Swings and roundabouts – response to last week’s letter ‘a lane in Spain can lead to so much pain’


June 14

Dear Editor,

I am a little confused by the description given in this correspondence from Mr Lennick. I have never witnessed a ‘left hand turn’ whilst negotiating a roundabout. Turns are normally used to leave or to enter a junction/garage/car park, etc.

The procedure for roundabouts depends a great deal on both the size/extent of the design and position of exits available. Negotiating roundabouts with more than the usual number of exit points requires special attention. As drivers approach roundabouts, they need to reduce speed gradually and check the traffic on the roundabout before deciding to enter. Entry should always be on to the inside lane. When traffic allows, you continue in that lane until approaching your exit of choice. You then indicate, well in advance, to other road users, your intention to leave at the selected exit point.

If your intention is to depart the roundabout at another exit, past the first exit, then the method normally used, is to select the left-hand indicator to show that you do not intend to leave the roundabout just yet. Of course, as you are approach your choice, you then follow the normal practice, and indicate your departure to the right. Regarding the practice most of us experience during normal driving, that of short cuts and high speed by some drivers at roundabouts?

Careful drivers will notice that as you approach roundabouts a check of your mirror may show that, in the outside lane, other cars are approaching at high speed. You may even notice that cars following behind in your own lane may pull out to join them. The obvious intention is to gain access before those in front. The rapid use of serious braking on arrival confirms this attitude. What follows is where we must all take great care.

The desire to overtake by such drivers is shown by the close calls we have all experienced and this is maybe what Mr Lennick may recognise. These drivers are not only overtaking on the roundabout but also intend to exit by turning right from the inside lane across the front of traffic using the outside lane. I have lost count of the number of such incidents.

My advice to all? Plan your journey and allow sufficient time to drive with due care for yourself, your passengers and other road users.

John G Lawson

June 12

Dear Editor,

I was somewhat bemused to read the letter from Eric S. Lennick in your June 11 edition under the heading, ‘A lane in Spain can lead to so much pain’. A somewhat confused Mr Lennick, who boasts of 75 years motoring experience, which would put him at least 92 years of age, complains about the authorities allowing motorists to make a left turn from a right-hand lane at roundabouts.

I should not need to remind Mr. Lennick that roundabouts in mainland Europe are navigated in an anti-clockwise direction and that it is not possible to make a left turn on a roundabout.

For the benefit of the writer, who I suspect is referring to drivers in the outer/right hand lane of a roundabout, continuing beyond the first exit, only to find themselves cut up by a vehicle being driven on the inner lane crossing in front of them.

The rules in Spain are no different to the rules in the UK, other than the direction of travel, unless there is a clear notice advising otherwise. Firstly, in Spain roundabouts should be regarded as a straight road with right hand exits/turnings and before entering a roundabout one must first give way to traffic already on the roundabout, unless it is safe to do so.

Secondly, overtaking on a roundabout is prohibited, other than at time of traffic congestion and even then vehicles in the outside lane have priority over those on the inside lane and there is no obligation placed on those on the outside lane to use their indicator to warn inner lane traffic of their intention to drive further than the first or second exit etc., even though it may be considered desirable to do so. However, where there is other traffic in the vicinity drivers should indicate their exit, even though this is not compulsory.

Further, the safest way to enter a roundabout when intending to drive past the first exit is to do so on the inside provided it is safe to do so, or indeed to position oneself on the inside lane when intending to go past the first exit and again, whilst it is not compulsory, to use that little stalk by the steering wheel.

I suspect the writer had intended to refer to the very dangerous habit/practise of Spanish drivers overtaking in the inner lane and then wrongly assuming that the vehicle in the outer lane will be taking the same exit and that brings me back to treating a roundabout as a straight road with several right hand turns. After all one would/ should not even think of overtaking another vehicle on a straight road and then cutting across its path in order to make a right hand turn.

Put in the words of one Guardia Civil officer ‘Spanish drivers have not yet come to terms with the rules of the road when it comes to roundabouts’, even though it is just a matter of using applied common sense.

Roundabouts have been in Spain for many years now and perhaps the problem lies in a poor quality of driver training. My advice to all readers is to be careful when navigating roundabouts in Spain and that one cannot overuse their indicators when using them sensibly.

David R. Burrage

June 13

Hi there Mr Editor,

I read a letter from a Mr Lennick in last week’s edition (June 11-17) and became totally confused. Firstly, how on earth does a driver make a left hand turn on a roundabout, surely you just continue going round, until you exit by turning right!

If, as I assume this gentleman uses the left lane to exit right, which means he then cuts across another lane to leave the roundabout, therefore he is the driver creating a dangerous situation for others in the right hand lane, who presumably have to brake, in order not to make contact with a vehicle flashing across in front of them. I feel sure that I am correct in saying that many times various sketches on this subject have been printed in this paper, clearly showing the traffic should exit from the right hand lane, which I believe is also the official view. This then makes me wonder, what exactly is the point of the left-hand lane on a roundabout?

I have written twice to our mayor here in Jávea, regarding this subject, having on numerous occasions been hooted at, and had fists waved, as a vehicle level with me wanted to turn right, whereas I didn’t at that particular junction.

My suggestion to our mayor was why not come off the left lane, starting 50-60 metres before the roundabout, so as to funnel traffic into the right lane, then everyone could exit whenever they please safely. After all, it is not unusual for a lane to be coned off for repairs, and maintenance, so I fail to see the problem.

Regards, G. D. Johnson.


  1. Re ‘A Lane In Spain Can Lead To So Much Pain’
    Dear Messers Lawson, Burrage, and Johnson,
    I fear you would have lost all our Spanish friends at the mention of indicators.
    Dave Walker


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