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How to drive in a roundabout in Spain

By October 22, 2014September 11th, 2021No Comments

Advice from Dirección General de Tráfico – October 2014 (translated to English)

A roundabout is a special type of intersection where the general rule of priority to the right is replaced in favour of those who are already driving inside it. Although they provide drivers with more safety and a more fluid circulation, many drivers seem not to know the basic rules when driving in a roundabout. We will remind you of them here.

There are a wide variety of designs of roundabouts but drivers must always take into account and observe the same principles when entering into a roundabout: giving way to those already driving inside it and choosing the most convenient lane according to the exit you want to take. Once inside the roundabout, the car already driving on the lane always has the right of way with regard to the car that is it trying to access that lane and before exiting the roundabout it is strictly necessary to move to the outer lane in good time. Should it not be possible for the driver to move to the outer lane, the he/she will have to drive around the roundabout again and take the proper lane safely in advance.

Please remember that circulation in a roundabout is always anti-clockwise.

What we do right and wrong:

Car A: The performance of the driver of Vehicle A is correct in the two situations shown in the picture. The driver drives in the outer lane and properly indicates the exit he/she is going to take.

Car B: The driver has chosen to drive through one of the inner lanes to drive around the roundabout, but he/she moves to the outer line early enough to exit the round about.

Car C: In the two examples where Vehicle C  is exiting the roundabout from the inner lanes, he/she is doing it incorrectly as he/she is cutting  other drivers up and could cause an accident.

Car D: The vehicle is making one of the most common wrong movements. The driver is crossing all lanes, thus cutting other drivers up and creating a risk of accident.

Car E: The lane taken by Vehicle E is correct to change direction, however the driver should have progressively changed lanes earlier and should be in the outer lane before exiting the roundabout.

How do I indicate direction at a roundabout?

In order to access a roundabout, although it is compulsory to indicate to the right, sometimes – especially if the next exit is very close- it is not recommended to indicate, in order to avoid other drivers wrongly thinking that you are going to take the next exit. If you are driving inside the roundabout, you should not be indicating to the left to indicate that you are still circumnavigating; only use it for changing lanes and indicate to the right to show the exit you are going to take.

When should I indicate that I am exiting the roundabout?

We must always indicate early enough when we are going to exit a roundabout but not after having passed the longitudinal axis of the previous exit to avoid drivers behind thinking that we are going to take a different exit.

Can I directly exit the roundabout from an inner lane?

No, you cannot unless proper signs are displayed in the roundabout and the road marked accordingly. In this case, you could exit the roundabout from the inner lane and from the right lane. But please remember that if the outer lane is empty, you are obliged to use it.

How can I exit a roundabout if the outer lane is busy?

Except for the exception mentioned above, the main safety principle of a roundabout obliges you to always exit a roundabout from the outer lane. If you did not have time enough to place your vehicle in the right lane, please do not stop in the middle of the roundabout waiting for other drivers to give way to you. You cannot take the exit cutting other drivers on the outer lane up either. Remember: You do not have right of way!! You must keep driving for another circulation and take the outer lane early enough.

Priority of cyclists when cycling in group:

Cyclists shall be given way by any motor vehicle provided that they are cycling in group and the first of them has already indicated that he/she is crossing or they have entered the roundabout already.

In this sense, it is as if the whole group of cyclists form an imaginary vehicle with the first cyclist at the front and the last cyclist at the back.