Roundabouts are common throughout Europe and the UK, but almost inevitably we Brits have embraced them with more enthusiasm than most.

While most roundabouts are an intersection between four or more roads, we Brits have introduced ‘mini roundabouts’ at the intersection of only two roads in a bid to manage traffic flows.


The basic rules about approaching and navigating roundabouts are pretty straight forward, as we drive on the left we drive round roundabouts in a clockwise direction, always ‘giving way’ (yielding) to traffic already on the roundabout. There is often confusion about lane discipline, but they seem to work more often than they don’t.


In fact roundabouts work so well that there are a few places where the whole roundabout concept has been embraced with undue enthusiasm. The town of Swindon, in the south of England, is reported to have more roundabouts per head of population than any other town and a famous ‘magic roundabout’. This comprises five linked mini-roundabouts, so it’s possible to navigate the larger intersection in an anti-clockwise direction, but each mini-roundabout clockwise. Confusing. 


And the term ‘magic roundabout’ brings us to the other definition of ’roundabout’ – that’s what we Brits call carousels.