Driving in the UK: What Are the Different Types of Roundabout?

Driving in the UK: What Are the Different Roundabout

It has been said that the United Kingdom has more roundabouts in its road system than any other country around the globe. This is because it has been proven that circular junctions are much safer than regular intersections, due to the fact that there are a reduced number of collision points. That being said, the sheer number of roundabouts can be quite confusing for a driver new to the UK road network, and that confusion kicks up a notch when you discover that there are quite a few different roundabouts on the road. To cut all that confusion out, this article has been created to help clarify all the varying roundabout types.


Single-lane roundabouts

The single lane roundabout is one of the most popular roundabouts. It usually appears when a minimum of two roads meet. The roundabout has no traffic lights, however, there is a central island and you might see signs signifying that a roundabout is in front.


Multi-lane roundabouts

These types of roundabouts come in different sizes which come in various levels of complexities. What makes these roundabouts different is the fact that there are multiple lanes that a driver can make use of on the roundabout.


Mini roundabouts

Mini roundabouts are as the name suggest regular roundabouts with one difference, in place of a physical island like one would find on a single lane roundabout, are road markings.  These types of roundabouts should not be discounted as they still have to be navigated like any other roundabout with an island. What makes a mini roundabout “mini” is the fact that it lacks a central island.


Turbo roundabouts

This type of roundabout is actually a new type of roundabout. The way they are designed is that consist of two lanes which a driver has to choose his or her lane when approaching. This is similar to a multi-lane roundabout, with one notable difference, once you select your lane, you are unable to change your mind.


Magic roundabouts

No, this is not the start of a nursery rhyme. These types of roundabouts have been actually designed to slow down traffic, helping to alleviate the potential for traffic collisions. There are usually at least two mini roundabouts in the sequence which drivers have to navigate carefully. These roundabouts have to be treated as single roundabouts so drivers do not fall foul of the highway code.


Access-controlled roundabouts

These types of roundabouts are usually used instead of traffic lights. For example, these roundabouts can help alleviate traffic flow to the centre by adding traffic lights to the entrance.



Cut-through roundabouts

These roundabouts are also referred to as throughabouts, as they have been designed to combine a regular roundabout with a road going right through the middle of it. This type of roundabout needs to make use of traffic lights, as it would otherwise be extremely difficult for motorists to cross the roundabout to the other side in a safe manner. Drivers that approach such a roundabout will have to pay attention to the traffic lights, as they are there for the design to safely work.


Tram roundabouts

This type of roundabout is a take on the cut-through roundabout, with the difference being that trams cross the centre of the roundabout. There are only a few of these tram roundabouts in the United Kingdom, however, you will notice them when you drive in certain parts of London.


These are just a few roundabouts that you are bound to come across when you make use of the road network in the UK.


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