Table of contents
Similarities and differences between the conventional roundabouts and the spiral roundaboutsConventional roundabouts vs. spiral roundabouts: Driving tipsConventional roundabouts vs. spiral roundabouts: The “give-way priority” controversyRoundabout black spots

Between conventional and spiral roundabouts: How do you give signals on these roundabouts? Which driver has priority?

There are currently two types of roundabouts in Hong Kong. We call them conventional roundabouts and new spiral roundabouts. Probationary (P-license) drivers are always confused by them since each has its own rules for giving signals and priority. But passing the driving test doesn’t automatically make you an expert, as only the Yau Tong test route has a roundabout. 

What’s more, there is no clear consensus as to how to use roundabouts. Some drivers tend to drive along the outer lane no matter what, causing traffic congestion. Some drivers even overtake by changing to the wrong lane, resulting in car accidents. These atrocities have left a reputation of “black spots” on some roundabouts!

Kwiksure presents the similarities and differences between the conventional roundabouts and spiral roundabouts, as well as a scenario analysis. 

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Similarities and differences between the conventional roundabouts and the spiral roundabouts

Road Signs

Before entering a roundabout, you will see a triangular “roundabout ahead” sign about 100 meters in advance. It is usually set up along the pedestrian route. At about 50 meters before the roundabout, you will see a giant blue direction sign.


Rules of use

Whether it be a conventional roundabout or a spiral roundabout, drivers must closely observe the following rules

  1. When entering a roundabout, you should approach from the left.

  2. Decide as early as possible which exit you want to take and switch to the correct lane.

  3. If you miss the exit, keep circling around the roundabout until you approach the exit again, then leave.



Conventional roundabouts vs. spiral roundabouts: Driving tips

The Transport Department released a manual named “How Much You Know About Rules of Using Roundabouts”, in which we can see that the two types of roundabouts are not too dissimilar when it comes to usage.

【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權?【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權? 【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權? 【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權?

If you are ultimately making a left turn (i.e. taking the exit on the left), travel along the outer lane and keep left. 
If you are ultimately making a right turn or taking other exits (i.e. taking the exit on the right), travel along the inner lane and keep right.
If you are ultimately going straight ahead, either line will be fine.

Conventional roundabouts vs. spiral roundabouts: The “give-way priority” controversy

If the rules of use are so clear, why do traffic accidents still happen from time to time? The culprit is the priority issue at the exits.

【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權? 【新舊迴旋處教學】迴旋處/螺旋處點打燈?誰有優先權?

In the conventional roundabout, vehicles on the inner lane should give way to vehicles on the outer lane to leave first. Conversely, in the spiral roundabout, vehicles on the outer lane should give way to vehicles on the inner lane to leave first. Old or new, remember this rule of thumb when it comes to roundabouts: look right when entering and look left when exiting in case any vehicle crosses your path from behind on the left. Also, watch out for long vehicles (e.g. container trucks) as they may also cross your path when they enter and exit the roundabout.

The emergence of spiral roundabouts stems from an observation that drivers exiting a conventional roundabout would make several lane changes at once, increasing the risk of accidents. Therefore, in 2004, the Transport Department rolled out spiral roundabouts on a trial basis. Yet out of the 327 roundabouts in Hong Kong, there are only 23 spiral ones - accounting for a mere 7% of the total. The coexistence of both roundabouts, as well as the difference between give-way rules, has frequently caused accidents.

Roundabout black spots

Roundabout black spots where traffic accidents have occurred include:

  • Tsuen Tsing Interchange (Tsuen Wan Road)

  • Tsuen Kam Interchange (Texaco Road North / Wai Tsuen Road)

  • Nam Pin Wai Roundabout, Sai Kung (a traffic accident that resulted in 19 deaths and 43 injuries happened here)

  • Tai Wai Roundabout

  • Hammer Hill Road Conventional Roundabout, Diamond Hill

  • Lung Fu Road Roundabout

  • Sheung Tak Estate Roundabout, Tseung Kwan O


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Author Anthony Chan

Anthony is the Content Marketing Director for Kwiksure and its parent company Pacific Prime. He is responsible for supervising and developing content marketing strategies, search engine optimization, data analysis, e-communications, and video production. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Anthony is adept at analyzing insurance market trends to ensure the content is engaging and easy to digest.

His English articles can be found on Pacific Prime's blogs for their Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Dubai, and Thailand branches. He also studied English writing during his exchange program at West Virginia University in the United States.