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Turning right on a roundabout from the left hand lane

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hazy52 | 19:00 Sat 09th Aug 2008 | Road rules
39 Answers
I was involved in an accident on a roundabout. I approached in the right hand lane of a 3 lane dual carriageway to go straight on. The first exit is a retail park left, the 2nd exit is a left turn, the 3rd exit is straight on with two lanes, 4th exit service road and the 5th exit goes back the way I came.

Another car was in the left hand lane and we started onto the roundabout together. The other car passed the 2nd exit and appeared to be taking the turning wide for exit 3 and I hung back a little expecting him to straddle the two lanes of the exit I was taking. However, he pulled in front of my car to go right around the roundabout. I swerved but could not avoid a collision and damaged the front left wing, side of the tyre and left front lights. The damage to his car was rear driver's side door. His defense was that he was indicating right but I was also indicating left to come off the roundabout.

The highway code clearly states that he should have been in the right hand lane to go right around the roundabout but am flabbergasted to receive a letter from the insurers today holding me totally to blame! I was initially told that without witnesses it would go 50/50 worst case scenario but I was adamant that I was not to blame and requested that they fight it. I even sent in a detailed diagram even though this was not requested because I can explain myself better by drawing. The whole claim has been dealt with by phone.

I am not taking this without a fight but does anyone think I have a chance and should I involve a solicitor? The other driver has initiated a claim against me for injury (whiplash? because he was not injured at the scene) and damage to the car via a firm of solicitors.


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You don'tthink you need a solicitor- your insurance company will deal with it. By all means tell your insurers what you think but they will deal with it.
Question Author
Thanks factor30 but I will be fighting against the insurance company so I think I need my own solicitor. The insurance company, Churchill, have declared me to be at fault so I will lose my no claims bonus and have to pay the excess. What I am interested in is what does everyone think about the manoeuvre that the other driver performed. If this is upheld then we basically may as well throw away the highway code!
hazy - it boils down to a very simple thing.

You say he committed that manoeuvre, we don't KNOW that he did. The insurance company is guided by evidence from the damage to the vehicles, and possibly witness statements.

Were you indicating left?

Ask them how they have arrived at their decision. They may have more evidence than you are aware of.

Question Author
Hi Ethel

I was indicating left and the damage is to the left front and side of my car and the driver's side of his. He could only have come from my left hand side given the damage and the only other place he could have come from (which he did not) is the 2nd turning on the roundabout which is close to the 3rd exit. I was therefore on the roundabout before him and he should have given way. Writing this I don't think I have made it clear to the insurance company that there are no cars coming from the retail site it is entrance only.

There were no witnesses and I have not heard what evidence he submitted. If he has told the truth then in my opinion it would be clear cut that he was in the wrong lane.

Thank you for your advice.
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RoaldoM, sorry disagree,

In this instance "straight on" was the 3rd exit out of 4 that combined with the fact that it is dual carriageway I would say you can use either lane coming into the roundabout but stay in that lane on the exit if you are going straight on.

To find somebody in the left lane that is taking the last exit on a 4 exit roundabout or even doubling back then they are basically driving all the way around the outside of a roundabout and are in the wrong.

There may be other issues that would make a difference but I'd say hazy52 was in the right.

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Question Author
Hi Roaldo

According to the highway code to go straight on at a roundabout you can take the most appropriate lane. I use this roundabout daily and it is normal practice for everyone to use either lane for straight on because, other than going back on yourself, there is only a minor service road going right. In all the years I have been using the road no body has tried to turn right from the left hand lane. The third party did not live in the area and I can only presume he had made a mistake and wanted to go back up the road.

There is another roundabout to encounter immediately after joining the straight on road (A5 Bridgtown, Cannock) that is very complicated and fast and you have to get into the correct lane as soon as you can. I was going right at this roundabout so was heading for the right hand lane. This is common practice with drivers using this set of roundabouts. There is no time to make a mistake of being in the wrong lane. If he had taken the left hand lane on this roundabout there would have been a multiple car pileup!!!

I still insist that he was not in the correct lane for the route he wanted to take - a right hand turn - and I was in the correct lane.
Question Author
Thanks ChuckFickens

Wished you worked for Churchill!!

My husband would be the first to say I was in the wrong if I was but he is backing me wholeheartedly on this (he was my passenger and a retired fire officer so is used to seeing accidents) so I feel really aggrieved that I am being held to blame.

Question Author
Hi noknowledge

Yes I could turn left into the retail park but you can't exit from there and the exit takes you to the previous roundabout so I would be going round in circles! ;-)

On the other hand the other driver would have been better doing this then he could go right at that roundabout (and someone else would have run into him!).
You pay insurance for your insurance company to sort these things out. I think this gives them the right to handle the claim. You can try to influence them but I think it's ultimately up to them whether they choose to settle or fight the claim. They pay the claim costs, although I accept it's probably your NCD and excess you are concerned about.
You can use your insurer's complaints procedure.
Have you been charged by the police for anthing relating to this incident?
Question Author
No police did not attend but how I wish I had called them.

I am concerned about the NCD and excess but mostly I do not want him to get away with this when he was in the wrong.
I think you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible
I wish you luck. Do you want your insurer to agree it was 100% the fault of the other driver? Would you accept it was perhaps 10%/90%. In my experience an insurance cxompany doesn't pay out unless it feels it needs to. But all you can do is push them.
Question Author
Thanks a lot everyone. My next step is to speak with the insurance company when they open at 08:00 hrs tomorrow morning - they were closed when I got the letter on Saturday. I have noticed that the letter was dated 1 August yet I had been in contact with them on 4 August and my diagram, sent the week before, had not even reached the department. I was told that they were still looking at the facts. If this letter was prepared and sent on the 1st I will have some questions to ask.
Hazy52 Just dig your heels in there as you were 100% in the right.The other car on your left was in the wrong lane when they didnt exit at first or second exits.My wife was in a very similar accident some years back and we got the usual bullying from the othter party's insurer until I mentioned having a look at the Rules of the Road book.To 'Noknowledge' yes its a very apt name you have
Sounds like t'other driver has 'cut you up' by crossing your right of way. Hope you took photos?

The insurance company are looking for a 'knock for knock' settlement.

Stick to your guns and take t'other driver to your local Magistrate Court where the Mag will present you both with two cars to demonstrate the maneouvre. The mag will then make their judgement. Don't bother with the expense/time of solicitors as they will soak up any compensation you get.
Stick to your guns! If you explain to the insurance company what you have explained on here and tell them you will not accept liability, chances are, they will agree to fight.

Now, this generally means that either your insurance co or the other side will issue proceedings in the County Court (small Claims). The insurance company will normally instruct (and pay) solicitors on your behalf and will normally pay for a barrister to represent you at the hearing. PLEASE make sure you fill in the fullest statement you can. Unfortunately the statements that insurance companies provide for court are often woefully inadequate. Draw diagrams and write in precise detail (ie every single step) what you can REMEMBER doing and seeing. Ie "as I approached the roundabout, I was in x lane. My speed was y decreasing to z. I looked to my right and indicated blah blah".

It will often take a year or so to get to court so the earlier you make a statement (write it yourself now if the ins co have not asked for one) since the earlier you do it, the better (and prevent snooty opposing Counsel making comments at the hearing about the contemporaneity of your statement).

I disagree with Terambulan - it will only be dealt with in the Mags if the Police decide to take proceedings for driving without due care and attention or some other offence arising out of the accident. The appropriate forum for this claim (seeing as you are more concerned about liability and ncd, and there may be a personal injury issue) is the County Court.
Am speaking from experience having been thru it 3 times and always won!

The Magistrate Courts are there for the layman (as well as the profs) and far cheaper way of dealing with motoring accidents.

The insurance company reimbursed my costs after winning!
It seems to me that the problem is whether you ran into him or he ran into you.
I agree that you were in the correct lane for where you were going and he was in the wrong one, but I think that the insurers will have looked at who ran into whom and seem to have decided that you ran into him.... a bit like they always decide that the driver behind is responsible for running into the car in front, even if the car in front has made a sudden stop.
I wouldn't waste any more money on it, life's too short.

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Turning right on a roundabout from the left hand lane

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