Case Law: Traffic Circles:

Legal principles of a Traffic Circle:  MVO Consultants, Case Law, Traffic Circles

  1. Always travel clockwise around a traffic circle,
  2. X must give right of way to traffic who approach from his right hand side in the traffic circle, except if a police officer give other instructions or if there are traffic signs that show otherwise,
  3. A yield sign at a traffic circle give instructions to X who approach the yield sign to yield for any traffic that would cross the yield line before him and who would cross his way.

Case Study:

X is driving on the inside of the traffic circle next to the island and decided to leave the traffic circle on his left hand side. Y who is driving on the outside collided with the left side of X when X suddenly changed lanes.

Case Law:

RONDALIA VERS KORP vs Pretorius 1967 (2) SA 649 (A)


Four lanes are joining at the traffic circle. There is a traffic island in the middle. Y on a scooter entered the traffic circle and moves around the island to leave the traffic circle in a southerly direction. X drove with his motor vehicle behind Y and caught up on Y.     X wanted to leave the traffic circle in an easterly direction.   X tried to overtake Y on the right hand side.  An accident occurred between the left front of bumper of X and the right side of Y from behind.  Y could not remember how the accident occurred.

Held – Court decision:

When vehicles travel in the same direction around a traffic circle, it depends on the circumstances of the driver of the front vehicle to give signal or not. There is no general rule to govern the behaviour of the traffic inside the traffic circle.

There are also no reported cases with regards to the different duties of drivers who are driving in the same direction around the traffic circle.

Whether the driver of the front vehicle is under an obligation to give a sign or not depends on the circumstances.

For example, if A wants to drive to his right around the circle, but entering the circle on the left lane, while there are traffic in the right lane, then his duty is the same as a person who wants to enter an intersection in a traffic stream.

In the matter at hand, there is no evidence as to what caused the accident or how it occurred.

Negligence on the side of Y was not proved.

S vs KRUGER 1967 (3) SA 496 (KPA)

In the above case, the principle was imposed that X who was driving in a single lane traffic circle does not have to give a signal if he wants to move right around the circle. This is the normal course of flow in a single traffic circle.

If he wants to turn out of the traffic circle towards his left, which is an unusual procedure, then he should give a signal that he wants to move out of the traffic circle.

There must be a material change of flow from the normal course that X followed before there is any need for X to give a sign.

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