Highway Code - Can't find answers to some of my questions there

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    Hello. I've read the Highway Code a few times, but I can't seem to find a few things there. I will try to explain the situations and include pictures as well.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Two lanes merge into one (in a built-up area) and there's no road markings (no curved arrow)http://oi68.tinypic.com/k4xw7r.jpg- Who has right of way?- If people decide to merge in turn, who should move off first (car on the left or on the right)?I've noticed people usually merge in turn. However, the Highway Code recommends this only if safe and appropriate "when vehicles are travelling at a very low speed, e.g. when approaching road works or a road traffic accident" (rule 134), which is not the case here. I am not able to find anything else on this matter there.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2) 4 exit mini roundabout - car at 6 o'clock turns right, car at 12 o'clock goes straight ahead (they arrive at the same time)http://oi67.tinypic.com/17ae5u.jpg- Who has right of way?I've noticed no one knows what to do in this situation and no one usually forces their way through either, so perhaps it's the same situation as when 4 cars meet on a 4 exit roundabout - no one has right of way and they all either stop and wait there forever or everyone moves off at the same time and crashes into each other.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3) 3 lanes to turn right - 4 lanes at the other end of the junctionhttp://oi65.tinypic.com/2dvozl.jpghttp://oi63.tinypic.com/25a8d2p.jpg- If I am in the middle lane (second left/second right), should I end up in the second left lane or second right lane? (please, see both pictures)---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thank you in advance for your answers.
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    Hello. I've read the Highway Code a few times, but I can't seem to find a few things there. I will try to explain the situations and include pictures as well.
    1) Two lanes merge into one (in a built-up area) and there's no road markings (no curved arrow) http://oi68.tinypic.com/k4xw7r.jpg- Who has right of way?- If people decide to merge in turn, who should move off first (car on the left or on the right)? I've noticed people usually merge in turn. However, the Highway Code recommends this only if safe and appropriate "when vehicles are travelling at a very low speed, e.g. when approaching road works or a road traffic accident" (rule 134), which is not the case here. I am not able to find anything else on this matter there
    If the cars are only just moving off then they will be travelling slowly, and thus can merge in turn.
    The right lane is always for overtaking. So the car in the right lane will usually move fastest to overtake the car in the left lane - if they don't, they shouldn't have been in that lane.
    Real life is also complicated by the fact that some cars will be turning left (and will move slowly to do the turn before speeding up) and cars turning right (who may need to wait until no oncoming traffic). So really, the only answer is to be aware of other traffic and try to predict what they will do. You don't want to be too hesitant, but you don't want to push other cars out of the way. Nobody has explicit right of way, so it's just finding a solution that works for everyone.
    2) 4 exit mini roundabout - car at 6 o'clock turns right, car at 12 o'clock goes straight ahead (they arrive at the same time) http://oi67.tinypic.com/17ae5u.jpg- Who has right of way? I've noticed no one knows what to do in this situation and no one usually forces their way through either, so perhaps it's the same situation as when 4 cars meet on a 4 exit roundabout - no one has right of way and they all either stop and wait there forever or everyone moves off at the same time and crashes into each other.
    Generally, if one person is moving into the path of another, the other car has priority. So the car going straight ahead should go first, and car going right (and thus crossing the other car's path) should let them.
    If it's a fairly quiet road and you see another car approaching a mini roundabout at the same time as you, it can be a good idea to slow down or speed up so that you don't arrive at exactly the same time. This obviously won't work on busy roads where you'd then arrive at the same time as a different car.
    3) 3 lanes to turn right - 4 lanes at the other end of the junction http://oi65.tinypic.com/2dvozl.jpg http://oi63.tinypic.com/25a8d2p.jpg- If I am in the middle lane (second left/second right), should I end up in the second left lane or second right lane? (please, see both pictures)
    Thank you in advance for your answers.

    This doesn't generally happen, and when it does it's usually because of another turn soon after. Either the left lane will turn into a lane to then turn left, or the right lane will turn into a lane to take another right. So make sure you know what you will be doing afterwards.
    Everyone should be going into the left most lane, so as in the first picture.
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    "The right lane is always for overtaking. So the car in the right lane will usually move fastest to overtake the car in the left lane - if they don't, they shouldn't have been in that lane."

    I can't agree with this. If I know that I want to go straight ahead at one junction and then turn right at the next junction and there are two lanes to go straight ahead at the first junction, then I will use the right-hand lane so that I don't need to change lanes later and I don't overtake anyone. Sometimes (in some places always) the road is congested and the traffic in the left-hand lane may move faster than the traffic in the right-hand lane, it would be pointless to leave the right-hand lane empty and make the traffic jam twice as long.


    "Generally, if one person is moving into the path of another, the other car has priority. So the car going straight ahead should go first, and car going right (and thus crossing the other car's path) should let them."

    The thing is that this rule applies to regular junctions, roundabouts have their own rules and the Highway Code states that mini-roundabouts should be treated the same way as conventional roundabouts. Imagine the same situation on a big roundabout - they could go at the same time because there's more space, but if the one turning right entered the roundabout first, the one going straight would have to wait for them to finish their turn and vice versa. Or imagine there is a mini roundabout with three exits (like this: |- ), you are at 6 o'clock, want to turn right and the oncoming vehicle is going straight ahead - they give you way even though you are physically facing each other and you are crossing their way.
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    "The right lane is always for overtaking. So the car in the right lane will usually move fastest to overtake the car in the left lane - if they don't, they shouldn't have been in that lane."

    I can't agree with this. If I know that I want to go straight ahead at one junction and then turn right at the next junction and there are two lanes to go straight ahead at the first junction, then I will use the right-hand lane so that I don't need to change lanes later and I don't overtake anyone. Sometimes (in some places always) the road is congested and the traffic in the left-hand lane may move faster than the traffic in the right-hand lane, it would be pointless to leave the right-hand lane empty and make the traffic jam twice as long.
    So you can't agree because you've made up a completely different scenario.
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    You said "The right lane is always for overtaking", so a different scenario shouldn't be a problem. My point is that you never know too much in advance that the two lanes will merge into one and if there are two lanes, people always use both of them for various reasons, the main reason probably being to make the traffic flow faster and prevent long unnecessary tailbacks.

    In any case, thank you for your answers. I've asked in other places too and the conclusion seems to be that none of these situations are explicitly explained in the Highway Code and people should be cautious. The scary thing is the second question though, where 33% people think that no one has priority (which I think too), 33% people believe that the one who goes straight ahead has priority because the one turning right crosses his path and 33% people insist that the one turning right has priority "because they're turning right". But it might be a good thing after all, at least everyone is careful.
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    In the first example, I don't think anybody has priority. In the second example, I would be surprised if both cars couldn't pass by each other fairly easily if they were paying attention.

    There are some situations when there won't be a clear priority, you've just got to be sensible and careful, and don't assume anything from other drivers.
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    The only priority at a roundabout is traffic ON the roundabout.
    Traffic waiting at, or approaching the roundabout does not have priority over any traffic doing similar, no matter what direction they are in relation to each other.
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    (Original post by mphysical)
    The only priority at a roundabout is traffic ON the roundabout.
    Traffic waiting at, or approaching the roundabout does not have priority over any traffic doing similar, no matter what direction they are in relation to each other.
    Really?

    Highway Code:
    Rule 185

    When reaching the roundabout you should
    - give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    Really?

    Highway Code:
    Rule 185

    When reaching the roundabout you should
    - give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights
    You have simply quoted the highway code, but do you UNDERSTAND it.
    It seems to me that you don't.

    When reaching the roundabout[/b] you should
    - give priority to traffic approaching from your right.

    This means exactly what I stated, traffic on the roundabout has priority.
    How do you see this differently?
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    Hello. I've read the Highway Code a few times, but I can't seem to find a few things there.
    Hello! While the Highway Code gives advice in many generic everyday situations, it cannot cover every eventuality and local anomaly that will occur, particularly in inner city areas. Sometimes, judgement and common sense has to be used, without breaking any other Highway Code rule.

    I hope I can shed some light on your queries:

    1) Two lanes merge into one (in a built-up area) and there's no road markings (no curved arrow)http://oi68.tinypic.com/k4xw7r.jpg- Who has right of way?
    In a nutshell, nobody. Each driver, whatever their position, should exercise due care and attention (rules 144, 146, 147) to adopt a safe road position beyond the junction, mindful of not obstructing following vehicles from overtaking (rule 160). Merging in turn is good common sense, but rule 134 does not apply here as it refers only to multi-lane carriageways, whereas the situation in question has only one lane.

    If people decide to merge in turn, who should move off first (car on the left or on the right)?I've noticed people usually merge in turn.
    You cannot control who moves off first, so don't even try. Some drivers are nippy and on the ball, moving away the very nanosecond the light is green. Some drivers are too busy checking their lipstick or text messages or admiring the scenery to notice the lights have changed at all. Whichever lane you are in, just set off normally, and judge the position of the car next to you when you are in motion and have gathered some speed. If the car next to you in slightly ahead of you, very subtly lose speed and blend in behind it, using mirrors and giving an "asking" signal if necessary to help widen the gap (rule 161). Help others to help you.

    If the car alongside you is slightly behind or a little slow, put your foot down to get ahead, while merging gently in front of it. Do not cut it up too closely or sharply (rules 161, 163). Do not exceed the speed limit (rule 124).

    2) 4 exit mini roundabout - car at 6 o'clock turns right, car at 12 o'clock goes straight ahead (they arrive at the same time)http://oi67.tinypic.com/17ae5u.jpg- Who has right of way?
    In this example, the yellow car has priority. The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right to give way to, so can proceed safely onto the roundabout. Once on the roundabout, the blue car must give way to the yellow as the yellow car will now be "approaching from the right" (rules 182, 185).

    I've noticed no one knows what to do in this situation and no one usually forces their way through either, so perhaps it's the same situation as when 4 cars meet on a 4 exit roundabout - no one has right of way and they all either stop and wait there forever or everyone moves off at the same time and crashes into each other.
    If there is a true deadlock stand-off situation, then at least everybody has complied with highway code rule 185 at that moment. Once stationary, and you realise that you have complied with the rule and the car on your right isn't moving, then use careful judgement and set off slowly. Even if the others do the same simultaneously (highly unlikely), you won't be crashing into each other as you'll be moving slowly enough to be able to stop well before contact. In reality, the other three ditherers will probably be grateful that one has taken the lead, so will just follow like sheep once you're on your merry way. Sometimes common sense has to be used.

    3) 3 lanes to turn right - 4 lanes at the other end of the junctionhttp://oi65.tinypic.com/2dvozl.jpghttp://oi63.tinypic.com/25a8d2p.jpg- If I am in the middle lane (second left/second right), should I end up in the second left lane or second right lane?
    Excellent question, this one! I'm so glad somebody brought this up, as I'm seeing it more often in many cities. The Highway Code cannot mention this specifically as road layouts differ so much around the country. One can only heed rules 144, 146, 147, 161, 216 and 217.

    To answer your question of where you will go from the middle lane in your example, we have to rely on common sense. Simply put, there is no hard and fast rule as careful judgement must be used on the fly, taking into account the position and trajectories of the vehicles alongside you. Referring to your hand drawn diagram, the only scenarios that are immediately obvious are as follows:
    • The green car is entitled to take lane 1, but should never attempt to drive into lanes 3 or 4.
    • The blue car is entitled to take lane 4, but should never attempt to drive into lanes 1 or 2.
    • The green car may choose lane 2 if the driver is certain that the red car is driving into lane 3 and the blue car is driving into lane 4.
    • The blue car may choose lane 3 if the driver is certain that the green car is driving into lane 1 and the red car is driving into lane 2.
    • The driver of the red car must exercise extreme caution and be highly watchful of both cars alongside.

    Whichever car sets off faster is the bigger risk, so use that car as a guide and take the lane alongside it. Try to keep pace with the faster car, but slightly behind it (so that the other one is behind you, leaving their lane choice to become their problem).

    Given the curvature of those lanes, the blue car has the shortest path to follow, therefore should take the shortest time and distance to reach their intended lane. Keep pace with this car, but slightly behind it. If the blue car takes lane 3, then you (in the red car) should take lane 2, slightly ahead of the green car arriving last, who will now read the situation to slot into lane 1.

    If the blue car takes lane 4, you could head for either lanes 2 or 3, but keep an eye on green just behind you. If the driver of green is steering sharply and making you uncomfortable to take a wide course into lane 2, just take lane 3 for now until you can change lanes once you've all straightened up.

    As a very last resort, in the unlikely event that both green and blue have set off like bats out of hell and selfishly taken lanes 2 and 3 respectively, no biggie.. just maintain a steady speed that keeps you behind their position so you can slot in just behind either car without conflict.

    I hope this explanation has been useful. The length of this post illustrates just why the highway code cannot cover every situation!
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    (Original post by mphysical)
    You have simply quoted the highway code, but do you UNDERSTAND it. It seems to me that you don't. When reaching the roundabout[/b] you should - give priority to traffic approaching from your right. This means exactly what I stated, traffic on the roundabout has priority. How do you see this differently?
    I see it differently because it doesn't say that the traffic has to be on the roundabout. It only says that the traffic has to be "approaching from your right". Whether someone is approaching you depends on the distance they are from you. Obviously, on a huge roundabout the traffic approaching you will usually already be on the roundabout and if there's someone who has only just entered the roundabout from the nearest exit on your right, they might still be very far from you and in no way approaching you (even though they are already on the roundabout). On a mini-roundabout you can be approached by someone from your right who has not entered the roundabout yet.


    Advisor: Thank you for your detailed explanation, it has been very useful. However, I don't understand the following:

    (Original post by Advisor)
    In this example, the yellow car has priority. The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right to give way to, so can proceed safely onto the roundabout. Once on the roundabout, the blue car must give way to the yellow as the yellow car will now be "approaching from the right" (rules 182, 185).
    The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right, but neither does the blue car. They are in the same position towards each other (you can turn the picture by 180° and it will be the same).
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    I see it differently because it doesn't say that the traffic has to be on the roundabout. It only says that the traffic has to be "approaching from your right".
    Nor does it state "give priority to the traffic approaching THE JUNCTION from the right."
    You are misinterpreting the rule.
    It is referring to the junction - the roundabout itself, so no need to state traffic "has to be on the roundabout"
    All traffic on the junction IS approaching from the right.
    You are extending the junction beyond its boundaries, hence the need for your long winded interpretation.
    The boundaries are defined by the Give Way markings which are around the perimeter of the roundabout.
    At a give way everybody must give way with equal priority.
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    I don't understand the following:

    The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right, but neither does the blue car. They are in the same position towards each other (you can turn the picture by 180° and it will be the same).
    To understand, use your imagination as if the picture were a moving animation. Imagine what would happen a few seconds into the future. The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right so will move onto the roundabout (the blue car is of little concern as it would be travelling in an almost straight line). The blue car may have nothing approaching from the road on its right, but the yellow car is about to approach (turning around the circle) from its right. The clue is in the indicator displayed by the yellow car. If the yellow car does not signal, the clue is in the steering of the front wheels of the yellow car.

    If I were driving the blue car, I would be aware that the yellow car is indicating right, is imminently about to turn across my path, and while doing so will be on my immediate right and on the roundabout extremely soon. If the roundabout is small and the yellow car in close proximity, I MUST give way to the yellow car on my right. (Highway Code rule 185, RTA s. 36, TSRGD 2016 Sch9, Pt 7, §5) At larger and more spacious mini-roundabouts, careful judgement can be used meaning that both cars can emerge simultaneously and can pass around each other perfectly safely, without any risk of a collision or forcing another to change speed or direction.

    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by mphysical)
    Nor does it state "give priority to the traffic approaching THE JUNCTION from the right."You are misinterpreting the rule.It is referring to the junction - the roundabout itself, so no need to state traffic "has to be on the roundabout"All traffic on the junction IS approaching from the right.You are extending the junction beyond its boundaries, hence the need for your long winded interpretation.The boundaries are defined by the Give Way markings which are around the perimeter of the roundabout.At a give way everybody must give way with equal priority.
    Are you saying that when you approach a mini roundabout and see someone approaching the exit on your right, you don't give way to them if you are closer to the roundabout than them? If so, this is contrary to what my driving instructor told me and to what everyone else on the road seems to do.
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    (Original post by Advisor)
    To understand, use your imagination as if the picture were a moving animation. Imagine what would happen a few seconds into the future. The yellow car has nothing approaching from the right so will move onto the roundabout (the blue car is of little concern as it would be travelling in an almost straight line). The blue car may have nothing approaching from the road on its right, but the yellow car is about to approach (turning around the circle) from its right. The clue is in the indicator displayed by the yellow car. If the yellow car does not signal, the clue is in the steering of the front wheels of the yellow car.

    If I were driving the blue car, I would be aware that the yellow car is indicating right, is imminently about to turn across my path, and while doing so will be on my immediate right and on the roundabout extremely soon. If the roundabout is small and the yellow car in close proximity, I MUST give way to the yellow car on my right. (Highway Code rule 185, RTA s. 36, TSRGD 2016 Sch9, Pt 7, §5) At larger and more spacious mini-roundabouts, careful judgement can be used meaning that both cars can emerge simultaneously and can pass around each other perfectly safely, without any risk of a collision or forcing another to change speed or direction.

    Hope this helps
    I discussed this with a driving instructor yesterday and he disagreed with this. He said that it's not considered to be approaching from the right unless the yellow car entered the roundabout first. He said "traffic approaching from the right" means traffic already on the roundabout (therefore the yellow car would have to enter it first) and/or traffic approaching from the nearest exit on my right (whether on the roundabout or not - he said I have to judge whether they are approaching me and whether it's safe to proceed).

    All in all, I've got three different answers on this matter (on other forums too), so I believe the only thing that is certain is that this can be interpreted differently by different people. The Highway Code should be more explicit.
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    I discussed this with a driving instructor yesterday and he disagreed with this. He said that it's not considered to be approaching from the right unless the yellow car entered the roundabout first.
    As I said in my earlier post, the car with its right signal on is imminently about to be on your right - once he moves onto the roundabout. It is indeed possible for both of you to go simultaneously ( I presume this is what your instructor is getting at) if you both have plenty of room for manoeuvre and you judge it carefully.

    What I wouldn't do is go onto the roundabout totally ignoring the signal of the yellow car. Depending on relative approach speeds / proximities etc, the yellow car is perilously close to taking away your priority, so be very careful. If the yellow car is moving at some speed and is that close to the roundabout, you could end up in a whole lot of trouble if you just plough on regardless.

    Your instructor can disagree all he wants, but I have answered your question with regard to the image you posted. The highway code is clear enough by saying "on your right". If any vehicle (including that mysterious yellow car) is closer to your right hand door than your left hand door, then you must start exercising judgement whether to stop or not. That doesn't mean you're always going to stop or always going to go; the same scenario may play out slightly differently each time you encounter it. The process of "giving way" involves making that decision.

    To put this topic to bed once and for all, let's look a little bit beyond the highway code (which is summary advice of road procedure - and some laws - presented in the simplest possible language) at the legal framework behind rules 188 & 189:
    (Original post by Traffic signs regulations and general directions 2016, Schedule 9, Part 7)
    5.—(1) The requirements conveyed to vehicular traffic on roads by a sign provided [the mini roundabout sign] are that—

    (a)a vehicle entering the junction must give priority to vehicles coming from the right—

    (i)at the transverse road marking provided [the single dotted give way line found at mini-roundabouts]

    (ii)at the transverse road marking provided [a double broken give way line]

    (iii)if a marking is not for the time being visible, at the junction;

    (b)a vehicle proceeding through the junction must keep to the left of the white circle at the centre of the marking provided [...] unless the size of the vehicle or the layout of the junction makes it impracticable to do so; and

    (c)no vehicle is to proceed past the [...] marking in a manner, or at a time, likely to endanger any person, or to cause the driver of another vehicle to change its speed or course in order to avoid an accident.
    That's the law, folks!
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    Problem with this mini-roundabout scenario is, we're discussing semantics. You'll very rarely find a mini-roundabout with 4 exits - they usually have 3, as they're designed to aid traffic-flow and avoid accidents in small junctions - a 4 exit mini-roundabout isn't exactly safe for this very reason that this scenario proposes. Whereas, with a normal roundabout, the two drivers entering at the same time from opposite ends won't cross paths due to the size of the roundabout. Though, in the rare case that you do encounter this scenario, technically no driver has right of way, though I wouldn't want to be the guy going straight on if a crash were to happen as claiming that the other guy was at fault when I practically cut in front of him as he was signalling right. However, the most practical thing to do would be for the guy turning right to let the guy going straight to enter first as he'd be taking the shorter path and be off the roundabout quicker, plus the right-guy could then enter and turn 'around' him similar to how two right-turning cars could enter at the same time and turn 'offside to offside'.
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    (Original post by Dunno123)
    Are you saying that when you approach a mini roundabout and see someone approaching the exit on your right, you don't give way to them if you are closer to the roundabout than them? If so, this is contrary to what my driving instructor told me and to what everyone else on the road seems to do.
    I am stating the only priority is traffic on the roundabout
    And you are contradicting your contradictions. Your driving instructor quoted
    I discussed this with a driving instructor yesterday and he disagreed with this. He said that it's not considered to be approaching from the right unless the yellow car ENTERED the roundabout FIRST.
    The rules are the same for all roundabouts, regardless of size.
    But as others have stated, a mini roundabout is a bit of a judgement call, such as how fast is traffic approaching the roundabout and how far away are they.
 
 
 
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