Roundabout etiquette. Give way to speed or not?

So my understanding of road rules when it comes to roundabouts is that you give way to the right to vehicles on the roundabout. I've gotten in a few near misses by pulling onto a roundabout when it was clear ( no cars to give way to ) only for a car to approach at a much faster speed and almost t-bone me.

I'm I right in my assumption or should we give way to a car approaching at speed even if not on the roundabout?

Thanks Ozb


    • From

      Approaching a roundabout: Vehicles entering a roundabout must give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout.

      If the vehicle approaching from the right is not already on the roundabout, and you will be on the roundabout first, they have to give way to you.

      • I wish I could upvote this multiple times.
        It pisses me off how many people misunderstand the rules at roundabouts.

      • I'm well aware of that. Are you aware of the thing I mentioned - common sense?

        To anyone proceeding straight into and through a roundabout, anyone coming from the left (if their right side is clear) is going to be coming out of much less visibility and going to be much slower.

        Not to mention - some roundabouts are so small that to be literally "in the roundabout" is about the space of 2 metres. Good luck having that kind of reaction speed.

        • Yep, obviously don't drive in front of someone flying at you when they are clearly not going to stop. Being right doesn't make it hurt less.

          I had thought the question related to the road rules, but common sense is very important too.

        • @brazen00: This was obviously not a purely hypothetical/theoretical question given OP was asking because she was involved in situations where it mattered. I gave a practical answer, and in the real life that's all that's going to matter - who's technically correct is a consideration, not the be-all or end-all to it.

        • @HighAndDry: Not sure "obviously", but I take your point.

        • @brazen00: So OP begins with this:

          I've gotten in a few near misses by pulling onto a roundabout when it was clear ( no cars to give way to ) only for a car to approach at a much faster speed and almost t-bone me.

          Then asks this:

          or should we give way to a car approaching at speed even if not on the roundabout?

          So my answer is still: Duh, yes, give way.

        • @HighAndDry: Absolutely right. I live in Rockhampton where road rules and the use of indicators are considered non-mandatory and simply suggestions that you can feel free to ignore.

          I now take the "discretion is the better part of valour" path when some loony is approaching a roundabout at Mach 1 from my right. As Dr Phil likes to say "do you want to be right or happy"?

        • I agree with you, not sure why you got hit with all the downvotes.

          It'd be like stepping in front of fast moving traffic on a pedestrian crossing, because you have right of way.

          People need to apply common sense to avoid accidents.

        • @Shenkle:
          But they dont even have to be approaching at mach one…

          For example, on one of those tiny roundabouts, OP is approcahing and wants to turn right, so OP is going slowly due to making a 90 deg turn.

          There is another car approaching from the right which is going straight through so is going at normal speed.

          Then OP pulls out directly infront of the car because that car hasnt quite entered the roundabout which begins 3m to the right of OP.

        • +2 votes


          Agreed, even if someone else is wrong still drive defensively.
          Best just to let a lot of things go and forget about ego, road rage can escalate quickly and badly.. Never know what kind of crazy moron is driving the other car

        • @stumo:


          There is another car approaching from the right which is going straight through so is going at normal speed.

          This is also a problem itself. Technically one should always slow down to at most 40 kph ( my opinion, not sure if there's a rule specifically pointing out this speed limit) when going straight in a roundabout. The driver should always be anticipating that there may be a car coming from the other direction that is not visible to the driver during the approach?

          I agree with @HighAndDry to be a defensive driver rather than be involved in an unnecessary accident. But I have noticed that plenty of drivers (at least in NSW) either didn't slow down, or worse, actually sped up to get through a roundabout because he / she thinks "The other car's too slow, I can beat them to it"

        • @suwandy:
          I fully agree with you, except where visibility on the road to the right is good, or its a roundabout with only 3 exits so no road on your right.

          But what op is saying is that as long as you cant see a car in the 3m of roundabout to your immediate right, then you are g2g. Screw looking further up that road, op is in the right!

        • @HighAndDry:

          Road rules aside - for safety's sake….
          Mr Khoury from the NRMA adds that: “Drivers should enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so.”

        • @stumo: At many small roundabouts, there may be poorer visibility and often you can not see a left indicator, especially as the car turns a little to the left as entering the intersection. So a car approaching from the right side and going straight (thus not slowing down fully) could only guess what the car on their left is doing, based perhaps on slower speed, etc. The change in speed is the only meaningful indication of the other drivers intent, and sometimes this can be misread (eg. inattentive fast-moving or overly cautious slow-moving drivers).

          The best approach is always to slow down if you see another vehicle (or pedestrian) heading towards the roundabout and prepare to stop if they enter first, or happen to cross your path without warning. As I recall, the rulebook says you must indicate 'left' when exiting a roundabout, (thus no compulsion to indicate 'right' when turning right (ie. 3rd exit) and thus at the greatest risk of hitting another vehicle entering the roundabout.

        • @krzystoff: I'm pretty sure you have to indicate right in Qld. The real idiots are the ones who indicate and turn right from the left hand lane of a two lane roundabout.

          Unless there are custom arrows it is dangerous and breaks the whole concept. This caused the only accident I've been involved in.

        • @HighAndDry: Unfortunately too many people believe that "having the right of way", or following the road rules regardless of the actual physical situation, is all that matters.

          If this was the case, there would be very few, if any incidents on the road, but obviously that will never be the case, thanks to a little thing called human nature.

          This is why I always look in all directions before taking off from traffic lights, as barely a day has passed in at least 5 years when I didn't see one or more cars run a red light.

          Now I essentially apply the same mindset to most situations on the road, as I'd rather avoid a situation by performing an action I'm not "legally required to", than taking the risk of having something actually happen, because I am legally not at fault.

          I summarise this as "Being in the right doesn't mean it's safe".

        • @HighAndDry: you're back peddling a bit… the reality is, your original reply stated that if the OP could see a car approaching from the right at all that they should give way, and even elaborated to say if the OP was hit they would automatically be in the wrong, implying you believe the rule is to give way to the right … this is incorrect. In fact there was a fatal accident at a roundabout near me where the driver approaching from the right at speed t-boned an innocent young family on the driver's door and the driver who approached from the right was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death etc because they didn't give way to a car already on the roundabout. Don't dare blame the young mother who was hit's common sense, she saw a clear spot and proceeded cautiously as she is allowed to do, some idiot approaching at speed with no one at their right just raced on out to the roundabout and hit her.

          Don't take it personally, or get defensive, just learn from this! We are all wrong sometimes… it is a very common misconception and one reason why there are so many accidents at round abouts, because people with this misconception don't see anyone at their right as they approach, then they feel entitled to sail on out… please get your knowledge up to date, you must give way to a car that arrived and already entered the roundabout in front of you / at your left even if it is moving slow, they are allowed to be there, they arent cutting you off, that is the rule (over and above giving way to the right)!

        • @spillmill: correct, i really dont know why people struggle with this so much, they should put ads on tv educating people… you indicate right if you are going right and once you pass the previous exit, you switch to indicating left to tell drivers you are exiting…. its not hard!

        • @MrFrugalSmith: The tragic example you give serves to illustrate how dangerous this road rule actual is.

          The t-boned and killed driver was simply following the road rules where she had the right of way but if the road rule was to give way to the right she would have survived. Therefore you could say the road rule killed her in addition to the dangerous driver because the road rule did not protect her. I think this is where this particular rule gets confused. I would never drive into a roundabout without giving way to an oncoming car on the right. Are you saying if I am first into the roundabout I should trust the car coming on the right? No thank you.

        • @MrFrugalSmith:

          As I've said - yes, you're technically right. And as I've also said - I'm giving practical, not merely theoretical or hypothetical advice. Let's take your example:

          In fact there was a fatal accident at a roundabout near me where the driver approaching from the right at speed t-boned an innocent young family on the driver's door and the driver who approached from the right was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death etc because they didn't give way to a car already on the roundabout.

          You think that young mother would rather be legally correct, or to have avoided the accident?

        • @JTTheMan: the intersection is such that people don't have much visibility where the mother was entering, but they have heaps of visibility where the hoon was approaching to their right, so the hoon felt entitled to keep the pedal to the metal thinking the rule was give way to the right and all was clear… even if the rule was give way to the right she probably would have proceeded (not being able to see too far anyway) - obviously neither driver would have proceeded had they seen the other car coming and causing a deadly crash, but the hoon driver was looking right at speed not understanding they should slow down, look ahead and give way regardless due to their common misconception about the road rules. Its education we need, not a rule change.

        • @HighAndDry: see my reply to JTTheman, it explains where i am coming from. I agree practically and very often give way to the right as sooo many people force it anyway. However the rule is there I think because of mismatched sight distances in some roundabouts… you cant just have give way to the right because you may be able to see for miles to your right and proceed at 60kmh, whereas the next intersection to your left may have limited visibility of you, so with no idea you are approaching at speed, a slow vehicle has proceeded out into the roundabout just before you in front, whether it be a cautious mother, a truck, or whatever…therefore give way to vehicles already on the roundabout should mean we all slow down and enter when safe rather then just looking to the right and expecting everyone else to have seen us and to wait as we fly on through

      • If your driving a normal sized vehicle when does this ever matter though. Just confuses the situation.

        I can understand with slow or large vehicles.

        But if not. Look to your right > can you safely get onto the round about

        Yes > go
        No > give way

      • I'm sure the b-double that you beat to the roundabout by 1 metre really appreciates you…

      • Mr Khoury from the NRMA adds that:
        “Drivers should enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so.”
        That is the bottom line.
        Never push your right of way.

      • How slow do you drive though

  • "Also not really specifically aimed at only you, but this is why we have so many traffic accidents and threads on traffic accidents. Do people really lose all common sense when they get in a car?"

    only about 90% of people.

  • +19 votes

    At least in Victoria if you are first in the roundabout they must give way to you even if they are coming on your right. There is no rule about giving way to cars coming from the right.

      • +10 votes

        My dashcam will show I am in the right however I'm quite happy to wait a few extra seconds rather than pull out in front of someone if I don't think they are going to slow down.

        I don't know what you mean by the changing lane comment because the car indicating has to give way.

      • Technically if you indicate to change lanes, the car in the lane you're entering has to give way

        That's not a road rule.

        • Huh, I stand very much corrected.

        • This is one of my pet peeves
          When people indicate to change lanes and they think it's their right to be able to just move in front of you.

        • @Danstar: So true. The only rule this remotely refers to is a bus pulling out onto a lane from a stop on the side of the road, but even then that isn't changing lanes. If a bus was to change lanes, the bus is still the one to give way.

      • Technically if you indicate to change lanes, the car in the lane you're entering has to give way


        I read that over and over again desperately trying to convince myself that you made a typo or something…

        • Sorry, brain fart haha - I seem to remember it from something a while ago but all available research says I'm wrong on this point.

        • @HighAndDry: You may be thinking of when 2 lanes merge into 1, the vehicle in front has right of way.

        • @HighAndDry: For what it's worth, even though it's not prescribed by law, it is consistent with the law, and I think a good rule of thumb on the road.

        • @lddv04: only when it is a zipper merge or there is an obstruction in your lane

        • @HighAndDry: Interesting, I had exact same memory. When I did my driving test some 20 odd years ago I remember a rule that said that after a car in the lane next to you had indicated for something like 10 seconds/100 metres you were legally obliged to give way/make room. but either bad memory, the cops doing the training at the time were wrong or the law changed as I see no reference to it anymore.

        • @gromit: Yeah. That's not something I feel like I'd just make up in my mind, because I also remember thinking it was a stupid rule at the time. Maybe I'm giving away my age…

    • I've never understood the need to say give way to a car on your right… last i checked, there would never be a car on a roundabout, coming from your left, unless they're doing something crazy wrong…

      Just give way to a car on the roundabout. simples.

    • Same everywhere my friend.

  • buy a big bull bar

  • Could you see them approaching the roudabout? If so, you should've given way. If not, and you don't have a clear view of the road to your right, slow down and make sure it's clear.

    Not at the moment I decided to pull onto the roundabout from a standing start.

    Yes. Duh. Because if an accident happens, all that anyone will be able to see is that you got hit from the right side on a roundabout, meaning you're automatically at fault.
    slow down and make sure it's clear.

    Surely that applies to the driver approaching at speed too?

    I'm not advocating people pull out just because they are technically correct, but i'm genuinely unsure and have already gotten 2 conflicting answers here. ( Not that Ozb is gospel of course)

    edit formatting and clear answer above

    • You are technically correct, as are others agreeing with you.

      But technically correct won't protect you in the case of an accident, because again all everyone will be able to see is that you got hit on your right on a roundabout, which makes you automatically at fault and good luck arguing they were a metre outside the roundabout when you entered it.

      Driving is about predictability and common sense - road rules help this, but I'm not sure of any situation - not just on the road - where 'technically correct' is the best course of action without considering practical realities.

      • I agree and I first learned to drive on motorbikes where the rule was always "assume that every other driver is an idiot" it's held me in good stead, 16 years driving a car and no accidents.

        • Aye, I find that's not just a good rule, but also worryingly accurate. Apologies for the snark earlier, I'll go get some coffee.

        • The rule on motorbikes is "Assume that everyone is trying to kill you".

          But yes… you're correct. Assume the worst on the road.

        • The Three Golden Rules of Motorcycling

          Rule #1: Every Other road user is an Idiot, and does not care/see/hear you 🙈
          Rule #2: You are Also an Idiot, because… motorbikes 🏍️
          Rule #3: Register as a donor with your State Road Authority or 💀

        • Except you're the idiot for not knowing the rules in a roundabout

    • Here is your answer. If you pull into the roundabout, and get hit from the side, then you are at fault. If you get hit at the back, this means you are considered already in the roundabout, so I guess the other party is at fault.

      My advice is to pull into the roundabout as quickly as possible when everything looks clear, even if you have to press on your accelerator a bit, to stop speeding maniacs from t-boning you, which would mean that you are at fault.

      • Not so sure insurance company will agree considering the actual road rule

      • So if you are already in the roundabout and you must stop because the cars ahead have stopped and somebody flies in from your right and slams into the side of your car than you are saying that you are at fault….
        I think not
        Thats why the rule says "Give way to vehicles in the roundabout"

        • I can't think of a scenario where this might occur where someone might slam you from the right if you are already on the roundabout?

        • @geek001: Perhaps on a two-lane roundabout, if you are in the left lane and a vehicle travelling at higher speed hits you (admittedly give-way accidents are pretty rare on multilane roundabouts. Another scenario, car stopped due to pedestrian crossing, another car enters and doesn't have enough space to slow fully, mounts the centre kerb to avoid you but hits the side of your car (some smaller roundabouts have no actually island, but just painted lines or a low paved kerb).

    • Not at the moment I decided to pull onto the roundabout from a standing start.

      Why are you pulling into a roundabout from a standing start? Unless you are giving way to someone, you should not stop before entering a roundabout. The point of a roundabout is that traffic from all sides can keep moving.

      You should slow down as you approach and prepare to stop. As you slow down you should be looking at traffic in the roundabout, and approaching the roundabout. You should stop for people approaching from the right and entering before you (this includes assessing their speed). If you would enter the roundabout before them, do not stop. If they enter before you, then you should give way (depending on the size of the roundabout).

      Anyone on your right should not have to brake because you entered the roundabout in front of them. They are paying attention to traffic on their right, not you. You are on their left, they expect you to make way for them. If you are stopped, then it looks like you are giving way, as you should be.

      It sounds like you are doing roundabouts wrong.

      • There was another car on the roundabout, requiring me to stop and wait. It does happen from time to time on roundabouts you know

  • road rules side
    if giving way to a speeding car approaching roundabout saves your life…. then you've done the right thing.
    what have you got to prove by entering the round about just because you know the other guy is wrong. the only thing that's going to happen in that situation is you being dead or your family feeding you out of a tube.

    common sense should come first.. if it is unsafe to do so…just don't do it. road rules isn't going to give you back to your family when your looking down from the pearly gates

  • You're supposed to give way to anyone already in the roundabout.
    Give way to your right is the old world (VIC)

    I still give way to the right in case the person hasn't updated themselves.
    I prefer waiting 5/10 seconds rather than getting smashed.

    • So if someone is just approaching the roundabout but not yet on it, your free to go for it?

      Like to see what insurance would say if you try to blame the other vehicle

      • yes, "you're" free to go.

        The other vehicle will be at fault as you were already in the roundabout and they have to give way to you.

        • Their video contradicts their own wording.
          "Enter the round about when it is safe to do so" in the video, where as the wording states as you said "give way to vehicles on the round about"

          So if you get hit by not giving way, you will be able to say they weren't on the roundabout yet, but the other driver could say who hit you "it wasn't safe for you to be entering the roundabout".

          Bit of a grey area.

          Ps. Excuse the spelling mistake, auto-correct and I usually re-read for errors after I've already pressed "Post Comment"

        • And anyone with a dashcam would easily be able to prove this.

        • @Rodo: Not without a wide-angle dashcam, because at the moment you're entering the roundabout, someone already on it would be directly to your right.

        • @Danstar: Not grey at all
          Bottom line is:
          "Enter the roundabout when it is safe to do so"

    • i dont give way to anyone on my left going straight or left.
      i dont give way to anyone in front turning left or going straight.

      sounds like in your world there can only be 1 vehicle on the roundabout at one time.

  • I would love to follow the road rule giving way to who ever is in the roundabout first.
    Unfortunately have to abide by the norm and give way to who ever is on right due to many occasions where the driver on my right will be going 40km plus. I Do not want to cause a crash. I don't think this rule change was widely advertised..