New study highlights mistakes made when using roundabouts in Spain
It is common knowledge that we all claim that Spanish drivers don’t know how to use roundabouts, and a new survey in Spain is now highlighting the mistakes drivers make when using them. Roundabouts were originally designed to speed up traffic by avoiding traffic jams at red lights, but in practice they are a constant source of conflict between drivers, both for those who drive badly and for those who like to think that it's others that are driving badly.
Accident rate data at roundabouts or turning intersections show that there are 33,978 accidents per year in Spain at an intersection, of which 20.16% occur at roundabouts. The DGT highlights that this figure is higher when looking at roundabouts on interurban roads, where it reaches 29.3%, mainly due to the speed of the cars that they don’t have time to brake when they realize that they are approaching a roundabout.
According to a new study by the Professional Association of Logistics, Transport and Road Safety Training Companies, most drivers say they know how to use a roundabout correctly, but 80% of us make one or more mistakes when using them.
Among the most common are being incorrectly positioned in the lanes, incorrect use of indicators, crossing in front of other vehicles when trying to exit, or directly taking the roundabout as if it were a straight line.
Although there is a great variety of roundabouts, drivers must take the same principles into account in all of them: give way to those who are on the inside lane, and choose the most appropriate lane depending on the exit you are going to take.
In other words, once on the roundabout, the vehicle that is occupying a lane has preference over the one that is going to access it; and, to exit the roundabout, it is essential to previously position yourself in the outer lane (the one on the right); and if that is not possible, you will have to go round it again to place yourself in that position next time.
In addition, 60% of drivers use their indicators incorrectly on roundabouts. More than half of drivers do not use them to indicate that they are going to leave the roundabout, and 30% usually turn the indicator to the left to warn that they are going straight or that they are not going to take the next exit without changing to the inner lane, and then immediately change the indicator when they are going to exit.
The DGT remind drivers that indicators are used correctly on roundabouts as follows:
- Before joining the roundabout you only have to signal if you are going to take the first exit. For this use your right-hand indicator.
- Once on the roundabout, many drivers have the habit of continuing using their left indicator to show that they are continuing around the roundabout, but this is incorrect. The DGT states: “when driving inside, do not use the left turn signal to indicate that you are going to continue turning; use it only to make lane changes, and then use your right indicator to announce your exit from the roundabout”.
- Finally, the right-hand indicator is only used when you are going to take the next exit, thus giving plenty of warning to the other vehicles.
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