The dreaded roundabouts in Spain and how you should use them
Most foreign, and even local drivers in Spain find the prospect of using a roundabout daunting and at times frustrating as so many people seem to have their own “rules” when it comes to using them!
First and foremost a round-about is designed to improve the flow of traffic and not to hinder it, but sadly that’s more often than not what happens.
Let’s take a look and see if we can clarify their use. We are I am sure all aware that when approaching a roundabout, we are obliged to give way to the traffic already on/using the roundabout. Most accidents on roundabouts occur when exiting not entering, although of course there are incidents when we drive into the rear of a vehicle as we thought/judged that they had entered the roundabout, only to find out BANG they haven’t.
In Spain we drive a left-hand drive car but our normal driving position on a road should always be as far to the right of the road as is possible and this applies to a roundabout as well. If you think of a roundabout as nothing more than a road with curves it may make your approach less terrifying, we have many clients who have said they find roundabouts in Tenerife terrifying and that does not help the smooth flow as the drivers are distracted by their fear.
We should ALWAYS exit a roundabout from the right-hand lane, unless there are signs or signals that indicate otherwise. So, to put this into prospective let’s consider a normal journey along a reasonably straight road with two lanes i.e. a dual carriage way perhaps. We wish to turn right at the next junction, which lane would you need to be in? Of course, that is a no brainer we would have to be in the inside (right hand) lane in order to carry out this maneuver safely. I would hope that none of our readers would consider using the outside lane in these circumstances where you would potentially cut across another vehicle perhaps causing an accident or incident to occur. If the road was the same but with various curves the same rule would apply. So, if you apply the above rules to a roundabout then you would be in the right-hand lane to safely and correctly exit the roundabout.
According to the DGT when asked “can I exit a roundabout from the inside lane” the firm answer is “no” and if an accident occurs the DGT will blame the person not using the roundabout “correctly” i.e. if a car on the inside lane cuts across a car in the right-hand lane who has not yet exited the roundabout. Confused? We don’t blame you at all, but if you try to consider a roundabout as a straightish road with curves where there are junctions on the right hand side you may wish to use , apply the same logic to a roundabout and you should remain safe and accident free and on the right side of the law!