roundabout, it seems it’s a free-for-all as far as they are concerned, cutting across three lanes of traffic and jumping on brakes to avoid hitting cars that are correctly positioned and already nearing the exit of a carefully considered thought process from a newer driver. Probably gained from using “X-BOX” type gaming equipment, young drivers are quick to assess where they need to be to get to where they want safely.”
So, what do you teach to your learners when it comes to mastering roundabouts?
“As an instructor of many years, I teach my pupils the rule of only 2 lanes. Being on the right-hand lane on approach to roundabouts to turn right, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th exit depending on the size and complexity of the roundabout junction.
Then for turning left and driving ahead at a roundabout I teach my pupils to stay beside the left-hand kerb on the approach to a roundabout, keeping left through-out the whole of the roundabout unless road markings painted on the road tell them otherwise.”
Any more final words of encouragement for learners struggling with roundabouts?
“Rule one of observation is to trust no-one and watch every little detail of any vehicle on your right-hand side. Watch them until you know for sure where they are going before joining any roundabout.”
There you have it! It’s extremely interesting to know that some road users don’t have the proper training when it comes to navigating a roundabout. This means it never hurts to be extra observant whilst being in the right positions on a roundabout.
Thank you to Stephen Hicks for sharing his advice, if you live near Witham, Essex and you are learning to drive, you can contact Steve at [email protected] or call him on 07836690551.
Another great way to master roundabouts is to tackle them during private practice. To get covered in a borrowed car from just £12 a day*, click the link below to get a quote!
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