When embarking on a self-drive safari or navigating the roads of Kenya, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules of roundabouts. This knowledge will help ensure your safety and prevent potential accidents from occurring.
What is a roundabout?
A roundabout is a type of intersection where traffic streams around a central island in a counter-clockwise direction. Roundabouts are designed to reduce congestion, improve safety, and improve the flow of traffic.
According to various sources online, the modern roundabout originated in the United Kingdom as a solution to traffic circle issues. In 1966, the United Kingdom implemented a compulsory “give-way” rule at all circular intersections, which mandated that entering vehicles yield to the circulating traffic. This innovative approach not only addressed traffic concerns but also enhanced safety and efficiency on the roads.
This rule effectively prevented gridlock at circular intersections by mandating vehicles to wait until there were sufficient gaps in circulating traffic before entering the intersection. Moreover, the proposal of smaller circular intersections encouraged tighter turns for vehicles, resulting in reduced entry and circulating speeds.
Why do some countries not have roundabouts?
When this ingenious concept of a roundabout was developed, countries like the US had already established extensive highway systems. In the United States, during the 1950s, the Eisenhower administration undertook ambitious infrastructure projects, allocating vast stretches of land for the construction of roads.
Kenya adopted roundabouts in its road construction and you’ll find them in several locations.
6 Roundabouts Rules in Kenya:
Rule #1: Yield to traffic already in the roundabout
In Kenya, it is important to remember that traffic flows counterclockwise around a roundabout. All vehicles entering the roundabout should yield to circulating traffic. When entering the roundabout, it is important to signal your intent (left or right) and maintain a safe speed for navigating the curve of a roundabout.
Rule #2: Stay on your current lane
When navigating through multiple lanes, vehicles should either stay in their current lane or move into another lane if absolutely necessary. When exiting the roundabout, make sure to use your turn signals to indicate your intent.
Rule #3: Follow the right-hand rule
Knowing which lane to choose when approaching a roundabout is crucial. If your exit is halfway around from where you entered, smoothly transition to the right-hand lane (for right-side driving). On the other hand, if your exit is closer (e.g., the 1st exit), remain in the left-hand lane. Always be attentive to directional signs as you approach roundabouts.
Rule #4: Be cautious when exiting
When exiting a roundabout, be mindful of other vehicles entering or already in the intersection. Be sure to check your mirrors and only exit when it is safe to do so. Additionally, if you find yourself stuck at a standstill waiting for an opportunity to enter the roundabout, don’t forget to signal your intent (left or right) before proceeding.
Rule #5: Do not stop inside the roundabout;
Stopping inside a roundabout is very dangerous and can cause confusion or accidents. Be sure to keep your speed consistent when entering and exiting the intersection. Additionally, be aware of large vehicles that may have trouble navigating the curves of the roundabout and adjust your speed accordingly.
Rule #6: Only enter the roundabout when there is ample space;
It is important to only enter a roundabout when there is ample space in the intersection. Before entering, check your mirrors and ensure that you have enough room to safely navigate the curves of the roundabout.
How to drive in a roundabout in Kenya:
- Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
- Stay on your current lane when navigating through multiple lanes.
- Follow the right-hand rule and signal your intent (left or right) when entering or exiting the intersection.
- Be cautious when exiting, checking mirrors and signaling before proceeding.
- Do not stop inside the roundabout; keep your speed consistent.
- Only enter the roundabout when there is ample space in the intersection.
Below is a helpful video;
Types of roundabouts in Kenya:
In Kenya, roundabouts vary in size and shape, typically ranging from two to six lanes, based on the specific road. Various types of roundabouts exist, including single-lane, double-lane, cloverleaf, and diamond interchange roundabouts.
4-road Rule Roundabouts in Kenya:
These roundabouts are designed to ensure that traffic flows in a counter-clockwise direction and stay within the designated lanes. At 4-road Rule Roundabouts, all vehicles entering the intersection must yield to those already circulating. Additionally, drivers exiting the intersection must signal their intent (left or right) before doing so.
Q: What’s the biggest roundabout in Kenya?
A: The largest roundabout in Kenya and in the entire East Africa is found in a small town called Chemelil.
Q: What’s the smallest roundabout in Kenya?
A: There are unverified claims online that Muranga town has the world’s largest roundabout – not just Kenya.