Ham Roundabout Gillingham Dorset

Ham Roundabout Gillingham Dorset
Gillingham Dorset

Ham roundabout in Gillingham Dorset seems to be the cause of an ongoing debate through local social media pages. The thing is everyone seems to have a different opinion of which lane to use to travel up towards Shaftesbury and this paticular roundabout has at times been a bit more like a night on the dodgems with you never knowing what some drivers are going to do next. 

On the approach to Ham roundabout heading to Shaftesbury with Gillingham in the rear view mirror you will see this sign here on the right. This shows Shaftesbury to be straight ahead 3rd exit on the roundabout.

So on the approach to the roundabout the road spits into two lanes with no road markings as shown below, you should use the left hand lane for the first 3 exits including the road to Shaftesbury. You also do not need to indicate right to take the 3rd exit as the road is classed as straight ahead according the the signage on the approach.

There are no lane markings on the roundabout but it should be treated as 2 lanes all the way around so if traveling straight ahead to Shaftesbury then you must keep to the outside of the roundabout all the way around to the 3rd exit.

The right hand lane is for taking the 4th exit to Sydenhams or the 5th exit back towards Gillingham. 

Highway Code Rules

Section 184
Section 184 of the Highway Code is all about what to do when approaching a roundabout. To ensure you approach roundabouts safely you should look out for traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings, all of which will help you to prepare for manoeuvring around the roundabout and identifying the correct lane.

When approaching a roundabout you should:

  • Use the mirror-signal-manoeuvre process
  • Decide which exit you need to take as early as possible
  • Use the appropriate signal at the optimal time to inform other road users of your intentions
  • Get into the correct lane
  • Adjust your speed and position to the traffic conditions
  • Remain aware of the speed and position of the traffic around you

Section 185
Section 185 explains what you should do when you reach the roundabout. Again it is important to be aware of the traffic around you and look out for road users who may be signalling incorrectly or in some cases not signalling at all!

When reaching a roundabout you should:

  • Always give priority to the traffic coming from the right, unless you have been directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights
  • Check if the road markings allow you to proceed without giving way (always look right before joining just in case)
  • Watch out for other road users on the roundabout
  • Check the traffic has moved off in front of you before you proceed to enter the roundabout

Section 186
This section of the Highway Code explains the signals and positions required to exit a roundabout safely. Follow the rules and you will find maneuvering roundabouts to be much less stressful.

When taking the first exit (unless signs and markings indicate otherwise):

  • Signal left and approach the exit in the left hand lane
  • Keep to the left on the roundabout and signal left to leave

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle (unless signs or markings indicate otherwise):

  • Signal right and approach the exit in the right hand lane
  • Keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to reach your exit
  • Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take

When taking any intermediate exit (unless signs or markings indicate otherwise):

  • Select the appropriate lane on approach to the roundabout
  • Stay in the lane until you need to alter your lane to exit
  • Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want to take