As we emerge from coronavirus lockdown, the DVSA have started to invite driving test candidates, who had there tests cancelled, to rebook. Fantastic! However, there is catch. Not all test centres are open yet. You may be really familiar with all the tricky parts of Trowbridge and fully confident that you are going to nail your test only to find that Trowbridge is not an option when you go to rebook. “Never mind,” I hear you say. “I can just go ahead and book my test in Salisbury. There are plenty of test slots there.”
Beware! Salisbury is not an easy option if you have never driven there before. The biggest is issue is the ring road. It comprises a dual carraigeway, which by-passes the town centre, and many traffic-light-controlled roundabouts. These roundabouts have badly worn road markings and if you stray out of your lane when going around one, without looking in your mirrors, then you will fail your test.
“So, what can I do to give myself the best chance of passing?” I hear you ask. Answer: Read this post for guidance on how to stay in the correct lane, and take a look at the Salisbury Roundabout Dashcam Clips on this website.
Know Where You Are Going
Before you get to the roundabout, know which direction you will be taking. If you are following the sat nav, there will be a symbol at the top of the screen telling you the distance to the roundabout, the direction you will be taking when you get there, your exit road number and the name of your exit road. If you are following directions from your examiner, they will say something along the lines of: “At the next roundabout, go right, third exit”. Which ever way you are using to navigate, you should take a mental note of whether you will be going left, straight ahead or right.
Look for the Roundabout Direction Sign
Typically, there will be two roundabout direction signs: A green one for major routes (A36, A30, etc.) followed by a white one for local destinations (e.g. Town Centre). From the sat nav or the examiner’s direcctions verify the direction you will be taking and the roundabout exit number from the roundabout direction sign so that you have a clear idea in your mind which direction and which exit number you will need.
Look for Road Markings
Look for road markings on approach to the roundabout. There will be white lane markings on the road, and most probably direction arrows. This will tell you which lane to take depending on whether you are heading left, straight ahead or right. If there are no direction arrows, then use the default lanes that you have learnt during your training. (Left lane for left or straight ahead, and right lane for right.)
Beware that most of the the lane markings and direction arrows in Salisbury are badly worn and sometimes difficult to see. Nevertheless, you need to obey them. Take particular care if the road surface is wet, when the markings will be even more difficult to see.
Get in the Correct Lane
Get in the correct lane on approach and stay in it. If you are approaching the roundabout on a double lane section of road and you need to change lanes before you get there, then make sure you change lanes safely: Check centre mirror and side mirror in the direction you intend to move; Indicate; Check the side mirror again and when its safe to do so, smoothly change lanes. Do not stare in the mirrors since you mainly need to look where you are going.
Look for Taffic Lights
Most of the roundabouts on the ring road are traffic-light controlled, so make sure you obey the lights. In paricular, look out for directional traffic lights with green filter arrows and make sure you obey the arrow if its intended for you.
Keep in your Lane
At each exit around the roundabout, the lane markings will guide you in the direction you want to go. Sometimes, a single lane will split into two. Make sure you choose correct branch if the lane splits. Use your indicator as you normally would on a roundabout.
Finally, if you find yourself in the wrong lane whilst you are on the roundabout, then it is much safer to stay in that lane and go the wrong way, than it is to switch lanes. Certainly if you switch lanes and forget to use your mirror, you will fail your driving test, whereas if you go the wrong way, then the worse that will happen is that you will get a minor fault.